William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Tuesday, 4, January, 2011

Humor in the Merck Manual

Filed under: Japery,Medical — williamthecoroner @ 12:57

You don’t often find comedy in medical textbooks. But every once in a while something…rises to the surface. Like this little “Sidebar of Flatulence” from the Merck Manual on the subject of Digestive Disorders. This was recently brought to my attention, it put me on the floor, and I present it to you:

Flatulence, which can cause great psychosocial distress, is unofficially described according to its salient characteristics: (1) the “slider” (crowded elevator type), which is released slowly and noiselessly, sometimes with devastating effect; (2) the open sphincter, or “pooh” type, which is said to be of higher temperature and more aromatic; (3) the staccato or drumbeat type, pleasantly passed in privacy; and (4) the “bark” type (described in a personal communication) is characterized by a sharp exclamatory eruption that effectively interrupts (and often concludes) conversation. Aromaticity is not a prominent feature. Rarely, this usually distressing symptom has been turned to advantage, as with a Frenchman referred to as “Le Petomane,” who became affluent as an effluent performer who played tunes with the gas from his rectum on the Moulin Rouge stage.

Like I said, if it weren’t for bad taste I’d have no taste at all.


1 Comment »

  1. The original essay goes on for more than a page, I believe, and the entire essay is quite funny. Like the unfortunate man who farted >100 times a day (average is about 12/day). I’m sure the entire essay is somewhere on the web, I just don’t know where. It’s well worth the time to read it. I don’t know why it was removed from later editions, but I still have my copy and won’t get rid of it.

    Comment by Marie — Wednesday, 29, June, 2011 @ 16:14 | Reply

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