Throw Up

Vomit. Puke. Hurl. Losing your lunch. Tossing your cookies. A mouth volcano. Old unfaithful.

The serial spewer herself sporting her summer 'hawk.
I don't know about you guys, but my tolerance for the above has always been zilch. Just the sound, smell, sight, or mere suggestion of regurgitation sends my own stomach for a threatening loop. Even piles of my cat's barely-digested Purina cat food pebbles make me think twice about having eyes (and a cat). This issue has not only affected me, but can be seen taking its toll on sick, drunk friends without a hair tie, roommates with cat vomit-covered socks, and even helpless six-year-old girls with a bad stomach bug. The latter will be my subject for today.

Babysitting is the easiest thing in the world, which is why I spent most of my adolescent years and even college years sitting on babies as much as I could in my spare time. You get to be very silly for a couple of hours, maybe even sit on your ass and watch a Disney movie like you would be doing on a Saturday night anyway (just me?), and then you put the kid to bed (usually around 9:00pm or some other early-as-fuck bedtime) and watch your stories on the TV or troll the internet until the parents come home.

About two years ago in the West Village at around 9:00pm, I was doing just that. I had sang just about every Disney song in my repertoire (which is just about every Disney song in Disney's repertoire), tucked her into bed like a little Chipotle burrito, and placed her over-sized Dora the Explorer stuffed animal at the food of her bed. Then I sat in her room with her and proceeded to troll the internet from the comfort of a nearby chair.

About an hour later, and with absolutely no warning at all, she bolted up from bed and into a right angle and projectile vomited all over the end of her bed and Dora's face. I immediately picked her up by the armpits and carried her to the bathroom where she continued to toss her cookies into the more-deserving toilet. After managing to be somewhat comforting despite the fact that watching her made my insides want to be on the outside, I got her changed and brought her back into her bedroom. There I was met with the horrible realization that in order to put her back to bed, I would have to clean up all the throw up. There was no one there to save me and shirking responsibility would mean the parents coming home to a child who was sleeping in her own stomach contents. I looked down at my charge, who was holding my hand and looking very sleepy, and I knew that I had to just forget about my sensitivity to this mess and be a motherfucking adult.

A relevant coloring book illustration by Aparna and myself.

I went over to the bed with all of the paper towels I could find west of 6th Avenue and tried to scoop off what I could. The second I got within a foot of the bed, my gag reflex kicked in like I was getting x-rays done at the dentist, only worse, because at the dentist there is no giant, smiling Dora dripping with vomit. I could only conclude that before I came over to babysit, this little girl had entered a hot dog eating contest or consumed, at the very least, an entire pizza. I thought not being able to smell the disaster would help me be more efficient so I grabbed a dish towel from the kitchen and tied it around my face so that only my eyes were visible. I was the Upchuck Bandit.

Despite the fact that I could only smell dingy soap and assorted crumbs, my body would not allow me to clean up the mess. If I continued to force myself, it would only be a matter of time before the only thing adult in the room would be the size of the addition piles of puke on the bed. I took the entire comforter, including Dora (who, at this point, was definitely mocking me) and dumped it into the bathtub. Had this not been an NYC apartment and had there been a washer, I wouldn't have been so cruel about my placement of the bedding but hey, I didn't have much to work with. The bed was finally clean and I was relieved. I closed the bathroom door behind me and let myself forget that throw up ever happened that night. It wasn't until the parents came home that I let myself remember and recount what happened (I had called them earlier during the incident and left a message, but they didn't pick up or return my call). Her mom went straight to the bathroom and immediately started dealing with the barf-encrusted detritus. Not a single gag could be heard as she waded elbow-deep into the filthy remains of one of the worst nights of my life.

This was the moment that I realized that I might not ever be able to have children. If I do, they will either have to throw up alone and then promptly clean it up or watch as their mother retches along with them every step of the way. I guess I can only hope that my baby daddy has absolutely no gag reflex (that's what she said!).


  1. hhahahah You are an excellent writer my friend! I don't normally laugh out loud when I read but you made me and i thank you for that.

  2. Woohoo! I'm glad you enjoyed it and thank you. Pay me for that laughter in infinite Lettuce & Feta grilled cheeses?! :)


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