"Pull my finger." "Why'd you just cut the cheese?"
October 19, 2006 9:33 AM   Subscribe

What's the connection between finger-pulling and farting?

I see it occasionally in crude movies, and real life. A man says "Pull my finger" and then farts when his 'victim' does as told. Why? What's the source?
posted by Rash to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
"Oh, you broke it!" is a typical statement made as the gas expels from the anus.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 10:00 AM on October 19, 2006

It's a scientific way to prove whether a man is your uncle or not.
If you pull his finger and he farts, odds are he's Uncle Joe.
posted by jozxyqk at 10:01 AM on October 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

What's the source?
I'm pretty sure my grandfather invented it. At least, that's where I first heard of it.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:02 AM on October 19, 2006

posted by spicynuts at 10:03 AM on October 19, 2006

Not very helpful but there ya go.
posted by spicynuts at 10:04 AM on October 19, 2006

I don't know the source, but it makes little kids laugh. At least it made me laugh (and plug my nose) when my dad would tell me to pull his finger when I was small.

It's like pushing a button or pulling a lever to make a noise on a toy or machine, except it's with people!
posted by melissa at 10:21 AM on October 19, 2006

I can recall Bill Cosby mentioning it on one of his albums.

It makes my daughter laugh. It makes me laugh too...hahaha. Finger is pulled, fart is expelled. If the timing is right, it feels like the finger pull actually caused the fart.

Hahahahahaha. I find these things hilarious.
posted by Bud Dickman at 10:43 AM on October 19, 2006

If you need a demo...
posted by lovejones at 10:47 AM on October 19, 2006

For what it's worth, I never thought it was funny either, and when I first heard it, I spent time trying to figure it out. Eventually I realized it's just stupid.
posted by bingo at 11:36 AM on October 19, 2006

(this is really old, by the way. I'm pretty sure Anne Frank wrote about a variant of it.)
posted by muddgirl at 11:42 AM on October 19, 2006

I think that we (or maybe just me) derive a certain degree of pleasure out of creating faux mechanized actions with our bodies (especially little kids who are still exploring their physical capabilites).

The finger is the fart lever. My brother had a wicked bio-nuclear flattus expulsion device implanted within him that could only be triggered by pulling the lever.

He still has it too.

Like a game I used to play as a kid:
Press my nose, my tongue extends.
Grab my left ear, tongue moves right.
Pull right ear, tongue moves left.
Press nose to recenter tongue.
Press throat to retract tongue.

That's my overprocessed response.


We are meat, and it's fun to be machines.
posted by zerokey at 2:22 PM on October 19, 2006

Response by poster: For what it's worth, I never thought it was funny either

I thought this might be a similar case. I'm reminded of crunchland's comment on one of my very first AskMe questions, about cow-orkers:

it's one of those jokes... you know, the kind that aren't funny.

Maybe it would be, to me, too, if I'd been exposed to it in my early youth (and had an Uncle Joe); but I've only been aware of this since a couple years ago.
posted by Rash at 4:42 PM on October 19, 2006

Freud does give some explanation as to why fart jokes work.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:06 PM on October 19, 2006

I never thought farts were funny, even as a little kid. But maybe that's because my parents didn't think they were funny either. Farting in the presence of others was a serious faux pas in my family. For an adult to actually do it as a joke to a child...I can't imagine anyone in my extended family doing it; the other adults present would have been digusted and disappointed in the adult doing it. It's uncouth and low class. We all take shits, too, but that doesn't mean it's funny to go around rubbing them in each other's faces.
posted by bingo at 6:58 PM on October 19, 2006

It's uncouth and low class.

Or maybe you have a stick up yr nether regions. I personally find the expression or practice of opnions such as yours to be far more offensive. What on Earth can be wrong with finding humor in biology? The answer must be nothing, unless it's crucial to the maintenance of social order ("low class") and there for economic power.

Hey bingo, c'mere, pull my finger.
posted by mwhybark at 7:14 PM on October 19, 2006

What on Earth can be wrong with finding humor in biology?

There's nothing wrong with finding humor in anything. It's a free world, wherein we can all do whatever we want. But some of the things we do are funnier than others. Maybe you also find it funny when you burp, or when your stomach grumbles. Ha ha, your body makes noises. Ha ha, you've just propelled a bunch of fecal gas into the room, and now everyone else has to breathe it.

'Low class,' in this case anyway, isn't about economic power, it's about the expectation of a certain level of civility. If you feel that the world is just a big crazy place full of things that happen to you, and your body is just another part of that world, and life is a joke, then gosh darn it, maybe farting is funny, because it's yet another indication that you really don't have any control over anything, including yourself. Ha ha.
posted by bingo at 8:16 PM on October 19, 2006

Umm, I don't think the discussion of whether or not fart jokes are low class is really answering the question here, folks.

As for the question, I'm astounded that someone in their mid-50's from the midwest (info pulled from site in your profile) has never heard of this joke prior to a couple years ago. I don't know ANYBODY who hasn't heard of this. My dad used to do it to me when I was a young kid, but he wouldn't actually fart, he'd just make fart noises with his mouth.
posted by antifuse at 4:01 AM on October 20, 2006

Response by poster: I don't think the discussion of whether or not fart jokes are low class is really answering the question here.

True, but the peripheral discussion is enlightening in its own way. And an aspect of this phenomena which astonishes me is how certain people maintain a certain level of fecal gas pressure, such that they can fart at will.

And antifuse, although my parents are from Kansas, I'm a DC native and long-time California resident with minimal midwest experience -- not sure how you got that idea.

posted by Rash at 8:45 AM on October 20, 2006

I'm a native northwesterner and never had anyone do this when I was a kid. I never even really heard about it (or at least didn't pay attention) until just a few years ago (and I'm almost 51).

My wife looks down very much on farts. However, she is the lone female in a house of males, and is therefore outnumbered. Ours sons (16 and 11) still find farts more-or-less funny. I, however, am indifferent.
posted by lhauser at 11:25 AM on October 21, 2006

Rash: from this page you call yourself a "midwest mongrel" which is where I presumed you were a midwesterner. My apologies. :)
posted by antifuse at 3:30 AM on October 23, 2006

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