For the last few years, I’ve been slowly getting over my fear of farting in public. I feel like a new man, confident in my ability to release the pressure inside we all feel.

I suppose it all started back at Summer Camp. I was young – prepubescent, dorky, and self-conscious to begin with. I won this trip because of an exhilarating and important speech I gave entitled “My Summer Vacation”. I remember winning this prize and being vaguely happy at the time. I didn’t really know what “summer camp” was, and for that matter had never really been away from home. I had no desire to spend 8 days with a bunch of strangers when it was typically strangers whom I had spent the largest part of my existence up until this point trying to avoid.

My Father however, had different ideas about me going to Summer Camp. He spun incredible stories of art projects, campfire stories, playing sports, swimming, bug collecting and generally awesome superhappyfun things that went on at Summer Camp. Plus, he said, it was paid for – so his Mind Was Made Up.

During the Camp Orientation, we were told about when and where we could eat, when and where activities would go on, the fact that the Forbidden Forest was off-limits to anyone who did not wish to die a most painful death, and that each day this week, they were going to celebrate a different holiday. The next day we would celebrate Saint Patrick’s day. I finished up the rest of the day and signed up for activities against my will; entomology, archery, and CO2 Rockets.

My cabin mates and I made our way back to our home for the next week – Boy’s Cabin D. It smelled bad, and you had to sleep in close proximity to others. There was no bathroom within the walls of Boy’s Cabin D – that was a quarter mile away, near the girls’ cabins. I unpacked my sleeping bag and looked around at the other boys. They were more developed than me. And also the spawn of satan. They spoke about girls in ways that I was not allowed to listen to on television, and joked about the pranks they had pulled on each other in previous years. I zipped myself completely into my sleeping bag, knowing that the only way I could make it through the night is if they thought this bunk was empty. I closed my eyes. Eventually.

The next morning, Boy’s Cabins A-D and the Girls made their way to the Big Mess Hall for breakfast. It was the first day in our Week of Random Holidays. Apparently, the way this camp was celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day was to add copious amounts of green food coloring to everything on the menu that day. I had green pancakes, green eggs, green bacon, and even green milk. And here is where my troubles began.

That afternoon, in archery, my stomach began to rumble. In that way. The bathroom was probably very close, but when you are young and have to poop, that toilet may as well have been in Canada. I ran – or waddled – all the way there and locked myself in the far stall. For nothing, as it turned out. A few farts. More rumbling. A few more farts.

I left the bathroom and ran into our Cabin Counselor. He wanted to know if I was okay. I said I just didn’t feel too good. We began to walk back to archery, because the first thing you want to do when you have stomach trouble away from home is go to a big field and shoot arrows at targets.

We were almost back to archery range when I felt another fart coming. So I did what I had done for the past decade or more; I let it fly.

And shit my pants. At Summer Camp. Right near the archery range.

“It just came out,” I remember saying out loud, mostly to myself.

What?” said the counselor.

But his question was answered quickly by the stream of feces making its way down my leg. I took off running back to the bathroom. Past the pool. Past the Girl’s Dorm. With green-tinted poop running down my leg. And crying. “Why the hell not?” I figured. I had already shit myself, after all. On Day One, no less.

My 8 day bowel evacuation didn’t get any better. And now, two decades and several therapy sessions later, I think I’ve finally gotten over my fear of public flatulence. Now when people stand in the air freshener aisle and spray Glade all over the place, I walk past them and fart.

Only slightly worried that I’ll poop myself.