The Science Experiment

The Science Experiment

In 1973, my Dad lived in a more rural area outside of El Paso, Texas. This meant some people had outhouses rather than indoor plumbing. My Dad and his friend Roberto were always told that people shouldn’t smoke when they’re near the outhouse. This was because if you smoke, it’ll make all the farts in the outhouse explode. To these early teen boys, this was enough to pique their interest. 

How could farts make an outhouse explode? Was it just an old folklore like La Llorona made to scare them or would something actually happen if there was a fire near an outhouse? The best way to determine if this was fact or fiction was to try it for themselves. So, they conducted a science experiment. 

Roberto made sure to eat a lot of beans the day before and that day. Around noon they were ready to test out this folklore. Roberto felt that particular rumble in his stomach, so he bent over, looking back between his legs while my Dad lit the match and held it close to Roberto’s butt. Roberto let out a big fart and sure enough, a huge flame came out. My Dad jumped back and probably would have had his eyebrows burned off if he hadn’t. Roberto and my Dad laughed harder and longer than they could have imagined. 

Manuel Patiño, my dad, 1976. Two years after this science experiment

Their science experiment was complete. Farts will, in fact, catch on fire.

Surprisingly, Roberto did not end up becoming a scientist. Instead, he became a priest.

The Boy Who (almost) Turned into a Frog

The Boy Who (almost) Turned into a Frog

When I was little, my dad would tell me bedtime stories. I thought I’d share one of my favorites with you today. This story is a cautionary tale. You may have heard of La Llorona but have you heard about the boy who started turning into a frog?

Once upon a time, there was a little boy who used to play with frogs. He would go across the street and play with the frogs almost every day. He’d even bring them home. Well, his mom didn’t like this very much and told him not to play with the frogs. But the boy didn’t listen. So his mother told him, “mijo, if you’re not careful you’ll turn into a frog. And you’ll have to eat flies and bugs.” The boy still didn’t listen. 

The boy noticed that the side of his mouth was starting to turn brown and green. The brown and green started spreading to his cheek. It started to scab and look scaly. Like a frog. The boy started to imagine turning into a frog. A huge frog! A frog that had to eat bugs and live in a pond. He didn’t want to face his mother who had warned him so he tried to hide it. But his frogness started to spread and eventually, his mom saw the frog skin. 

The boy’s mother took him to the doctor. At the doctor’s, the boy was very worried. He cried to his mother “I don’t want to be a frog! I don’t want to eat bugs or turn green! I don’t want to have to live in a pond! ” To which his mother responded “See! I told you to stay away from the frogs!” 

The boy in this story is my dad and the mom is my grandmother. My dad probably just had an infection. He was given medicine by the doctor that cleared it up. But he stopped playing with frogs and remembered to listen to his mother at least a little bit more next time