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Sunday, October 16, 2005


Ode to the Technicolor Yawn

I don't drink a whole lot these days. I suppose it might be considered a sign of maturity or something vaguely along those lines, but I just don't really enjoy being fucked up. I love beer and I generally have a beer or two a few nights a week, but I usually stop there. It's truly rare for me to put any sort of buzz on. One benefit of this is that I haven't puked all that much over the last decade. Which is nice.

I don't like puking. It doesn't taste good.

I used to puke a lot. When I was a kid, I would puke at the drop of a hat. You didn't even really have to drop the hat; you just maybe had to tilt the hat a little bit and up came my lunch. I think nothing made me puke easier than seeing someone else puke. It's a little odd, isn't it? There aren't that many things in the world that you see someone doing and then do automatically yourself. Yawning. But that's about it. Seeing puke, though, used to set me off instantly. I remember once I was eating at an L&K with my aunt and my cousin. I must have been five or six. My cousin wasn't feeling well and she barfed a little bit on the table. I took one look at it, leaned over my plate and filled it to the brim with upchuck. I guess I should be proud that I kept it on the plate.

I was swimming once at the campground my grandparents owned with another cousin of mine when I was maybe eleven. I remember distinctly that my cousin was ahead of me in line on the diving board. After he jumped off, I didn't wait for him to come back up, I just jumped in after him. When my head broke out of the water, the first thing I saw was my cousin spewing forth the thickest vomit I've ever seen. Seriously, it was like he was pushing one of those nut-covered cheese logs out of his mouth. I didn't look at it for more than a couple of seconds, but that was all it took. I emptied my stomach into the lake right then. I remember the two of us desperately swimming backwards, trying to get away from our puke.

I got over this as I became a teenager. Instead of biffing when I saw someone else's old food, I now required a different stimulant, for example, wine coolers.

I vomited a lot when I was in college. This is largely because I was stupid. I was stupid in that way that special kind of "chug tequila from the bottle and then vomit on your shoes in a friend's back seat" kind of way. I remember one time my friend and I went over to the off-campus apartment of a grad student friend of ours. She made us a nice spaghetti dinner and then the three of us went to a theater department party. We stopped off at the liquor store on the way over and I got a bottle of Mogen-David Orange Jubilee. See, at that age, the logic went something along the lines of "Okay. I want something that gets me really fucked up cheaply and doesn't taste too much like booze." I downed the whole bottle over the course of a couple of hours and didn't feel like stopping. As my grad student friend had had enough of her bottle of smurf piss, I kindly offered to finish it off for her. I don't really remember much of the walk home. I know that two of my buddies propped me up between them and I remember falling over a trash can at one point. What really sticks in my head is that the next morning, the garbage can in my dorm room held something interesting. Apparently, the Orange Jubilee had mixed with my dinner and the smurf piss and I had vomited green spaghetti. It was awesome.

All of that kind of thing stopped after I turned twenty-one. I ended that birthday passed out in a chair after having puked on my coat and my pants and the phone. My roommate did his best to clean me up and then didn't speak to me for a week. Not a lot of fun, but it taught me a lesson. I think I've puked maybe three times in the fourteen years since. Which is good, because I don't like to puke.

I don't know if I'm smart or dumb for never beginning to drink, but I can say with confidence that at least my sobriety has kept me puke-free.

I can mark the finale of my childhood puking: during the opening ceremonies of the 1980 Winter Olympics--too much ice cream.

Since that day 25.75 years ago, I have vomited ONCE, in my late twenties when I got some crazy flu that took my temp to a hospitalizing 106.

I've experienced diving expeditions in rough seas, ultra-turbulent flights, the biggest roller coasters in the world right after eating, swimming WHILE eating, and I've eaten bad food that made others puke. This stomach is rock solid. Yet I still think I'd puke as a contestant on Fear Factor or The Amazing Race with those eating challenges.

Oh, and don't go to my website if you have a weak stomach.
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