Wednesday, June 2, 2010

How I hurked in my underwear

A couple weeks ago, I made a passing blog reference to the day I threw up in my underwear.

Ever the astute reader, my agent was on it immediately. “Is that true?” she tweeted. “Sounds like a story.”

It is indeed, one I’m pleased to share for no other reason than it’s a drizzly Wednesday and I feel like laughing and I’m generally the easiest target for my own mirth.

During my middle-school years, the confluence of wonky hormones in my system made me prone to crippling migraines that hit at the most inopportune times.

The most inopportune time of all was the last day of 8th grade. I was dressed up for the occasion in a stretchy lavender miniskirt and matching top with my bangs teased to terrifying heights.

I looked hot. Well, as hot as an awkward adolescent with braces and bad hair can look.

I made it halfway through the school day before disaster struck. My first clue a migraine was coming was the fact that my classmates were all missing their heads. I tried to pretend it wasn’t pre-migraine blurred vision, but was soon forced to accept the fact that decapitation wasn’t a class prank.

I hustled to the restroom thinking green linoleum and a quick pee might somehow prove to be the migraine cure my doctor hadn’t discovered.

There I sat with my knees tethered together by my underwear when the first wave of nausea hit.

It wasn’t unusual for a migraine to make me nauseous, but it was unusual for it to happen without warning – and to do so when I was seated upon the only appropriate vomit receptacle in the vicinity.

I hurled. Not just a little ladylike “urp,” either, but the product of a hearty school lunch.

And then I sat there in horror at what I had just done.

I had a few options available to me. Drowning myself in the toilet seemed most appealing, but the thought of my parents claiming my body in a school restroom was not the tender scene I’d envisioned.

Hitching up the puke-filled panties and pretending everything was normal was also not an option, or at least not one I wanted to consider.

Discarding the evidence seemed most logical, but then what? I was a 13-year-old self-conscious adolescent, so the thought of parading around the school in a thin miniskirt sans underwear didn’t hold the same appeal it would if I’d been a drunk pop singer.

But it had to be done. Thoroughly disgraced, I mopped up the mess, wrapped everything in toilet paper, and carried it to the trashcan by the door where I buried it deep beneath a mound of wet paper towels stained with Wet-N-Wild lip-gloss.

Then I trudged to the office to phone my mother for what would prove to be the first in a series of awkward calls she received during my school years. Though admitting I’d puked in my underwear was more mortifying than later admitting I’d lit my hand on fire, I was at least able to provide a more satisfying answer when asked if I’d done so intentionally.

Finally, I did the walk of shame out to the curb, careful not to sit down or stand in any direct sunlight.

And though I missed the ceremony, I feel confident I have a more interesting graduation story to tell than any of my classmates.

So that’s how it all happened. Aren’t you glad to share in my humiliation? If you feel like offering your own embarrassing story in the comments, please do so.

No sense in me being the only one to bare all, right?


Unknown said...

I s'pose somebody should throw up a comment here...hehe, whoops. I mean, which one of us hasn't taken a spew in our drawers, right? Uhhhhmmm...can we unfurl some more furry Matt the Cat photos?

Anonymous said...

Aw, that's terrible! I'm still laughing since I really can't help myself, but I'm so sorry about your 8th grade embarrassment! OMG, such a horrible age for that to happen.

I forget the embarrassing things I do, but no one else does, which is what happened when someone reminded me of an incident I had in 1st grade. I know, 1st grade. I should be over it by now, but I'm not. Not really! I was sitting in my desk after recess. I'd had SO much fun running around and being a wild child that I forgot to go to the bathroom.

Bathroom breaks during class were a no-no, so I couldn't ask to go (or thought I couldn't). I tried to hold it, I really, really did, but finally my little bladder caved and emptied itself all over the floor around my desk. No one saw. I figured "I can take care of this and no one will ever know!"

So, I quickly developed a very bad case of the sniffles. Nonchalantly went to the front of the class to get some tissue and sniffled my way back to my desk and accidentally "dropped" all of the tissues in my puddle. Yeah, so it was a bad idea. I was caught by a tattle-tale, no-good, nosy, teacher's pet student and had to call my grandfather to come get me.

Nearly thirty years later and that story still makes me blush with embarrassment.

Anonymous said...


Wow. Thanks for sharing. I remember those days of grade 8. I lost my 21 year old brother to a skiing accident during Grade 8.

It wasn't embarrassing moments I had to endure that year. It was an early onset of angst.

That was 26 years ago. Thanks again for sharing. You're a wonderful person to put so much of your heart out there for us.

Thank you.

Unknown said...

Aren't puking stories the best? When I was a pre-teen I had a campout at my friend's house with 10 other girls or so...
We decided to make waffles at the crack of dawn and I'm pretty sure they weren't cooked--at all. So later in the day someone had the awesome idea of walking around one of our giant local malls.
I started to feel the sweat bead almost immediately but one of my "friends" decided that her t-shirt browsing was more important than rushing me to the restrooms. By the time I hit the food court it was high noon and jammed packed with people. As soon as I hit that corner Cinnabon the smell took over. It was instant vomit release. I panicked and tried catching it my hands but immediately realized that was a terrible idea.
So that was released for a second round of spatter...
I kid you not even the paid piano player stopped to turn around. It was pretty much the worst day of my life. ( I threw away my favorite sweatshirt that day)

CKHB said...

