I’ve shot heroin — and had sex with a human woman — one time. (Different nights.) (I’ve fucked a doll once, too.) Re: the smack, I’d fallen for a straight junkie and spent the better part of a year trying to “save” him from the devil’s grasp — which, as it happens, sunk me too. If I couldn’t have sex with him, I reasoned, a close second would be letting him shoot opiates into my basilic vein. They call it “chasing the dragon” — the never-ending pursuit of reliving your first hit. My dragon, however, promptly projectile-vomited all over my junkie crush and passed out in a cold sweat. I awoke to him exhaling crack smoke into my vomit-soaked mouth to revive me. On the plus side, I haven’t vomited — or shot heroin — since. One day at a time…
In the meantime, here are my colleagues’ most vomitous tales, on, of course, the very morning where as a nation we find ourselves collectively nauseous:
Sick as a Dog
When I moved to New York City in 2009, I supplemented the $25 a day I earned as a literary agency intern with a weekend job as a brand rep for an organic dog food company. It was early summer, and every Saturday I’d set up a folding table in the sun in front of a pet store on Bleecker Street and pester dog walkers to buy our $3 sampler packs. I did very poorly. One time, eager to make more sales, I bought a pack myself to give the food away for free — I mean, dogs eat their own shit; of course they’d love my food, right?
Before long, two small, white, long-haired, very yappy dogs came in and scarfed down a free sample. Pleased, the owner took two bags and walked up to the register to buy them. I was thrilled. But then I heard the Dreaded Sound — the unmistakable hork hork hork of a little beast about to blow.
Everything after that felt like slow motion. The dog projectile-vomited. On top of the other dog. And then the other dog projectile-vomited. Soon the front entrance of the store was covered in organic puke. Maybe a foot away from me.
I looked at the lady and smiled like this. She stared at the dogs, horrified. She literally had her card in her hand and was about to check out. She slammed the food down, put her card back in her purse, grabbed her dogs and strolled out the door.
I cleaned up the puke. — Cooper Fleishman, New York Bureau Chief
Silent Night, Hurl-y Night
Last Christmas, a plague befell my family. Shortly after concluding our holy-day feast, nausea hit my uncle and cousins. It wasn’t food poisoning — they knew they’d caught a stomach bug from their cousins on the other side of the family.
I thought I’d be fine, having kept my distance, but the following evening, I awoke from my slumber in terror. I had to throw up. I knew it from the very depths of my organs that it was coming. When the time finally came to make a run for the bathroom, it was violent. Usually, once you finish throwing up, there’s a sense of relief. Not this time — just lingering nausea and the striking absence of the comfort that typically comes when you’ve finished emptying your guts.
I managed to fall back asleep in half-hour increments, only to awaken once more with the knowledge that, yes, I’d be throwing up again. A few times I threw up right on the floor, even with a trash can next to me. In total, I threw up nine times over the night and into the next morning. On New Year’s Eve, the illness came back for an encore. It made me so emotional that I wept while watching 50 First Dates on Comedy Central for probably the 50th time in my life. After everything, I lost seven pounds. — Magdalene Taylor, Editorial Assistant
Ketchup Me If You Can
Between my kids, various pets, a disastrous group stomach flu at my sister’s wedding and other assorted misfortunes, I’ve both produced and cleaned up a lot of puke in my life. But my favorite puke memory is more about what we had to clean up after the puke.
When we were about 14 or 15, my friend Ben wasted. This was nothing new: We were basically wasted all the time — it was all we had to do. But this particular evening, it was Ben’s turn to be Most Wasted© — he threw up lavishly into the toilet for around an hour, then passed out on the bed. We drew the requisite dicks and stuff on his face… and then we started really fucking with him.
It was ketchup first — I don’t know why there was such a giant, Costco-size bottle of ketchup in the house, but we poured what seemed like a gallon of it over his unconscious back. This was funny! So was the mayonnaise. And the mustard. And the shower gel. And then the three full ashtrays. And then… well, you can imagine. Everything we could find in the house ended up on the pile until Ben was no longer there — just an amorphous mound of gelatinous goo. When we were done, he looked like Pizza the Hutt, only vastly less appetizing.
