The Greatest Puking Stories Ever Told


I’ve always wanted to write a book. It would a handsome, classy looking leather-bound volume with a little tasseled bookmark. And on the front, embossed in gold leaf, would be the title The Greatest Puking Stories Ever Told.

Everybody’s got at least one good one. All that remains for me is to compile the best of the best in a single volume. And Chapter One would be the story of my former housemate Jon. Fortunately this was the year before he was my housemate. And it might have played a role in why he became someone else’s former housemate.

When I worked for the satirical rag Golden Words back at university, we held an annual Beer Brewing event at Clark Hall Pub, the popular engineering students’ pub located just upstairs from our offices. They don’t have Beer Brewing anymore. It turned out that for the thirty-odd years that the event had been taking place, it had been technically violating liquor licensing laws by allowing students to serve their own home brew in a licenced drinking establishment. No one ever pointed this out, even though the mayor of Kingston himself was a regular guest at every event during my GW career. Eventually, though, some spoilsport brought it up, and that was the end of that. I hear they do an annual science fair instead.

So long as they’re still using the event as an excuse to get absolutely shit-faced, though, they’re keeping the spirit of Beer Brewing alive. The way it would normally go is that all the staff would get dressed up in semiformal attire, and we’d mix and mingle during the pre-event wine and cheese with the honoured guests and celebrity judges and listen to them make astonishing alcohol-fueled revelations. (For instance, the editor of the Queen’s Journal once admitted that he got all his toilet paper by stealing it from one of the student residences, a fact which we then printed in the next edition of our own paper.) Then the actual serving and judging of truly terrible brews would take place. (My favorite was when this hirsute guy whom many of us had previously noted for his astonishing Bert-the-Muppet connected eyebrow showed up with a homemade beer with a professional-looking label reading “Monobräu”.) Afterward, we’d bring in the band we’d hired to put on a show. In my time, these included Sarah Harmer’s old band, Weeping Tile; Dayna Manning, who in retrospect, I think might have been flirting with me when I accidentally interrupted her pre-show quiet time in the EngSoc lounge; and Rusty, who were such a bunch of cavemen that they should get to do the theme for that new Geico sitcom. Thanks to the free wine that we served on a one-for-you-one-for-me basis at the start of the night and to the subsidized tab that the paper ran at the bar later on, nearly everyone was completely tanked by the end of the evening, and some of us had done extremely foolish things.

So that was Beer Brewing. It was a lot of fun.

One guy who had an amazing amount of fun at the 1997 event was my housemate Jon, although as I said, he wasn’t my housemate yet. After a truly heroic feat of binge drinking, Jon came stumbling home and laid on his bed, still fully dressed in his suit and tie, with the room spinning around him. It’s the worst when the room’s spinning around you. Jon tried to steady himself. I’m not going to puke, he told himself. I’m not going to puke. He kept repeating this: I’m not going to puke. I’m not going to puke.

I’m going to puke.

He bolted up from his bed, ran down the hall, burst through the door into the darkened bathroom, and knelt in front of the toilet, making it just in time. And he puked, and puked, and puked until he was left panting, exhausted and completely empty.

And only after he was finished did he realize that the toilet seat was down.

Relieved just to be alive and in no shape to deal with the fallout from this upsetting turn of events at that moment, Jon just shrugged it off and went to bed. When he awoke late the next morning, he found that his housemates had already discovered the appalling state of the bathroom, recoiled in revulsion, and closed the door, resolved to let Jon clean up his own mess when he got up. Jon steeled himself and opened the door, only to find that the sun had been streaming through the window all morning, baking the vomit onto all available surfaces. And it was everywhere. The splashback from his projectile vomiting onto the seat had sprayed in all directions, leaving only a blast shadow behind him reminiscent of those left by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. It was nothing less than a Holocaust of puke.

So Jon spent most of the afternoon scrubbing up the aftermath of this terrible event. Later he took his soiled suit down to the local dry cleaners, where it was immediately rejected as being far too foul to deal with. And at the end of the school year, his housemates booted him out; I have no idea if his expulsion was a direct result of this event, but it’s hard to imagine that it didn’t at least play some small role.

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