Monday, July 11, 2011

Perhaps the funniest First Grade vomiting story you will ever read.

When you teach first grade, watching children vomit becomes commonplace.  It's kinda like being a New York City cab driver or a modeling agency bathroom attendant.  

Throwing up is an almost every day event in the first grade. As a result, I have countless puking stories, (they seem to come in "chunks"), but I have yet to share my favorite. Today, that changes! 
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My first year of teaching was eight years ago and I can honestly say I was a little bit mortified the first time a kid in my class puked all over his desk. That was day two.  For the next two months or so, the puking incidents began to pile up and I my mind started to numb to its nasty, sour smell. 

An interesting side note: I was shocked to see that the custodian doesn't throw sawdust on the vomit anymore.  When I was a kid, I was always comforted by the smell of sawdust after a peer's throw-up-fit at school. It was almost as if I looked forward to it.  Nowadays, they have a giant Vomit Vacuum that simply rolls over the pile of puke, sucks it up, shampoos the carpet and gives you a pedicure all in one motion.  

One day, for old-times sake, I threw some sawdust on the vomit that I had hidden in my cupboard.  The custodian arrived, looked down at the spread before him and proclaimed, "What did that kid eat?!"

After my class's 14th vomiting episode of the school year, our carpet screamed for mercy and about the same time the months changed to October. Fortunately, the carpet gods were indeed merciful and the students in my class made it nearly three weeks without a single burp-and-flurp episode! It was heaven. (I assume kids don't puke in heaven. They just dry heave, but the heaves makes them feel warm and comfortable, as it should in heaven.)

October was also the month that our school hosted our annual "Vehicle Day".  This was a very special day in which dozens of different kinds of vehicles cluttered the playground, waiting to be probed by the hundreds of sticky-handed children at our school.  At the event there was an ambulance, a dog catcher truck, a fire engine, something that looked suspiciously like the Pope-Mobile and an ice cream van, fully equipped with a greasy, child-molesting-looking driver.  

My class rotated through the stations with intense interest.  The dump truck man showed them how to dump a load.  They oohed.  The city sweepers showed them how to turn on the brooms.  They aahed.  The ice cream man showed them the spot in the truck where he slept.  They lost interest.  (Later, we learned that the ice cream man had not even been invited to Vehicle Day.  He had just shown up, which makes me believe ice cream men cannot be trusted even MORE than I had originally thought.)  

With one rotation left, we hurriedly ran to the last stop on our Tour-De-Automobiles.  Much to my shock, the last vehicle that my class would be exploring would be a Hearse, complete with empty casket sitting on the ground and an rickety, nightmarish driver. This should be interesting.

Now I wish that I could tell you that I was kidding, that a funeral home would think twice about sending a Hearse to show to a group of 6-year-olds, but that was indeed the case.  Of this death car, I tell the truth and only the truth.  I am Honest Abe.  Truth is what I do.

Believe me, there was a Hearse sitting next to the jungle gym on our playground and my students were fascinated. 

The driver greeted us coyly and I SWEAR he started his "presentation" with the line, "I bet you kids are dying to get a look at this car, right?!"  

I was the only one that laughed.  

The driver then began to explain the ins-and-outs of the car, showing them the automatic windows and the dashboard.  He then showed the children where the bodies go and explained what the car is actually used for.  A collective gasp could be heard from the bundle of adolescents huddling together in the cold, staring at the brand new reaper-wagon as if it were Spongebob himself.

"YOU KIDS WANT TO TRY LAYING DOWN WHERE THE BODIES GO?!"

It still doesn't sound right, but that is in fact what the old man said, while patting the top of the car as if it were his grandson's matted hair.  

"Why, I don't know if we have time.  I mean, we probably should go in.", I protested, assuming that the old craggy dodger would simply accept my somewhat authoritative, half-assed stance.  

"Why nonsense! You guys are the last one of the day.  Bring those kids in and make a line.  We've got plenty of time!"

Without a chance for me to get a word in edgewise, the kids cheered in unison and lined up, eager to try their hand at an early death.  Then, one by one, they lay down in the back of the Hertz for two or three seconds, giggled and then exited through the back door.  As they left, the feisty old man gave each of them a pencil with "Johnson Mortuary, Serving the community since 1905" stamped across the side. 

I imagined my students handing their mother the pencil as they walked through the front door.  "Mom, dad! GUESS WHAT I GOT TO DO TODAY!" they would proclaim as their parents would listen in horror.

About half way through the line, I noticed little Sarah, the smallest student in the class was about to enter the Hearse.  Sarah was shy, kind and cute-as-a-button, but way cuter than the Mortuary buttons the driver was handing out.  I was lucky to get Sarah to say more than five words a day to me.  She was painfully timid. Today would not be different.

Sarah pulled herself into the Hearse, laid down, turned her head and puked all over the brand-new, carpeted interior of the drivable tomb.  

