Thursday, June 01, 2006
- There's nothing quite like your child's first puke-on-a-plane incident. Especially when it's more precisely a puke-on-Abba-on-a-plane incident. Even more so when this puking happens just as the cabin door is sealed and checked for takeoff, on an international flight of about 172 hours -- I think there must have been some mid-air refueling involved. This is most tragic when the parent in question lacks the wisdom to pack a change of clothes for HIMSELF in his carry-on -- oh yeah, lots of diapers and kid pajamas, but no clean shirts for Abba! Still, sitting in a moist, vomit-wiped shirt inside a sealed chamber breathing recycled air with the airline's other prisoners does build character, if not instant friendships.
- I will always treasure a particular memory I share with one of my girls, from back in the days when she was much smaller and my beard was more grippably fluffy. I was holding her in my arms -- and no, I don't think I was jiggling her too much -- when she reached out with those cute little hands and gripped my beard in a vice-like grip, and leaned in nose-to-nose with me. But instead of giving me that sweet little Eskimo nose kiss I was expecting, she dug deep and puked in my face, all the while clinging tight to my beard with that two fisted death grip. I'd like to report what happened next but I've blocked so much out I don't remember anything for the next six years.
- Back in Junior High School I went through a few weeks of one of the strangest illnesses I've ever had. Every time I coughed, I threw up. And I coughed a lot. On the library steps, in the car, riding my bike,... At least the bullies left me alone.
- In the third or fourth grade I had my tonsils out. The problem was that after the operation, I was bleeding down my throat. No one knew it right away, since they didn't see the blood. Not the nurses, who were neither attentive nor kind. And not the doctor, who was himself a somewhat scary figure who volunteered to help me learn to swallow pills by shoving them down my throat (I declined his offer). So when the bleeding was finally discovered and I was being wheeled down in the elevator to have the bleeding problem fixed, it was kind of amusing that the nice doctor made the mistake of leaning over me, just as I decided to vomit up all of the blood I'd been swallowing. Hippocratic oath, someone must have reminded him, because I'm still alive.
- A year or two after the tonsilectomy my grandmother took my brother and me on a cruise. I still remember standing at the door to the dining hall watching other passengers gorge themselves on soups and steaks and Baked Alaska as the ship rocked back and forth, and back and forth, amazed at their hearty appetites. My brother and I then looked down and spotted on the carpet the small initial drippings from a diner who'd obviously become overwhelmed and fled the scene. We traced a trail of vomit leading from that spot, realizing we had a trickle puker on our hands. We followed it down the hall, around the corner, down another hall and all the way to bathroom. Even back in those days they were already super-sizing the baked Alaska.
- I still remember the new kid's first day in our first grade class, turning around with the rest of the kids to welcome her and...
- Then there was the time when, as a teenager, I was visiting my dad. We were watching the Packers game together and he didn't seem to feel well. He was sitting on the couch looking green and mumbling about "thinking he was going to throw up." He kept repeating it every several minutes, whenever the Packers' opponents got a first down -- they were pretty bad back then. Finally he stood up, walked to the middle of the throw rug, and stopped in his tracks, appearing to ponder some deeply elusive universal truth only briefly available to us in those moments when we are perilously perched on the cusp of digestive evacuation. It was the first time I ever had to clean up someone else's recycled lunch from the rug. But not the last time. Afterwards we all had a good laugh about how he could have just gone to the bathroom and saved me that introduction to the world of odious tasks. Well, maybe we didn't all share that good laugh.
- When we were in high school my brother didn't like going to school. He solved the problem by developing an elaborate routine that was able to fool even my mother -- a highly trained RN -- into believing he was quite sick on a regular basis. He would stagger into the bathroom, groaning, and close the door. Then he would start with the violently disgusting retching noises, adding generous cups of water tossed into the toilet for effect. It is my belief that my brother was such a performance artist that he really deserved an NEA grant. Parents, if you suspect your child might try this trick on you, I have just two helpful words of advice: Habeus Pukus (produce the puke). No quick flushes allowed if you want to stay home from school young man!
- While it's not quite vomit, it's pretty close: have you ever stepped on a cat's hairball in your bare feet? Although I've never actually stepped barefoot in a puddle of vomit, I would imagine the squishing sensation between the toes is probably quite similar.
- Back in college there was a sort of a drinking game that was usually only played by the guys who got the most insanely drunk. I can't remember the exact name -- no, not because I was playing -- but I think it was called something like "Rainbow Puking." Basically, it involved swallowing a variety of different colored Kool Aid packets just as the moment of truth approached. Best watched from a distance, it was well worth the price of admission. I think I might have enjoyed their immature rainbow antics because years earlier my brother and I used to enjoy annoying our mom with a simplified form of the same game called "Black Lung Disease." Black Lung Disease involved taking a mouthful of cocoa powder into an inhabited space and forcefully coughing, then standing back to savor the fragrance of the resulting black cloud -- a game best played in front of company.
Ever tossed your cookies in a particularly interesting or innovative way? Why don't you share with the rest of us? Share your story I mean, not the cookies.
Inspired by the story of West Bank Mama's aliyah flight (no, no, go read it and then you'll know what I mean).