When I was a kid, I lived in fear of something:
Puking in the school cafeteria.
Y’all know what I’m talking about.
It happened to at least one unlucky soul every school year as long as I can remember.
It was the ultimate humiliation.
I don’t remember much about grade school (besides Mrs. Mace who was 112 and still teaching 2nd grade) but I can conjure every puking incident that ever occurred.
To wit: Winter 1968. The cafeteria is jammed. It’s hot because our coats are still on from recess. We’re sweaty. The kind of sweaty only a Midwestern kid swaddled in wool can understand. The hairnet–wearing lunch ladies dole out over-cooked food to an unfortunate few whose mothers either worked (what? worked???) or couldn’t be bothered to slap a hunk of bologna between two pieces of stale Wonder bread and stuff it in a bag. The rest of us enjoy mom-made PBJs and slurp down white milk purchased with the 3 pennies taped to the lids of our metal lunchboxes. Mine was plaid. Yes. I said plaid. Not Brady Bunch, not Flipper…..plaid. I fucking HATE plaid. Go ahead and laugh, shitheads! My mom was frugal and she probably got a really sweet deal on that beauty beaucause no other consumer on the planet would buy it. Just like the army green parkas with fake fur collars she got for $15.95 that EVERYONE in our family wore including my grandfather. I think they’re still wrapped in plastic and occupy a remote corner of closet space in my childhood home. As for the lunchox…well….I’m sure my dad dug it out of the trash after I attempted to wipe it from my memory when I entered middle school. It’s probably stuffed full of old shooting medals or spent shotgun shell cartridges. I suspect I’ll run across it again some day.
Anyway…..Robbie M. (name has been changed to protect his dignity) had a caring mommy like mine who packed a wholesome meal every day in Robbie’s GI Joe lunchbox (it was not plaid). That lunchbox will forever be etched in my memory because Robbie hurled into it with a vengeance like he’d been subjected to a diabolical tilt-a-whirl operator at the local fairgrounds. Poor kid. I still think about him from time to time and what caused him to hurl so violently. If you asked me, I think Robbie had a nasty ear infection because there’s only one thing that can produce a color that distinct: liquid erythromycin…cherry flavored.. Robbie’s mommy must have forgotten to pour the Cheerios that morning because you never give a kid liquid erythromycin on an empty stomach. Just a word of advice for any of young parents out there who don’t want their kids to end up on Jerry Springer with some unresolved self-esteem issues when they’re pushing the big 5-0.
Meeeeemories…like the corners of my mind. Misty, water color…never mind.
I wish I had better grade school memories… like, oh, I don’t know….a teacher who tried to inspired me to become something or another? A teacher so filled with a passion for learning that it motivates even the weakest link in the academic food chain? The kind that accomplished people thank 30 years later when they’re receiving a profound award?
I only have memories of incidents involving other children that I prayed would never happen to me. Kids can be so self-absorbed!
So why this particularly memory?
Hot like an in-fucking-ferno yoga.
For those who have never experienced this unique form of fitness torture, imagine this:
A room full of profusely sweaty people with lots of tattoos smelling of curry twisting themselves into knotted, agonizing positions in a room heated to about 145 degrees with 40% humidity.
And I PAID for this?
And during that first, brutal step toward fitness enlightenment, I had but one thought:
Do. Not. Vomit.