Word of warning: this post is about something that all of us have and don’t like to discuss. We in the States known it as gas. You know, that feeling like you are going to explode–and it hurts and you have to do something to get relief and you know it’s going to be stinky…
Gas can come from several different sources, according to WebMD: beans, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, onions, fruits, sodas, milk and dairy products from being lactose intolerant, and from such diseases as irritable bowel syndrome.
Years ago I was in London and suffering from gas. Maybe it was too much pub food or, more than likely, too much pub drink. I knew I needed to find some relief in the form of an antacid or a product with simethicone, such as Gas-X. I set out on a mission to find a pharmacy, or as the Brits say, a chemist.
I didn’t take long to find a Boots, one of England’s leading chains of pharmacy and beauty products, very much like Walgreens or a CVS. The stores are always pleasant and stocked with great everyday items.
I looked for the area where one would think a product such as Gas-X would live. Couldn’t find it. Oh, crap (no pun intended), I’m going to have to ask for help. A lovely young woman with her Boots tag was not far away.
“Please excuse me, but I’m looking for some product that I can take to get rid of gas. Would you help me?” I asked, a bit sheepishly.
She looked at me quite puzzled. “Gas?” she asked, with an incredulous look on her face.
“Yes, I’m sorry to say that I have gas and I need some relief.”
“What do you mean, you have ‘gas?'”
That’s when I realized that the Brits must have a completely different term for this particular bodily emanation, and it was probably more proper, shall we say?
“You know, I’m bloated and I need to–fart.”
That’s when she let out a small laugh of understanding. “Oh,” she told me, “you have wind.” That cracked us both up. “Yes,” I exclaimed. “I have wind!!”
“Then you need to try Wind-eze. It’s right here.” We both kept chuckling while I loaded up on a couple of boxes of Wind-eze.
As George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde and Winston Churchill have all said at different times, Britain and the United States are “two nations divided by a common language,” and in this case, a common wind.