Note: the below article contains references to bodily functions. Though not graphic, you might find it a bit unsavory.
We’ve been hit with the dreaded stomach bug once again. It’s not surprising, really, as we had an unprecedented weekend lineup of good snow, a high temperature in the 30s, friends visiting, and even a babysitter. So Murphy’s Law wins again.
Now, as we are in recovery mode, I found myself thinking about this uncomfortable illness, and why we fear it so. The horrors of Ebola and other diseases aside, the actual act of throwing up is a phobia for many, yours truly included. And yet, Romans used it as a tool for excess (as they do in the Panem Capital), like upchucking is as easy as flossing.
I think the worst part may be the lack of control, which would explain why centurions found it so acceptable — they made a choice to empty out their innards from the wrong direction. For me, it’s also the that of public vomiting that has me twitching. And with good reason, since I can recall several highly public incidents, including:
- A gas station in Amish Country
- Boarding a flight to Chicago
- During a writing seminar dinner party
- At the entrance to Whole Foods
And the big question: what’s worse, the action of hurling in public, or the aftermath?
In a public space, the immediate relief of being emptied is quickly erased by the looks of fear and revulsion cast by witnesses. Then you have to decide what to do next: alert someone; find a mop; or run away.
At least in private, the porcelain god is your own, and no one will reprimand you for sleeping on the bathroom floor. However, it’s up to you to clean it all up, and if you are unlucky enough to have a loving family, you might be wiping up after them too.
Which brings me to my drawing above. When the next nasty bug comes to town, wouldn’t it be great if we all just whipped out our monogrammed barf bags and went on with life? They could clip onto our coat zippers, or dangle from antibacterial chains. We could rest easy knowing that if our stomachs start rumbling, all we need is a discreet exit. Of course we would then go home and rest, but we may be able to significantly minimize the social stigma and public disgust.
Tastemakers, please set a new trend. Until then, you’ll find me home by the throne.