Gas happens! Oops!

3 Feb

Eructation.  It is a sophisticated medical term.  And very complicated to explain.  But here goes.  Eructation is technically described as escaping gas.  Thats right…you guessed it!  It is a burp, or a belch.  Both terms are correct slang for eructation.  It happens when we take air into our stomach with our food.  It also occurs when we eat or drink something with gas, such as a carbonated beverage.

Gas comes up from our stomach quickly.  It is not delicate or dainty.  It comes barreling up, and when the “valve” at the top of our stomach allows this escapement of gas, it makes a noise.  That is why our burps make noise.  Anatomically, some people are just more gifted at eructation than others.  And as kids, we envy those fabulous noise making burpers!

Growing up, we all knew talented belchers.  Kids that could burp the ABC’s on command, for example, were favorite kids to hang around with during the lunch hour.  Burping at will is an amazing skill and really made a kid popular in elementary school.  For whatever reason, gas is funny.  Not only to kids, but even when we grow up.

My father, a man in his 70’s, is a world renowned burper for sure.   His burps have it all-outstanding volume and longevity.  They are loud and roll out with perfect pitch, like a singer skillfully  hitting a high note.  After 50 plus years of marriage, my mom still rolls her eyes and huffs her disapproval when my dad belts out a good burp.  My dad’s favorite line is one I adore, and my brothers, sister and I often repeat it.  My father, following a solid roof raising belch, demurely states “That isn’t bad manners, that’s good beer”.  My fathers burps (and my mothers annoyed response) still sends us, his children, all now adults, into fits of giggles.

We begin burping at birth.  Babies drink very quickly and need to burp a lot.  Caregivers help the baby along by patting him on the back, trying to coax out that elusive belch.  The baby gets praised after a good solid burp, and the caregiver takes joyful pride in helping the baby get that burp out.  Somewhere along the way, though, the tides turn.  As we get older, suddenly burps are not praised at all. In fact, as we get older, we get reprimanded for a solid belch.   It just isn’t “mature” to belt one out in the company of others.  But that is in the United States.

Other cultures take burping as a compliment.  In Hong Kong, for example, burping is a compliment to the chef.  India too.  My father would be a national hero in those countries for his superhuman burping ability.  But in the U.S., it is considered poor manners to burp in public.  So unless you are in a country that celebrates eructation, or on a playground in elementary school, we are encouraged to watch that burp.  Stifle it.  Squash it.  That hardly seems fair, natural, or like something that would contribute to wellness though.  I am not sure that I agree with squelching the belch.  Let the gas out I say!  Celebrate eructation!





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