*Warning: This is really, REALLY gross, and it's a true story. If bodily fluids bother you, don't read it. It's a story about a really bad experience!*
We used to tell 'em all the time when I was a kid; Gross Jokes.
Kid 1: What's grosser than gross?
Kid 2: I dunno... what?
Kid 1: Finding a worm in an apple you just bit. What's grosser than that?
Kid 2: I dunno... what?
Kid 1: Finding half a worm.
Kid 2: GROSS!
Boy would the guys have gotten a good laugh if they'd known I was gonna be one someday!
It was almost Christmas of 1989, and I had headed out in the snow late one evening with the intention of finishing the last of my shopping that night.
I swear, the tire of the car was not flat when I started. However, there was no bang or any other indication as to when it did go flat. I got about 4 blocks away from the house before discovering the problem due to driving issues. It felt like the road had suddenly become a lot slipperier than it was. I pulled into the lot of the local hardware and looked. Sure enough, the rear driver's side tire was really torn up. I used the phone at the convenience store across the street to call home and tell Dad what happened. Needless to say, this did not go over well, but at that moment, the first priority was getting me home. Dad called AAA, who sent out a truck from a local garage.
In the meantime, the monster which lived in my teenage gut made its presence known.
"RAWWWWWER!"Â FEED ME!
That darned monster never shut up, not from the time I hit puberty to the time I squeaked by the closing end of it. It has even been heard to utter phrases such as "Fee, fie, foe, fum!"
I was a 10,000+ calorie a day eater, and when that monster spoke up, I knew I'd better listen, or I was gonna be in trouble shortly. If I didn't feed it, I'd soon be lightheaded and dizzy. I wasn't hypoglycemic, but my stomach sure thought I was! It was at this point that I realized I'd gone longer than usual between meals, as well. Supper had been early, nearly six hours ago. I wasn't just hungry. I was bite-the-person-next-to-me-because-he-smells-good hungry. And y'all think those zombie movies are fake...
Well, I did have money with me. Back into the convenience store I went, seeking sustenance... or at least something semi-nutritious.
Now, this was no ordinary convenience store. This was the drive through which housed the neighborhood's state liquor store, with a little convenience store on the side. There were a few shelves full of junk food and candy, a refrigerator-sized cooler full of pop and other beverages, and another refrigerator-sized cooler with cold food, and that was it.
The cold food refrigerator contained sandwiches, pre-packaged cheese sticks, pickles, and other items usually found in convenience store coolers. Nothing looked appetizing, because I was really craving carbs at this point. I started to turn away to head for the Twinkies and candy.
Then, I saw it, clear in the back of the sandwich case. One of my favorites, Bologna Salad! Yum! The monster growled its approval.
For those who have never had it, Bologna Salad is a sandwich spread similar to Ham Salad. It's made with eggs, sweet pickles, mayonnaise, and of course, bologna. The solid ingredients are ground up together, and the mayo added for flavor, consistency, and texture. Mom and Dad made it at home regularly, and I loved it.
The small hoagie sandwich had lettuce on it, just like I prepared mine at home. I bought that, tore the wrapper off, and downed two-thirds of it in two bites, gulping down most of the half-pint of whole milk I'd bought to go with it. Ravenous, I didn't even notice until I was halfway through chewing the second bite (having not bothered to chew the first) that in my haste, I'd gotten the plastic wrap in my mouth.
I pulled it out...
...it was the lettuce.
I kept pulling, and pulling... it was a nightmare, except that I was awake, and the sandwich was real. The piece was as long as my hand. Then, I noticed a funky, sour taste on my tongue. I looked at the wrapper; the sandwich was expired. No, not just expired... it was expired. It was more than a week old, and partially frozen, or more likely, partially thawed.
I immediately lived up to one of my friends' nicknames for me, The Human Garbage Disposal, by not throwing up. I took the rest of the sandwich back into the store and handed it to the clerk with the date showing.
"You didn't like this?" she asked, confused.
"Oh, ok. Sorry..." and she tossed it into the can behind her. "Do you want a different one?"
That was it. She hadn't even looked at the date.
"No, I'm not hungry any more."
...and the monster in my gut said
By that time, the mechanic had replaced my tire. I signed a paper and went home. By the time I'd driven the four blocks to my house, I'd begun to feel really tired. It had been cold that night, and I'd been outside for most of the ordeal. The nasty sandwich didn't help, either. I could still taste it. I brushed my teeth, gargled with mouthwash, and rinsed with water... and I could still taste that funky sourness on my tongue. Yuck.
Meanwhile, the monster in my stomach began to complain. It sounded like the singing frog from Looney Toons when the curtain goes up and he won't sing for the audience:
That apparently woke up the monster in my butt, who answered in kind, along with a few squeaks and whistles thrown in for effect. Having not had food poisoning before, I had no idea what I was in for. Instead of doing something sensible, like, oh, telling my Mom... I went to bed. I missed quite a bit of the internal fireworks due to another unknown factor; my whole family, including myself, were incubating a really harsh flu. I was so tired I slept through the cramps and the waves of nausea. Instead of feeling them normally, I dreamed about them. To this day, twenty years later, I can still remember that dream.
We were making Christmas cookies. I was little, still in elementary school. When Mom wasn't looking, I kept snatching bites of cookie dough. I should have stopped when I began to get a tummy-ache, but I didn't. Instead, I started licking finger-fulls of the powdered-sugar icing, too. Now, I was starting to feel sick. There was too much sugar and raw flour in my stomach. I needed a glass of milk to balance it out. That would help. Turning to slide off of my tall chair to head for the refrigerator, I...
...woke up hurling, as I rolled over from the wall to crawl out of bed. The stream - and I mean stream; think Linda Blair of The Exorcist - went up the wall beside my bed, all the way to the ceiling, six feet over my head, then continued across to the other corner of the room and down that wall, which was twelve feet away from me, then back across the carpet to the foot of my bed, ending in the puddle that I landed in face-first when I fell. The splatter sound against the wall was so loud, it woke my brother in the next room. He ran for Mom, as I picked myself up and stumbled for the bathroom.
The monster in my gut said foul things, and the monster in my butt cussed him right back, accompanied by a choir of singing rats. I barely made it to the bathroom before that second monster became really active.
The rest of that night was a living hell. It was a concert of dueling orifices, each competing to produce more yuck than the other, until it felt like I was melting from the inside out. I should have gone to the hospital, but I still didn't tell Mom about the sandwich. (We almost went anyway.) I had a fever, so she figured it was flu. She was half right. I had both flu and food poisoning. Based on the events of the night and the food I knew I'd eaten, I'm pretty sure I had Salmonella poisoning, which is commonly associated with eating bad eggs or bad mayo. It is possible that was accompanied by some other type(s) of poisoning, as bologna happens to harbor lots of evil little critters when it goes bad, (link - yay) but the symptoms of Salmonella cover most of what happened to me, and the symptoms of flu (which lasted over a week) cover the rest. I, on the other hand, covered everything else. I'm the interior interior decorator.
Even after the clean-up there were other effects. I was not a neat and tidy teen. Two outfits, three notebooks full of doodles and snippets, a couple of novels, and several hair bows had to be discarded because they could not be cleaned. Luckily, I'd missed my desk by inches. I had a lot of stuff there. Unfortunately, I did not miss my suede boots. I tried cleaning them, but I know I failed, because weeks later, they developed a hole and other markings that could only be explained as an acid burn. Great, I remember thinking... those things had cost me an entire night's pay!
Since then, I've never again been able to eat Bologna Sal