I'll show you my HS senior photo sometime. My friend Kathy and I decided to skip the line-up on the stairs and instead sat on the ground, dead center, below the rest of the class. We each sat leaning back on our hands, one leg straight out along the ground, one knee bent.

My top, however, was the only one rendered see-through by the sunlight. I am totally silhouetted. It's not flattering.

Linda G. said...

So, here I am, cringing at YOUR memory. Retroactive sympathies to you!

I do have a throw-up story or two, but I believe I'll save them for a future blog post of my own. ;)

Lisa Miles said...

Great title and awesome post! I love writing posts about embarrassing stuff (since I have so much of it!). I wrote a post somewhere on my blog about the time I went home with a guy and threw up in his sink while he was in the shower (I was young, what can I say?).

Expat mum said...

That's the sort of thing that usually happenes to me - although I never had the excuse of being in 8th grade. More like 8th year of working!

Elizabeth Flora Ross said...

There is nothing funny about migraines. I have suffered from them for years and can sympathize.

My most embarrassing moment? Being caught naked and wet by the fire department. THERE'S a story...

Patty Blount said...

Ick, migraines. Just had one Saturday that completely messed up my marathon writing weekend.

For me, the Big Embarrassing moment (yes, there was one prior to getting my boyfriend's nut stuck in my braces) was in 9th grade. I had a pimple on the tip of my nose.

First, my nose isn't exactly cute and pert. Second, this wasn't a pimple, it was a newborn volcano about to erupt. And third, my parents refused to let me stay home that day. I had to endure the Rudolph and Brunhilda jokes.

Oh, it gets worse.

I could see the damn thing, dangling off the end of my nose and nearly went blind, crossing my eyes. At one point, dizzy from being unable to focus, I walked into a door and it just exploded. I mean, I looked like an extra from a Freddy Kruger movie.

I spent the rest of the school day in the nurse's office trying to hide the fact that I was squeezing the life out of the zit while the nurse was trying to stop the blood flow.

Ah, memories. Probably the first time I've admitted to liking something about being over 40.

Michelle Wolfson said...

Ugh. I get migraines too. We'll have to compare migraine meds someday. I sort of couldn't get past the bangs teased to terrifying heights though.

Harley May said...

I don't understand your sarcasm with the outfit/hair. Bangs teased up to the nth mile is how I wear my hear every day.

Candyland said...

I think I read this wrong. This had to have happened recently. Stretchy minis and teased bangs are so hot right now.

I've always gotten migraines like that too, but mine have usually ended with me passing out after throwing up. Beautiful, I know.


Misty, LOL, nothing like a few good puke puns to get things rolling!

danicaavet, poor little first grade you! I think that's almost more mortifying than my puke story :)

Daryl, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. My 8th grade puke trauma really wasn't all that traumatic, and I can certainly laugh about it now.

Anne, oh that sucks! The nice thing about my situation (if anything was really "nice" about it) is that no one saw it happen!

CKHB, you MUST post that photo. You must. Maybe we should hold a special blog day where everyone posts their most embarrassing childhood pic?

Linda G, hey, maybe we should do another author blog chain with puke stories?! :)

Lisa Marie, now THAT is a story I'd like to read!

Expat mom, have you hurked in your underwear, or just in public. Either way, not good :)

Elizabeth, you will be blogging about being found naked and wet by the fire department, won't you? WON'T YOU?!

Patty, that sounds like the zit from hell! You have my sympathies.

Michelle, for some bizarre reason, the migraines mostly stopped after middle school. I still get one every couple years, but nothing like most members of my mom's side of the family (who still get horrible ones constantly). Watch, now that I've typed that, I'm going to end up getting one again!

Harley May, I can totally see you rocking the big bangs and blue eyeshadow!

Candyland, at least if you pass out after puking, someone else has to clean it up!

Thanks for reading, guys!

Anonymous said...

If ever my teenage daughter complains about the agonies of puberty again, may I simply refer her to this blog post?

Terry Stonecrop said...

It's a funny story now but no doubt it was not funny then. Poor kid. Migraines must be terrible.

Christi Goddard said...

I don't embarrass easy, so I never remember things that probably SHOULD have embarrassed me, but didn't.

Liz Czukas said...

When they make a movie about your life, Tawna, this MUST be the opening scene.

- Liz

Jan Markley said...

That's quite a story. Reminds me of the memoir Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress she had lots of crazy stories in there.

Claire Dawn said...

Your life is the stuff of fairy tales! Any time I hear someone say of a funny book or film, "Oh that could never happen," I'll tell them about you:)


Xuxana, you're free to share with your lovely daughter! Want me to dig up some unflattering middle school photos while I'm at it? :)

Terry, considering how horrible my migraines were in middle school, I'm a little amazed I don't get them much now (knock on wood).

Christi, the ability to not embarrass easily is one of the greatest traits to have!

Liz, I'm a little terrified at the idea of a movie about my life! Oh, wait - who gets to play me? Can it be someone really hot?

Jan, I've never read that memoir, but I'll have to check it out.

Claire Dawn, those would be some pretty terrible fairy tales, wouldn't they?!

Thanks for reading, guys!

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