It was a bright and sunny Saturday morning. The air was clear. It was a picturesque day in an affluent Houston neighborhood. At a small, upscale bistro, suburbanites sat with their dogs and their significant others. They smiled while they chatted about kids and ABC’s “Scandal.” They ate their salads and they laughed. Meanwhile, in a small corner of that same bistro, in the bathroom, while the nice people enjoyed a lovely morning outside, every ounce of what a degenerate dick joke writer ingested the night prior exploded out of his mouth, now the spigot of an unrestrained human fire hose that flailed wildly in the air. As he violently and painfully purged his stomach contents into the toilet, he wondered if the scarlet tint to his jettisoned digestion was from the five glasses of red wine he drank with dinner or if it was simply blood. The raw burning he felt up and down his throat suggested the latter. His entire night had come roaring out of him: the steak, the expensive wine, the Macallan 21, the beer, the gin, the tequila, even the essence of the several Cubans he smoked. Everything. In a way, it was fitting. Nothing that refined or exquisite belonged in him. His body was merely rejecting what it did not deserve, all over a toilet seat.
Last week, that was my Saturday morning. After spending an incredibly fun night raucously celebrating my cousin’s 35th birthday with his lovely wife and all their friends, we strolled over to a little restaurant the next morning and, after a few moments of shooting the shit, I excused myself to go ahead and puke my balls up. Few things make you feel like a bigger piece of crap than puking the morning after a night out. It confirms all your terrible decisions and becomes your own private shame session, in which you atone for being a stupid asshole. Morning puking is the drinker’s cilice, and God, does it hurt. It’s not like drunk puking at all. If I happen to vomit while drunk, I’ll laugh in between heaves. But in the morning, all I could think as I clenched and winced was, “I can feel EVERYTHING.” Morning puking in public only further reinforces the notion that you are, in fact, a terrible person deserving of mockery and disgrace.
On a random night back when I was still in school, a drunk friend decided he was the coolest fuckin’ guy around. He proceeded to drink as much Rumple Mintz, tequila, and Jim Beam his body would allow. Oh, he had a grand old time that night–really lived it up, that guy did. The next morning, as we walked to our 10 a.m. class, he stopped suddenly on Mizzou’s quad, where the mighty and majestic columns towered over him. Countless people passed by. He bent over, rested his hands on his knees, and took a breath. The color had left his face and he began to sweat. I asked what was wrong, but he couldn’t reply. Instead, he shook his hand at me and took another breath. Then he gagged, stopped, and gagged again. Finally, just as an official university tour full of high schoolers and parents passed by, he unloaded every ounce of liquid and bile that was inside of him, all over the sidewalk. It was both impressive and horrible. The parents in the tour recoiled, save for a cool dad or two who chuckled knowingly, as my friend moaned in pain. The kids were split, half laughing, half disgusted. It was immediately apparent which of them belonged at a state school. Sorrrryyyy little miss “I want to be a doctor.” What? You’re too good to watch a grown man vomit all over himself, but dissecting the naked, withered body of a dead, old homeless guy doesn’t make you flinch? Your haughtiness is lies!
The tour guide tried to quickly shuffle the visitors along. Some gladly obliged, but others stayed for the show–my friend was nowhere near done. He took a knee and puked again. One of the cool dads let out a hearty, “Oh hoooo!” He asked what my friend had done the night before, so, naturally, I replied, “Study.” The moment was perfect. My friend felt, finally and deservedly, like the asshole he had been the night before. That’s what the morning after puke is there to do: remind you that you’re a total piece of crap.
It is not, however, much of a deterrent. Just a reminder.