Down to the Last Bite: Note From a Foodie

This one comes with a comedic twist. At least it is intended to be funny and with hopes that this clears something up which is important to me. I offer this note to all foodies and friends who love a good meal. To those who can relate,
I offer the fact that there are meals which have turned wrong. There are trusted meals too – the “go-to” ones or the special favorites which come from historic moments in our lives, like when you go out to grab some wings with friends.
Even these meals can go wrong.
It happens . . .
I used to hear about food poisoning or about someone eating something that had gone wrong. I’ve heard about the terrible bouts after eating something and the vomit or the awful visits to the bathroom.

I suppose I used to be pretty lucky until one afternoon before a Super Bowl party.
At the time, my friend was preparing to have food delivered to his house. He was also preparing a sheet of paper with boxes on it so that all the people who attended his party would have the chance to win some money on the game. Not to mention my friend was already in another pool that was run by the bar and the people who were preparing our food order.
(My friend loved to gamble!)

I was asked to take a run over to the bar and help with something, which I did. While I waited, I ate a basket of buffalo wings with some blue cheese dressing to dunk the little spicy drumsticks and enjoy the flavor. 
The sauce tasted a little tangy – and perhaps this was a bit more tangy than usual, or tangier, or well – there was something off about them but I wasn’t sure what it was. Either way, I ate them all, down to the last bite.

I went home shortly after because “I wasn’t feeling right,” to which my friends said, “Okay, but you’re going to be back before kick-off right?”
He needed me to help at the party and with some other last-minute gambles. I would have been there, too, had it not been for my previous gamble, which was a loss. You guessed it – I gambled a bit too heavily on that basket of buffalo wings. And ah, at that moment I swore that I had never felt this sick before. Hence, my introduction to the world of food poisoning. 
I had absolutely no control over what was about to happen to me.
The sickness didn’t take long to find me. Maybe this wasn’t “food poisoning” per se or maybe there are different versions of foodborne illnesses. But either way, whatever it was, the food got me good!

I hate being sick like this. I had long hair at the time which was in my face as I lay in bed, sweating between puking fits, burning up with a fever and praying to whichever gods that would listen to show mercy on my soul. Whether it was the chicken gods or buffalo sauce gods or any gods for that matter – please, just take me quickly because this sickness was incredible.
I couldn’t stop the feeling. I couldn’t get comfortable. In an effort to keep you from being sick yourself – and to keep you on my side as a loved one and a friend and to prevent you from stopping your love for me, I will only advise that my trips to the bathroom were frequent and the gross nature is unnecessary of description. 
Either way, I’m sure that you get the drift.

I swore that I would never eat buffalo chicken again. I held true to this for a long time. In fact, I think it was years before I dared the hot-wing challenges. But eventually, I overcame the disgust for the smell and flavor. This took time; however, sometimes time is all it takes to get over an instance or a moment of major discomfort. But for the record, there was a long while that I could not stomach the smell of buffalo sauce.

By the way, there are other smells which, to this day, decades later if I smell them, my body remembers the sickness. For example, I cannot stand the smell of Jack Daniel’s or Southern Comfort. Oh, and Johnnie Walker (it was the red label that did me wrong) or Dewar’s – oh, and thankfully no one drinks wine coolers anymore, but peach wine coolers are another one. Oh, and there was this one time I drank an entire bottle of Manischewitz wine in a few gulps. Man, that was awful.
Those smells are awful too.

All of the above has led me to insane bouts of sickness, vomiting all over the place and sometimes, all over me.
On two other occasions, I threw up on people – two different ones; occasions, I mean but it was on more than two people.
One time, I was in a bathroom while girls at a party were doing their hair. They were using hairspray that smells like grapes, also known as Aussie hairspray. (I just cringed while thinking about this.)

I was laying on the floor as close to the toilet as could be because me and the porcelain gods were becoming very close friends. 
The girls were talking “girl stuff’ and doing their makeup and hair.
I couldn’t take the smells anymore.
I threw up all over JoAnne D’s leg.
Needless to say, she was not happy.
But it wasn’t my fault. I was sick. I was drunk and, to this day, I cannot stomach the smell of Aussie hairspray.

