I’ve discovered that I cannot vomit with anything approaching composure.
Or even cohesion. I come right apart. I sustain sprains and contusions. I lose pocket change.
On TV it happens with hardly more than a pithy bubbling sound. The character gives a witty remark before briefly pitching to starboard and unloading the offending stomach contents in a manner not unlike dumping a cold mug of coffee.
And then there’s me. The distinction is vast and laughable. There are no clever words. There are, at best, hand gestures while I stagger in vertigo, looking for a safe place, removing clothing and preparing to lose all bodily continence.
There’s huffing and shortness of breath. There’s feverish delirium, sweating, and apparent facial paralysis. There’s drooling. I am a house pet in a moving car. I am a jellyfish having a stroke. I am sometimes even a macaque with Ebola.
Then there’s a roar that comes up from the centre of me like a wrathful titan.
There are no subtle bubbling sounds. No possibility of quiet. Roosting crows a mile off are shaken to raucous flight by the tremors of my upheaval. I bellow like a yak in labour. I wail and scream.
I sometimes sneeze and hiccup.
And that’s just the front end.
Nothing is linear about this process. If I consume Jaeger, as much as I love it, I will become a biological weapon. I will be woken from a sound sleep (the only blessing in all of this is that I do wake up first), leap from the mattress like a startled gazelle and make it across the house, over a dog crate and two cats, and through the bathroom door, open or closed, in two bounds or less.
There is no calm before this storm. There is no emergency siren but the one which emanates from the tumult of my innards. I sleep in the nude, thank Jesus, or there’d be a break in the fluid flow of actions which lead to active fluid flow. There’d just be no time. No time to yank drawers down, or untie strings or whatever. No time.
When I leap into action, the hurricane is already upon us. I hit the ground, flip the lid, and it happens. My bodily orifices are a scene from Battlestar Galactica. There is momentum which says definitively that it all began while I was midstride. In midair.
It happens and I am a tortured puppet on the end of a fire hose. I am a microwave burrito run over by a bicycle.
Rage, lava, and evil issues forth with prejudice and hostility from every conceivable orifice. I squirt streams of blood from my tear ducts like a species of frightened lizard. I once had an ear infection because of a piece of broccoli that lodged in my Eustachian tube; my body had literally tried to puke out of my ears.
And thank god my bathtub is close to and directly opposite the toilet or I’d be shitting in the linen closet. When my body decides it doesn’t feel like hosting whichever guest I have inadvertently forced upon it, it ejects everyone. Suddenly. And with fervour.
It’s like a house fire in a youth hostel. It’s like a closeout sale at Costco.
EVERYTHING. MUST. GO!
I can paint two walls at once. I have knocked bottles of shampoo off the shelf three feet behind me. My wife no longer leaves her toothbrush in the shower stall. Or anywhere in the bathroom, really. It’s horrible. It’s awful. It’s violent and loud. It is like the paint bomb episode of Mythbusters. Some days, it’s the exploding cement mixer.
When it’s over, I am left spent and exhausted on the floor, several pounds lighter and near death. I am dehydrated. My kidneys entertain thoughts of resignation. My liver blames me for the horrors of humanity. I am ashamed and I swear I’ll never drink again.
Because it’s not just alcohol that causes this. It’s whatever the fuck my body decides it doesn’t like anymore. It’s fickle and never the same from week to week.
Today, we like salad, but not bread. Tomorrow, we can’t have tomatoes. Lean meat is usually ok, but vegetables on a good day will fill me with the sort of wind that causes the neighbours to suspect foul play. McDonald’s French fries cause me to emit sounds that frighten the dog, and fumes that attract circling vultures. A McDonald’s salad leaves me smelling like I’ve gutted a yak.
When I was born, my stomach decided I could only drink flat Coke. Later, I lived on goat’s milk. I need caffeine to survive, but periodically it decides coffee is Satan. It has a love/hate relationship with mustard. When I was 22, for no discernible reason, my GI tract rebelled against the entire fucking dairy industry. Today, it begs ice cream.
Fuck you, stomach.
Go to hell, colon.
You’re an asshole, asshole.