The next morning, hungover and bleary-eyed, we’d pretty much forgotten about all of this. We were watching a movie when we suddenly sensed a presence behind us — we turned, and as one, yelped in pure terror: There, before us, stood a zombified Ben, still covered head-to-toe in caked-on red gunk, holding his hands out in horror like Jesus showing his wounds to Thomas the Apostle.
He was, naturally, livid. He said not a word after his shower, silently glowering in a towel as he waited for his clothes to wash. The room was still unbearably quiet two hours later as he put on his finally-dry T-shirt and jeans. It was clear he wasn’t going to speak to any of us for a good long while, certainly not before he left the house. We knew we’d done something heinously wrong, so no one dared to break this tense silence even as he made ready to leave by reaching for his big leather biker boots.
It was only when he pulled these boots on and a horribly familiar red goop spurted majestically up his pants leg almost to his groin that we remembered we had, in fact, also filled both his boots at least six inches deep with ketchup.
We scattered to the four winds. I’m sure we just ran out the door, but in my memory, people were leaping out of second-floor windows and shoving themselves up the chimney (there was no chimney). His agonized wail of “BAAASTAAAAARRRRRRDDSSSS” still rings in my ears to this day. But it was a valuable lesson: Sometimes, there are worse messes to clear up than booze-puke. — Nick Leftley, Senior Editor
Gatorate: It’s What’s in You (and All Over You)
I was once a competitive water polo player, and during the off-season, my team was required to join both a club water polo team and the swim team. The swim team also happened to be highly competitive — they were consistently Division I champions — and the workouts were no joke.
One day, we were challenged with the so-called Gatorade set: We had five-ish minutes to sprint 100 meters and chug an entire Gatorade, and we had to continue this series until we inevitably threw up.
Many of us managed to chug at least four or five Gatorades before yacking, and as you can imagine, this resulted in what can only be explained as a rainbow puke party — vomit of every color soared in every direction. I happened to be chugging red Gatorades, which meant I eventually launched nearly one whole gallon of purely red throw up into the nearest bin. The whole thing was absolute madness. — Ian Lecklitner, Staff Writer
Love in the Time of Food Poisoning
There are lots of things you probably shouldn’t do at the beginning of a new relationship. Getting food poisoning is one of them. We had only been dating for a few months when I took my girlfriend to a restaurant she’d heard good things about. We liked our meal, but by the time we got back to her place, she wasn’t feeling well. Something wasn’t sitting right, and soon she was face down in the toilet. For the next several hours, we spent a lot of time in the bathroom, me holding her hair out of her face and her getting ill.
Vomiting in front of your boyfriend could be a mood-killer, but it’s also a great way to see just how compatible the two of you are. When you don’t know someone incredibly well but you share an uncomfortable, potentially embarrassing experience like that, it really bonds you. She still jokes that she knew I was the one that night. Next year is our 13th wedding anniversary. — Tim Grierson, Contributing Writer
Puking in Cars With Boys
In 2006, I moved to L.A., and my sister and I hit the town with her friend Derek, who had just come out and wanted to hit the gay night spots. It was near Christmas, and first, my sister took me as her work party plus one to Buca di Beppo for dinner, where we loaded up on free fettuccine as the necessary blotter before what we knew would be a night of serious drinking.
I’m usually a beer drinker, so hard liquor never behaves well inside me for long, but tonight was different: I was wearing a vintage black-and-white 1950s cocktail dress with giant polka dots and killer lines, and I would take the night as it came. Derek wanted to go to the famed gay bar The Abbey, and once inside, we danced, slammed down apple martinis (shudder) and even ran into Carson from Queer Eye, who asked me if the dress was vintage Dolce. It wasn’t, but L.A. is like that — built, after all, on reinvention, artifice and ground that shifts fast under your feet.
