Wind Typecasting Failure, or WTF, is the most common form of GEMS (Gaseous Excretory Misidentification Syndrome). The phenomenon was first recorded in 1794 by the Belgian chemist and empiricist Ventoine LaFartier when he presumably let her rip one morning in the crowded steets of Brussels. Professor Otto Ünterschniffe of the Humboldt University of Berlin, an eminent German historian and biographer of LaFartier, records that eyewitnesses present at the time distinctly heard LaFartier exclaim "Qu'est-ce que je sens? Le cieux en haut!" ("What is this I sense? The skies above!", which is, incidentally, the origin of the modern English phrase "to high heaven"). According to Ünterschniffe, LaFartier's bewilderment would persist for the rest of that day until later that night when the empiricist could finally relieve himself privately of WTF through much personal experimentation and identification.
LaFartier, unfortunately, suffered of WTF throughout his life at irregular intervals. After LaFartier, other forms of GEMS were recognised, by scholars such as the Portuguese surgeon Angelino Odorosso in the nineteenth century and the Italian mathematician, physicist, and occasional chemist Luigi Fraganti. For a more complete discussion of other GEMS, I recommend Ünterschniffe's excellent introductory popularisation, which has only been translated, however, from the original German to French and has acquired great popularity in LaFartier's native Belgium under the title Qui, en effet, a coupé le fromage? Professor Ünterschniffe has promised that an English translation will be forthcoming under the title Who, indeed, cut the cheese?, but doesn't expect it to come out soon and recommends, in his own words, to not "hold your breath". The rest of this writeup will concentrate specifically on WTF, its symptoms and possible treatments.
Modern medicine has not yet found a cure for WTF, which will affect approximately 2 out of every 10 Americans at least once in their lifetime. No research has been conducted in other countries so statistics are hard to find, but it is estimated that the rest of the world suffers from WTF in an equivalent proportion, and that this is not specifically a disease of civilisation as was once conjectured, due to the higher incidence of WTF in urban centres where the population density is much higher and misidentification of one's own gaseous excretions (GE's) much more likely to occur. Public sanitary facilities are also a place where many patients report suffering WTF, but there have also been a few incidents in the rural regions of outer Mongolia, discrediting the thesis that WTF is confined to developed areas.
Those afflicted by WTF very often experience a pleasant nasal sensation associated with normal self-GE behaviour but almost immediately suffer an intense panic attack akin to most paranoias that their senses are fooling them and reporting the GE of other individuals, not their own. While this is a discomfort at worst and usually evaporates after leaving the site where WTF first strikes, in some cases the patients are unable to evacuate and must therefore remain in contact with the GE. In such circumstances, some patients cease respiration in their paranoia of inhaling foreign GE's and almost surely pass out from lack of oxygen to their brain. While this is hardly ever lethal, unless the concentration of GE is unusually high, it is highly uncomfortable for the afflicted, especially in public sanitary facilities where this usually happens.
WTF can usually be avoided by restricting one's own GE's to so-called "safe" locations where foreign GE's are unlikely to take place. This is often difficult to do in most societies, where foreign GE's are unavoidable, and downright impossible in the crowded situations faced in large urban centres. It seems that the most common remedy, whilst not always effective has shown high degree of success in clinical tests, is to rely on the conventional wisdom eloquently phrased by "he who smelt it, dealt it."
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Rectal Extraction Method
(Accessed August 11, 2005)