After that philosophical post, it’s time for a post about — burping. Too many bloggers underestimate the importance of the element of surprise.
My four siblings and I were homeschooled for most of our childhood. (I, the eldest, spent four years in public schools; my younger siblings, less than that. My youngest sister never attended school at all.) Because of that, and because we lived in the middle of nowhere with no real neighbors, we spent a lot of time together. One outgrowth of that was the family dialect known as Lingyo. (It was originally Lingy Lingo, named for the characteristic word lingy, meaning “cool.” The contracted form was created when I typed up a dictionary on the word processor and there was a six-character limit on filenames.)
Quite a lot of Lingyo vocabulary revolved around the topic of burping.
The term that started it all was baked hiccup — which originally just meant a burp but quickly acquired a more limited meaning, referring only to burps which were done on purpose. As a general term for eructations, without reference to intentions, belch was preferred. The word burp itself was then applied only to unintentional or “naturally occurring” eructations. Between these extremes was the baked burp — either an intentional belch which comes out louder than expected, or a natural belch which is deliberately amplified or elaborated. There were also deep fat fried hiccups — farts — but we didn’t use that term much because we just weren’t much interested in bodily functions other than burping. An apple baked hiccup was an exceptionally loud and long baked hiccup produced after eating an apple. The theory was that apple baked hiccups are caused not by anything in the apple itself but by smacking your lips while you eat. Sometimes trying too hard to produce a good baked hiccup would result in a baked sickup, a term which I suppose requires no explanation.
The act of belching intentionally was called “eating a baked hiccup.” As for the baking itself, no one was really sure what that entailed, but it was done by Athena, one of the family dogs. Every now and then my brother would announce that Athena had just baked a batch of hiccups. Then, of course, we would eat them.
There were other, non-hiccup-related terms for burps as well. Burp was modified to brup, which gave rise to the term abrupt ending — as in “That was an abrupt ending. I brupped out the ending.” We also decided to commandeer brachiate — a perfectly good word with no obvious synonyms — and use it as yet another word for “burp.” For some reason this became associated with the catchphrase “No brachiating in the locker room!”
As a way of quantifying how long a particular belch had been, you could try to say something while you burped. Some of our friends would recite as much of the alphabet as they could, but for us the thing to say was “Cranium House Pasta Company.” I don’t think anyone ever managed to say the whole thing in one burp, but we sometimes got as far as “Cranium House Pasta Com–,” which is the equivalent of getting all the way to the letter G. (Cranium House Pasta Company? I think this was originally inspired by a story my brother wrote, in which one of the characters referred to brains as “cranium-housed noodles.” Not that that really explains how it came to be a thing to say during a baked hiccup.)
As I mentioned, we never got much entertainment from farts, only from burps. We completely ignored flatulence.
Later, during my college years, a roommate was reminiscing about the farting contests he had participated in as a kid and asked if I had ever done anything like that. I said I hadn’t, but that I had won the “Tons of Tone” award at the first annual Boy Scout Belch-Off. He was surprised and said something like, “Really? I always thought that farts were funny but burps were just disgusting.”
The exact opposite of what I always thought — but I guess most people would agree with my old roommate, since farting clearly outguns burping in the world of lowbrow comedy. At least Bill Watterson is on my side.
Finally, a classic poem by one of my brothers:
If you gulp glug and slirp
up your pop you release a Big old Burp
then your dad will say don’t Burp
that way it is Just plain Bad
if you try and tell him why
he will say don’t Burp that way it’s Bad