Executive LIFE HACKS: 4 Ways to Play Off Breaking Wind in the Middle of Conversation

By JACKSON BROWNLEE; Storyline by Caroline Madison; Illustration by Jane Brownlee

YOU have been cooped up behind walls and glass for eight hours, running from meeting to meeting with little time for restroom breaks. On the way home the traffic is especially hideous as your stomach pulsates against the band of your trousers. With each moan of your loin, your stomach seems to grow a little bit larger, pressing forcefully toward the steering wheel, threatening to honk the horn.

Still…the grocery store is RIGHT THERE. You remembered at the last minute that your wife needed milk at home. Naturally, you contemplate your chances of being able to make it to the milk in the back of the store and through the self-checkout lane fast enough to get home to some kind of relief.

‘I shouldn’t have had those tacos!’ You keep telling yourself as your hands take on a mind of their own, turning the steering wheel like possessed demons while your brain is trying to tell you to just go home.

As you walk through the automatic doors, you stop momentarily, grabbing your lower abdomen to ease what is hopefully one final intestinal heave. And there…standing in your way…is your 9th grade PE teacher.

“Hey there, Sport! I haven’t seen you in decades!”

Your intestines gurgle deeply, so you zip up your legs a little more tightly, using all of your energy to keep your face from looking distressed.

Through gritted teeth and with an awkward smile, you respond, “Yeah, Mr. Cleary. I sure am getting old. Hey, I just have to…”

But Mr. Cleary cuts you off. Beginning the story of your freshman year, determined to give you the chronological play-by-play of your entire high school football career.

As he rambles on about numbers and goals and the big games, all you can think about is how hot your head suddenly feels. It’s as if your entire body is lurching from the center of your core. Demons have started a hell-fire inside of you as your body starts to sweat profusely. It’s coming. You know it is, but there is no way out.



Let’s hit the pause button.


Good, there.

Now, let’s take a moment to examine a few different ways you can handle this type of situation. Together with the research team at the University of Duluth, we have come up with the best, most effective ways you can play off breaking wind in the middle of a conversation.
Thanks to the hard work of the faculty and staff in the Department of Biology, you can now be rest assured that you will never have to worry about breaking wind in the middle of conversation again. I mean, what are the chances that you will do that anyway? And if you do, it will certainly never be in front of the same person twice because that’s statistically impossible. With these few tactics up your pants sleeves, you’ll never worry about picking up that milk after a day of work and tacos ever again.

4 Ways to Play Off Breaking Wind in the Middle of a Conversation



The Fake Side Cough maneuver involves turning your head ever so slightly to the side and coughing loudly a few times. The only drawback to this tactic is that your timing has to be precise, nearly overlapping in sync with the wind.


You realize the mistake you have made, but Mr. Cleary hasn’t stopped talking to notice just yet, so with impeccable timing you lean your head to the side, draw your fist up to your mouth, and perform the best fake-coughing fit you can manage.

“Ya, OK there Sport?” Mr. Cleary asks as he comes over to pat you on the back.

You make a few more measly, waining coughs and close off it off nicely.

(Crisis diverted! You deserve a high five!)






The Thinker maneuver involves looking away, preferably out of the closest window. Suddenly take on a serious expression, like you have just come to a deep, life-altering revelation. Deliver a thought provoking statement.


You look out of the front windows, straightening your brow ever so slightly, like you’re peering at the sunrise over a beautiful beach.

Mr. Cleary looks surprised, peering out of the window with you and grabbing his chin in anticipation of what you’re thinking.

You say, “The only thing that is sure in life is death and taxes.”*

*Quote is optional.





The Phantom maneuver involves pretending like you suddenly hear a strange noise.


You suddenly take on a surprised look. Turning your head to the right and then the left. You say, “Huh? Did you hear something.”


“Oh, well. What were you saying about that championship game back in 1997?”






The Haunting Maneuver involves blaming it on your dead aunt.


You take on a stunned look of utter terror and grief.

“What? What’s goin’ on Sport?” Mr. Cleary asks as he, too, starts looking around, wondering if he should perhaps start to run.

“Did you hear that?”

“What is it Sport? What is it?” He whispers with a look of concern on his face.

“It’s just that… Now, don’t go telling anyone this, you hear! My, um…Aunt Elsie…the one with the fiery red hair and the attitude of a broke, Brooklyn cab driver… remember her?”

“I think so.”

“You know, the one who sounded like one of Marge Simpson’s sisters when she sang in church?”

“Oh, yeah. She was a spitfire.”

“Well, Coach. She’s haunting me. Bringing with her these faint, funny kind of sounds, like that of squeaky orthopedic sneakers. Sometimes there’s even this odd smell.



You did it!

Isn’t life swell?