I don’t remember anything that came next, other than my sister driving my black Honda Civic as I hung my head out the passenger window, mumbling something about seeing two of everything. The next thing I knew I was spewing out the window as she hightailed it from West Hollywood back to our Westside apartment. I didn’t get out of bed most of the next day until dinner, but my sister let me know she’d done me a solid and had spent the morning scraping half-dried puke-a-ccine off the side of my car. The dress survived, but I’ve never had a martini again. — Tracy Moore, Staff Writer
Father of the Year
My own puke stories are pretty run-of-the-mill. A little flu here, some alcohol poisoning there, you get the idea. Then, of course, there was the day I hired strangers to make me chug a ton of Smirnoff Ice, which had me spewing pretty good. But no, the most incredible barf-related thing I ever witnessed involves my dad and my sister. I’m eight years older than her, so I remember back to her infancy and toddlerhood — and from what I remember, those were regurgitory years.
She was maybe 4 years old at the time of this incident, which unfolded on a night we had dinner at the home of a family friend. Toward the end of the evening, as we milled around in the living room, getting ready to leave, Isabel looked tired and pale (or paler than usual, I mean), though not especially queasy.
Guess I don’t have those legendary “dad reflexes,” because I never would have anticipated what came next. It happened in less than a second. Abruptly, my sister gagged and hurled whatever she’d eaten, while standing on an expensive-looking rug. BUT MY DAD CAUGHT IT IN HIS HANDS. Before anybody could process anything, we saw my dad kneeling on this still-pristine rug, cupping the entirety of Isabel’s vomit. He hustled off to the bathroom to dispose of it, not spilling a drop. To this day, I believe he belongs in the Fatherhood Hall of Fame for this act alone. I just wish the image didn’t linger quite so vividly in my mind. — Miles Klee, Staff Writer
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Shitting in Public
I will never go back to Fat Slice in Berkeley, California. But I do thank the sketch college-town pizzeria for the one, incredible silver lining that revealed itself after I got easily the worst food poisoning of my life my freshman year at Cal. More on that in a sec.
What I remember from the beginning of what turned into a hellish three days was groggily waking up in my fourth-floor Ida Sproul dorm room, opening the window to the quad below, and immediately throwing up. What happened next was 72 hours of cold sweats, deluges from every orifice and a five-alarm pain that rendered me completely helpless.
When I finally came-to after my symptoms subsided, I began the process of directing my anger and disgust at the culprit: The thicc slice of supreme pizza I’d eaten at 2 a.m. of the morning my troubles began, served by a greasy pie man with the coke nail.
But back to that silver lining: Ida Sproul was a dorm with co-ed floors, which meant that if you wanted to take a shit, you might be sharing the crapper with the hot girl a couple of doors down. I never risked it, always running across the quad to the cafeteria’s basement men’s room. That is, until this happened, and I was forced to abandon my phobia and become extremely comfortable taking a dump in public bathrooms.
And for that, Fat Slice, I am eternally grateful. — Jeff Gross, Social Editor
Best First Date Ever
I was diagnosed by a physician in high school with having a weak-ass stomach. Some proof: As a wrestler in high school, I threw up after wind sprints every practice. During my years as a collegiate tracklete, I couldn’t eat lunch past 12:30 or else I’d throw up at my 2:30 p.m. training session. Even today as a grown-ass man, I can’t mix my dark and white liquors or else I’m throwing up in less than 60 seconds. And if I’ve had pasta and then start drinking, it’s all over.
Now, because I have a weak-ass stomach, I have more than enough stories to add to this potpourri of puke, but one in particular is definitely worth adding to the pile. In the fall of 2016, I’m an unemployed twentysomething without a car looking for a girl who’s into my quirks. I find one named Meghan via the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel. We meet at a bar, and she’s really cool — a musical theater fan who babysits rich kids. Midway through the date, I go in for a kiss, and luckily, she kisses me back. She even goes on to invite me to her place.
All that’s left to do is pay the bill and call an Uber. I hand the bartender my credit card and go to take the final swig of my (first and only) beer. For some reason, I don’t know if I drank it too fast or if it was the frozen pizza I ate beforehand, but I feel it: I’m about to blow chunks. Now, everything slows down. Meghan is talking about some shit about how Rent is this century’s Les Mis, while the bartender is taking too long to close my tab. I keep drinking water and swallowing bar nuts, hoping the salt will absorb whatever is fucking up my stomach, but nothing. It’s coming — and fast.