The second occasion of vomiting on someone was actually more than one person. No, this time was a spray of vomit that flew from my mouth and landed on a group of three (or maybe it was four) girls who were trying to prop me up against a fence.

To the best of my memory, I was trying to drink water out of the water fountain near the handball courts at Prospect Park. However, and unfortunately, I had drank too much so balance was not my strong suit.

I fell down on the ground, which sucked to begin with. I could remember wanting to get up. But I also remember looking up at the water fountain which might as well have been taller than The Empire State Building.
Somehow, I was being helped up. I wasn’t sure who was helping me at first, but I could feel myself being lifted by a series of hands, which was pretty nice to say the least.

Next, I realized the girls who were helping me leaned my back against the fence which surrounded the courts. My head was on a swivel. I was too drunk to talk or explain that perhaps the girls should take a few steps back.
No, all I could get out of my mouth were the words “Moo” which to the girls, this was really funny.
“Moo? What are you, a cow?”
At the time my hair was very long and all one length. My hair was in my face and, I don’t know why, but one of the girls decided to move the hair away from my face. As soon as she did that, the world spun in a really unfortunate way.

They knew me from grade school. The only reason I knew this was because they were talking about me while laughing at the same time – saying how I used to be so cute in elementary school “and now he’s all fucked up!”
I let out another “Moooo!” with more volume to encourage my intention to get them to step away.
I said “MOOOOO!!!” which, in translation, I was trying to tell them to move.
I wanted them to move because the smell from their friggin grape-smelling, Aussie hairspray triggered the violence of an awful rage within my gut.
And the girls – they kept on laughing and trying to keep me balanced on the fence.
Welp, I did try to warn them . . .

Beer vomit flew from my mouth and all across the girls who were “trying” to help.
But the bitches let me drop! And BAM, there I was, back on the floor and looking up at the water fountain which seemed taller than The Empire State Building to me again. Only, this time it was worse because I was laying next to a puddle of my own vomit.

I still can’t stand the smell of Aussie hairspray and, if I’m being honest, chicken (and one time it was sushi) have pulled the unfortunate trick of food poisoning. 

I often discuss the word “Just”
as if to say “Just” don’t think that way
think of how this makes something sound so simple
(especially when its not).

I think about this when people talk about depression or anxiety. In their infinite wisdom (enter sarcasm here), I have listened to people offer their suggestions with the emphasis on the word “Just” as in, “Just” let it go or “Just” don’t think that way anymore.
I have heard people suggest to others that they should “just” forget about their experiences; as if it were “just” that simple.

Well, if someone were to have told me after eating a basket of buffalo wings, “Just don’t throw up anymore and you’ll be fine,” would that have made sense?
If someone were to say, “Just don’t get that reaction when you smell Aussie hairspray,” would my body “get that?”

The answer is no.
Sometimes there are things in life that you “just” can’t shake and sometimes, the word “just” is something that “just” doesn’t belong in the conversation.

I don’t drink anymore, which is something that you already knew. Fortunately, Aussie hairspray is a fad from the past so my worries of this are small.
(Let’s “just” hope it never makes a comeback.)
We have experiences in life. There are also times when we are not well or sick or in the thick of it all, there are times when the discomfort or the sickness refuses to go away. Sometimes, the only cure is time.

I accept this and allow this truth to help me build a better brand of sensitivity because “just” like it was with me when I was sick, other people find themselves, equally out of control or sick. I don’t ever want to belittle, minimalize, or trivialize someone’s predicament with the word “just” by telling them to “just” let it go . . .

Get it?

We’re almost at the end of this journal, but before I close this, I wanted you to understand my sentiment and the endearment behind this connection of food, mealtimes and love.
If you love someone, you don’t “just” tell them.
You show them.
And that’s what this is all about.

I hope you see that by now.

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