Professor Drobkin was about to lead a lecture in front of a large group of students and fellows at the University, and he was terribly nervous. He had never been very good at speaking in front of large audiences, so he’d practiced at home constantly with a set of notecards.
When he was summoned to the podium, his palms were clammy and sweat was trickling behind his eyeglasses. Taking a deep breath, he stood behind the microphone and took out his notecards. Just then a massive bead of sweat went right into his eye, and as he reached up to wipe it away, he knocked the mic clean off the podium, and it fell to the ground.
“Terribly sorry! Sorry, I’ll just….” and as he spun to pick it up, his notecards showered to the floor.
“Haha, erm, I’ll just collect these…” and he bent over to pick them up. Just as he was grabbing his notes, he let loose a tremendous fart, right into the microphone.
The crowd roared, there was no containing them after this, and Drobkin, red-faced, ran off the stage, got in his car, drove home, and told his wife they had to move immediately.
Drobkin changed his name. Moved to the other side of the country. Taught in a similar field, and found similar success. Raised a family.
Eventually (under his new name of course) he wrote a pretty popular book, for academic standards, and was doing a circuit across the US. And as fate would have it, he was booked to do a signing in his old hometown.
He checked into his hotel, and the clerk asked, “First time visiting our fair city, Professor Smith?” And old Drobkin says, “Well…not exactly. People don’t know this, but I lived here a long, long time ago. And something happened that made me leave, and I’ve not been back since.”
The clerk put down his pen and said, “Sir, you’re not asking for my advice, but I’m gonna give it to you. I’ve found, hearing the stories of so many people come and go, that while we relive our own mistakes, everyone else is too busy reliving their own to care. So don’t take it hard. Especially after, how long?”
“Twenty-seven years? Before or after the Drobkin fart?”