I just stepped in dog vomit with my bare foot.
I know it belonged to a poodle, but I’m not sure which one. The truth is, if it belonged to the Great Dane I would have been in vomit up to my knee, rather than just hopping around in disgust because I have a small amount of regurgitated dog chow stuck to my arch.
It’s one of those moments where I wonder if owning a dog has any value, whatsoever.
But, in honor of the nastiness of my most recent experience, I’d like to invite you to the knowledgable underbelly of burping solids. With no further ado, some little-known facts about… puke:
1. Dog puke made it’s way into the Bible. Yes, it’s true. “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11) And, yes, this is a phrase my mom shared with me as a kid, warning me not to play boomerang romance. If I broke up with someone once, and then got back together with them, in her opinion I was as smart as a dog eating it’s leftover stomach chunks. Powerful imaging that has served me well over the years.
2. When in danger, the sea cucumber may eject its entire digestive tract. (The animal is able to re-grow another one.) I’m not sure of the benefit of this as a survival technique. Is the predator suddenly frightened of the mess? “Oh, no, that’s one messed up sea cucumber… I’ll leave that one for a carp.” I don’t know. But I remain pleased my children can only eject the contents of their digestive track on command, rather than their entire fleshy organ.
3. In ancient Roman times, houses contained “vomitoriums.” Yep. A whole room of the home designed to allow your guests to feast until they puked, then they’d feast some more. Why wasn’t Rome built in a day? Because they needed space to blow chunks, and that… that’s a true art form that takes time to digest.
4. On New Year’s Eve, 1998, vomit vigilantes (euphemistically called “Clean Teams”) were dispatched throughout New York City’s Grand Central Station. They were supposed to thrust a bag under the chin of anyone who seemed to be ready to throw up. Who volunteers for this kind of community service? Seriously?! You can choose to, oh, spend time reading to the elderly in a nursing home, or — hey! better yet! — prowl the public transportation depot looking for someone getting ready to yak. Hm… hard choice, Alex, but I guess I’ll take bile.
5. Vomit looks like what you ate shortly after consumption. If it’s soupy, it’s been in your stomach for a while. That answers a question I’ve had ever since I puked beside the road while pregnant with Dos. (Remember? It’s the story of Uno and the Poopy Feast.) That production was NOT soupy. It strongly resembled the nacho cheese Doritos I’d been snacking upon on my journey. Ug. Just thinking of that makes me nauseous once more.
6. Many children can vomit at will, and some child psychologists say the best way to stop a child from doing this for attention is to make the child eat it afterward. Ooo-wee! Most parents won’t even publicly admit to spanking these days! I guarantee, if I made my kid eat their own vomit — even upon the recommendation of a medical professional — that would be a secret I’d take to the grave.
7. Hurl is green from bile rising from the intestines. Barf tastes bad because it is ½ acid and ½ partially digested food. On a related note, vomiting Tums also tastes badly.
8. Some species of frog will vomit up their entire stomach. Once their stomach is projecting from their mouth, they use their forelegs to ‘clean’ it and then it is reinserted. Proof frogs and sea cucumbers are somehow related. Perhaps from the genus stomachia ralphemus?
9. Some teenagers report having “scarf-and-barf” parties. It’s not quite like a bulimic bachelor party—where instead of a girl coming out of a cake, the cake comes out of the girl—but crazy kids get together, binge on their favorite fattening foods, and then go to the bathroom and throw it all up. I can think of better ways to bond. I mean, usually teens take advantage of this activity only after a night on the town or across the border in a small Mexican town serving 25¢ tequila shots. Or so I’ve heard.
10. Rats and guinea pigs can’t vomit. These rodents can’t vomit or burp because of a wall between their two stomachs and an inability to control their diaphragm muscles. If only they could sing opera… I bet they’d learn to control the diaphragm muscles if they could harness those squeaks. We had a guinea pig once. When it heard the refrigerator door open it would go berserk with wheezy howls for lettuce. I never liked that guinea pig much… but I never knew it couldn’t fling its food until now.
And, a joke as the grand finale: Two vomits are walking down the street. Suddenly one begins to cry. “What’s wrong?” asks the other. “Oh nothing… it’s just that this is where l was brought up.”
Hope you haven’t had to worship the porcelain god as a result of this post. Our carpet is in need of cleaning if you’re interested in volunteering your services. Do you have any vomit stories that would make us laugh? I’d love to hear!
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This post was originally published April 20, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!