Barry Smith: Plenty of snickers in colon laugh tract |

Barry Smith: Plenty of snickers in colon laugh tract

The signs are there, more and more each year, and it’s getting harder and harder to ignore them or explain them away.

I can see it in my reflection sometimes. I can hear it in the things I say, the way I react. I see a few gray hairs poking their way through.

I have the unmistakable symptoms of adulthood, and I fear it may be terminal.

Just last week I was making a smoothie – a potentially adult pursuit in itself – and there was just a little bit more stuff in the blender than would fit in the cup. I instinctively lifted the corner of the blender to my lips to finish it off, but then, at the last second, I thought better of it. Instead, I drank enough from the cup to make room for the excess, then rather maturely poured it into the cup, washed the blender, dried it and put it away. Who the hell am I?

While sitting at my computer I peeled off a bit of toenail and, rather than the usual act of flicking it into the void, I stood up, walked over and put it in the trash can. What the …?

But there is one area, one region, one hilarious zone that is immune to maturity: the colon, and all things associated with it.

Now wait, before you accuse me of being stuck in some Freudian developmental stage, allow me to prove my point by repeating myself – the colon is funny. Look, I even have examples:

Our secretary of state is Colin Powell. That’s pretty funny. When he decides to make a presidential bid, the headlines will read, “Colin Decides To Run!” That’ll be real funny. If he’s caught selling secrets to foreign countries, they’ll read, “Colin Leaks Information.” That’ll be even funnier.

A friend of mine begins and ends all of his e-mail correspondences with some alliterative reference to having a mammal inserted in the colon. Like, “Here’s to jammin’ a jaguarondi in your rotten Johnny,” or, “… a gerbil in your GI tract.” And you know what? Yep … funny.

But that’s just me and my weird friends, right? Well, maybe, but wait …

As readers of this column know, I sometimes work as an Audio Visual Technician, so I tend to get paid to sit through a lot of medical lectures.

One such meeting included a lecture on new colonography procedures. Now, just mention the word “colonography” and I’m already snickering. This, however, was a room full of highly trained professionals – doctors, for goodness sake. They’ve heard and seen it all when it comes to body functions, so they found nothing funny about this topic. At least, not at first.

About halfway through the talk, the speaker brought up a slide of a device that he used in his practice. It was an item used to “distend the colon for fecal tagging,” whatever that means. What you do is insert one end in your, yes, colon, and then begin working the hand pump on the other end, which causes the inserted end to expand.

As this was being explained, a small portion of the audience giggled. Giggled! These doctors, with diplomas and everything, giggled! Soon the whole room was attempting to suppress laughter, and the muffled chuckles sounded like those you’d hear in an eighth-grade sex ed classroom.

Now, throughout the course of this weeklong meeting, there wasn’t a whole lot of laughter happening in the room. None, in fact, except for the polite chuckle during the occasional attempt at an opening joke. The “Splenic CT” lecture sure didn’t make anyone laugh. Nobody tittered at the topic of “Renal Sclerosis.” Other orifices – ears, noses, eye sockets, mouths – were mentioned without reaction. But as soon as talk turned to the colon, well … let the party begin!

So, each morning as I look in the mirror and notice another little wrinkle, another patch of gray, another lost inch on the hairline front, I’ll take comfort that no matter how mature or well-educated I happen to become, the funniest of all body parts is always there to bail me out when I need a good punch line.

In fact, I think it’s fair to say that it’s got my back.

[Barry Smith’s column runs in The Aspen Times on Mondays. His e-mail address is, and his very own Web page is at]

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User