Saturday, May 06, 2006

True Confessions: An Embarassing Eruption

Since I told about the wonderful, heart-warming story about the kindness I showed one of my elementary school chorus’s soloists, (see "Carla Steals the Show" below), I thought I would tell about an excruciatingly embarrassing mistake I made with one of the members of the chorus.

About six years ago, we were going to perform for about five hundred people, mostly parents and family members. It was going to be a Big Show: fifty minutes of music, choreography, three soloists, and a fine, young, fifth grade boy sharply dressed was to be our emcee.

During warm-up before we went onstage, a girl in the second row of the Chorus came to me and told me she had an upset stomach. I was busy handling 120 kids so I told her to get a drink of water. We went onstage, and during one of the songs, that same girl became nauseous. Food that had been ingested earlier in the evening had soured in a manner that required its immediate expulsion. However, this girl didn’t want to vomit right there on the spot and she didn’t want to leave the chorus right in the middle of a song, so she got the bright idea of puking up her sizeable dinner right there in front of everybody while attempting to keep the barf from coming out by holding her hand tightly over her mouth. Unfortunately, the body’s desire to expel rotten, unwanted crud from the stomach is a powerful force backed by very determined muscles, and this sickly, tiny little girl’s barf became a force to be reckoned with when increased in pressure by her hand.

The actual vomiting looked a bit like a lawn sprinkler turned on its side so that instead of watering a horizontal plane along the ground, this girl’s chunks were sprayed in a vertical, semi-circular spray that encompassed an area about the space required to hold 120 kids. If you are wondering how powerful the eruptions were, breathe in deeply, hold your hand as tightly as possible over your mouth, and then breathe out as rapidly and as forcefully as possible. Then, in your mind, replace all that air with vomit.

Our emcee caught most of the first explosion, although everyone in the first and second rows pretty much got showered, including the ceiling. The second and third “pressurized eruptions” were just as spectacular because your attention was now captured in a horrifying moment of comprehension.

We kept singing and didn’t miss a note, although I stopped directing to call the school nurse who had seen the incredible event from her seat in the back and was already coming forward to help out.

The girl dropped out of chorus from sheer humiliation. I told her it was my fault, that I should have pulled her from the show and sent her to her parents. I promised her I’d watch her closely and it wouldn’t happen again, but some people won’t get back on that horse after being thrown.

I still regret that mistake, but at least I am being fair and showing both sides of the coin of life.


Laura said...

Oh gosh, that is one she'll think about forever, poor thing. And, after throwing up every 10 minutes for nine months of carrying Olivia, I am very sensitive to vomit stories!

Laura said...

Also, how did those amazing kids keep singing. I puke when someone else does; it would have set off a ton more vomit if I would have been next to her...

Walter said...

I trained them to concentrate on the director (me) and to keep singing "no matter what." None of us knew what "no matter what" could entail.

Jack said...

This is hysterically funny. I truly expected it to cause mass puking. I can't believe that not one other kid upchucked from the disgustingness of it all.