Austrian Man Fined $565 for Farting at Police

I have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy.

Certain topics, certain jokes, certain words make me giggle uncontrollably, no matter what situation I'm in or who I'm talking to.

"Fart jokes are never not funny," I said to the people at the funeral.

My hero, Dave Barry, built an entire career out of fart jokes, and he won a Pulitzer Prize, so you can't tell me fart jokes are not a higher art form.

Even the world's oldest recorded joke from 1900 B.C. Sumeria is a fart joke.

And as a long-time fan of Dave Barry's, it would be downright rude if I didn't pay homage to the master, and ancient history, once in a while.

Like today.

Long-time readers may remember a column I wrote four years ago about a Swedish professional soccer player, Adam Ljungkvist, who was thrown out of a soccer game for farting at the referee.

"I had a bad stomach, so I simply let it go," Ljungkvist said at the time.

He was pooted — I mean, booted — from the game after the referee told him farting was not allowed on the field.

It was so loud that an opposing player standing "a good distance away. . . heard the fart loud and clear."

I never found out whether Ljungkvist was fined or faced additional blowback, or whether he appealed his red card, but my guess is he never made that mistake again.

I was reminded of Ljungkvist's story, four years later to the day in fact, when I read about an Austrian man who was fined 500 euros ($565) for farting during a police check.

Or as the police stated in their report, "deliberately emitted massive flatulence."

We'll get to that in a minute.

Apparently, Mitja, 22, was sitting on a park bench, minding his own business — in a country where "ausfahrt" means "exit" — when the police performed an identity check on people sitting at the city center.

Mitja was apparently not happy about having his identity checked, and so he. . . voiced his opinion.

Viennese police wrote on their Twitter account that Mitja had been "provocative and uncooperative" during their encounter. And that he "rose slightly from the bench, looked at the officers and clearly deliberately emitted massive flatulence in their immediate vicinity."

In other words, he hiked up his leg and farted at them.

But they won't say that because that's not how police talk. That's not how any government people talk. People in government, especially first responders, pray at the altar of obfuscation and complication, and try to use the biggest, most official-sounding words they can to sound important.

So they say "he clearly deliberately emitted massive flatulence in their immediate vicinity," instead of "he farted at us."

Because why would you use four words and five syllables when ten words and 26 syllables are, well, more? They used the longest possible sentence to describe the short burst of activity.

But that's not the only indignity Mitja suffered. He was later notified he was being fined 500 euros for "decency violation and noise excitement." They said in a statement, "You have violated public decency by loudly allowing an intestinal wind to escape in front of police officers."

(Little known fact: "Dust in the Intestinal Wind" was the original title of Kansas' 1977 hit.)

Like any real humorist, I consider myself to be a master of fart jargon and can think of a few dozen alternatives for "fart" before I've had my morning coffee. But even I am forced to admit that "allowed an intestinal wind to escape" would not be on that list.

Still, Mitja is not going to remain sitting down, which is what got him into trouble in the first place. He will appeal his fine, saying his fart was unintentional and a reaction to a bean dish his grandmother had made for him. He also said the police officers were several meters away when he had his little slip.

He told Österreich 24 News that he was not only not provocative and uncooperative, as the police stated, but never even looked at the police officers when he "was firing (his) gut wind."

Mitja is also a believer in free expression, and says he "should be able to fart wherever I want, when I have to." It's his right as a citizen and a taxpayer, and he does not believe he should have to pay the 500 euros.

Sadly, I don't think Mitja is going to come out on top of this one and may end up paying through the nose. Still, I admire his pluck and his willingness to stand up to express himself. Perhaps Mitja's public poot is a practice we should all pursue.

It might actually get more people to wear face masks in public.

Photo credit: DistelAPPArath (, Creative Commons 0)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available on Amazon. You can get the Kindle version here or the paperback version here.