Maybe it’s all the dramatic death scenes I’ve read in novels or seen in film, but I never pictured my life ending because of a fart.

Yesterday, my daughter and I got up early to participate in a local library’s Junk in the Trunk. You donate $10 to the library and get a parking space to try to sell things. It was a perfect way to help the library, begin to downsize, and give my daughter a chance to earn some extra cash.

We were the first ones there other than a friend of mine who works at the library. We got a piece of prime real estate—pulling the truck into an alley with the truck bed and a lot of area in front of it to spread out our stuff. Since the temperature rose to the high 80’s, we would take breaks going into the shady alley to lean against the cool concrete walls.

Well into the morning and during one of my alley breaks, I looked around, saw nobody, a let out a fart. As I then take the bottled water to my lips, I hear my daughter yell, “Oh, no! Is that what I think it was?” Well, amazed that she could hear that so far away and thinking her reaction was funny, I sucked in a big laugh with my big gulp of water.

I began to cough, but after a few good coughs I still couldn’t breathe. Shit, I thought. This could go either way. But I can’t choke and die over this—it’s too weird, said my brain. Oh, but can’t you? answered my body. No oxygen coming in for any reason could do it.

My daughter came running over. I was starting to feel the situation tipping toward the survival side, so I was careful not to put my open hand over my throat as a 9-11 signal. Good, because what kind of guilt would she have after putting together some kind of scenario of how I died after her fart question?

Inhaling became less wheezy, and good ol’ air began replacing water. I explained what happened. She explained that she was afraid someone would hear my fart.

I think that most of us would like to be remembered for good, cool, interesting things we did in our lives. But, honestly, if someone died choking after someone commented on their farting, you just know that people milling around the outer rooms of the funeral home would be snickering, and, for many of them, that would always be the main thing they’d associate with the deceased.

“Yeah, he stopped terrorism dead in its tracks, but guess how he died?”