Normally when I have to throw up at a party or in a social environment, I wait for a break in the conversation, a low moment during which I ask to be excused to take a piss. But Meghan is talking a mile a minute. If I wait for her to pause, she’s gonna have frozen pizza all over her Birkenstocks. So basically, I just say fuck it. “Excuse me,” I interrupt, “I gotta use the bathroom real quick.”
She’s taken aback by my interruption, mainly because I yelled it. But there’s no time to make amends, and so, I rush to the bathroom and start throwing up in the sink. For whatever reason, the bartender has followed me into the john and sees where I’m puking. He’s utterly disgusted and forces me to stop throwing up in the sink. Following his orders, I switch to the urinal, where I continue to puke for the next 10 minutes or so.
When all is said and done, I clean up the sink and flush the urinal. I also run water in my mouth so as not to tip off Meghan. But when I come back to the bar, she’s gone. And when I text her, there’s no response. Suspicious, I ask the door guy if he’s seen the girl I was with. He points up the street, and there she is, getting into an Uber. I walk up to the car calling her name, but the Uber speeds off as she’s screaming “LOSER” out the window.
I’m not usually the type of dude to text or call anybody incessantly, but in this moment, I send Meghan like 30 messages. I have to find out why she abandoned me in such a moment of weakness. And how did she even know I blew chunks in the first? Plus, even so, I could have been deathly ill. Why mock me for it?
She finally responds the next morning: “Bro, you threw up on a date. I’m not fucking anybody that lame.” I decide to stop there — despite the other kind of spewing (namely, insults) I could have participated in. Instead, I choose to take the whole thing as a sign from above that I don’t need to be fucking with girls who are obviously insensitive to brothers with weak-ass stomachs. — Tarik Jackson, Story Producer
Once You Pop, the Fun Don’t Stop Until You Vomit in the Cereal Aisle
I learned from an early age how to be a gentle, clean vomiter. No matter what the circumstances or how badly the food needs to erupt from my mouth, I always make time to remove my shirt, lift the toilet seat and puke in such a way that if it were not for the foul smell of undigested food interspersed with bile, it would be downright elegant. Having said that, I did once throw up in the cereal aisle of a supermarket in Storrs, Connecticut. I was a senior in college. I had run out of water and spent the morning eating Otter Pops to quench my thirst. So when I arrived to the supermarket a shell of a young man with Otter Pop liquid swimming in my belly, I took one look at those Fruity Pebbles and BAM! For some reason, I continue to drink vodka (the elixir that had left me so dehydrated), but I haven’t had an Otter Pop since. — Andrew Fiouzi, Staff Writer
When All-You-Can-Eat Goes All Wrong
A decade ago, I was an 18-year-old in college with clear eyes, a full heart and an empty stomach that could take on piles of food on a second’s notice. So when my best friend’s mom came to town for a visit and decided to treat a few of us to all-you-can-eat Brazilian barbecue at Fogo de Chão — a treat far too pricey for us to afford on our own — I was beyond excited.
You start the meal at Fogo de Chão with a selection of cold apps and salads, then proceed to your table for the barbecue. The key is a little coaster with a green side and a red side. Green means “please continue presenting me with an endless flow of ribeye, sirloin, filet mignon, lamb chops, bacon-wrapped chicken and many, many more meats.” Red means, as you probably guessed, “stop.”
Well, folks, I left that sucker on green, grinning wide as a parade of men sliced protein onto my plate every four minutes. About 90 minutes into dinner, as we were wrapping up and perusing the dessert menu, I felt an uncharacteristic but insistent gurgling in my gut. I waddled to the bathroom, now officially feeling abdominal pain, and sat down on a toilet. It wasn’t going to work. The food wanted out, all right. But it wanted to leave the same way it arrived.
Long story short, I threw up several pounds of meat, wiped the tears from my swollen eyes, and casually walked back to the table and sat down for a serving of tres leches cake, looking like a sweaty, bile-laced paragon of youth, vitality and intestinal fortitude. I don’t know how I managed to eat that cake, but it was delicious. — Eddie Kim, Staff Writer