The driver and I both rushed to the scene; he was yelling something about the wood paneling, I was trying to help Sarah out of the car.  I pulled Sarah free from the sticky, napped rug as she coughed and cried.  The driver rushed to his glovebox, grabbed a pile of napkins and started dabbing the chunky slime.  After 15 seconds of dab-dab-dabbing away, his napkins were full.  He looked up at me with a half disgusted, half angry glare. I shall never forget that glare. I'm sure I'll be still thinking of it during my own Hearse ride.  I told little Philip to run and get the custodian. 

"Do it now Philip!  HURRY!"

A few minutes later, the custodian returned with a bucket, some rags and some sort of scraping device.  He began the vile clean up process and for the first time since I graduated from college, I was grateful for my degree.  Four years of hard work and study had separated me from being inside that car with the puke or outside the car with the kids.

I walked Sarah to the office, where the secretary put her on a bed with some of that thin wax paper across the top.  When I returned, my class was sitting on the grass, some clearly ticked that they did not get a chance to lie in the Hearse.  I walked over to the veteran driver, who was still standing outside the car, watching our sweaty custodian clean the inside of his brand-new Mercedes Hearse the best he could.  We stood for a few seconds in silence and finally I had to say something.

"Look, I am really sorry about this."

He was still angry, but cordial.  "Yeah, crap like that happens sometimes, I guess." 

"You have no idea!" I replied smugly, checking off good old number 15 in my brain.

We stood in awkward silence for a few more seconds while the custodian finished up.  Finally, the humbled driver spoke up.

"Hey, don't they use sawdust for that anymore?"

"No, weird thing - they stopped using that years ago."

"That's a shame.  That stuff was great."

"Yeah, I know."

69 comments:

Lost.in.Idaho said...

Bonding over barf sawdust. Priceless.

For everything else, there's sawdust...

Evonne said...

And I thought the puking story from my daughter's kindergarten class was priceless. This story definitely wins.

Joann Mannix said...

So, this? Might just be it. Best story ever. Or at least, a close second to pooping in the pants.

Kids lying down in a hearse. Only in your first grade, Cheese.

Good to know they don't use the sawdust anymore. Sawdust verses vomit, the sawdust won every time.

TisforTonya said...

I read a book once where the ice cream truck guy was the kidnapper... it was supposed to be the shocking ending... but DUH - they're evil incarnate, I wasn't surprised at all.

as a general rule, vomit doesn't make me laugh. but this... well, puking is probably one of the best things that you could do in the back of a hearse (the options being fairly limited).

SherilinR said...

i can't believe that driver thought it was a good idea to be there for the 1st grade car show & then that he thought it would be appropriate for the kids to lie down in it to sort of test drive the death wagon! and at that point, you would have been the bad guy if you didn't let them do it. whoa.

Oilfield Trash said...

Priceless.

Sarah said...

oh gosh. That was TRULY the most awesome 1st grade puking story EVER!
And seriously... no more sawdust? What the frack? that's just WRONG!

C@r!ie said...

hi.larious.

-stephanie- said...

Why is it that I am always eating something when you write about puke or poop? Blech, but funny.

Kate said...

One area where I feel very spoiled as a teacher is in the vomit clean-up department. It's to my everlasting dismay that I can't call for a custodian when one of my kids throws up. I am, however, the proud owner of a vomit vacuum, but we call it a dog. :)

A hearse??? I can't get over that. Lol

Silver Strands said...

One of my favorite of all of your posts, Abe. LOVED it.

Kelley said...

This is good!!!! I loved the smell of that powdery stuff. I'm not sure if Mrs. Tang used sawdust. I loved whatever she used. Anyway, this is hilarious! Poor Sarah! Those kids in your class sure were brave. I would never want to lay in the back of a hearse. Ew! (I probably would, though. Probably.)

Middle-aged Mormon Man said...

This needs to be submitted somewhere for some kind of award. Perhaps there is a "Mortician's Digest" or something.

Obviously a true story - no one makes up stuff like this. Thanks!

The Empress said...

I would've chunked up all over that box, too.

Of course, you knew I'd come running at the promise of a good vomit story.

My fave.

The Bipolar Diva said...

Just when I think you couldn't top yourself, you did. I woke the dog laughing. I never heard of the sawdust thing, with all my kids I guess I should have some handy.

Alison@Mama Wants This said...

I read this twice - because it was that good!

I do love me a good puke story.

Kelly said...

Serves him right for putting a shy kid in a hearse. That was a great story though!

imbeingheldhostage said...

Ok, it's decided. I definitely do not want to pursue a job in teaching or Hearst exhibitor or janitor... come to think of it, I don't think I want the job as Mom anymore either-- too much puking in that job as well. this respect I have for you and what you do is becoming close to idol worship, Honest Abe.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Bet you got some strange notes from parents the next day. I don't remember sawdust though.

Kev D. said...

SO GOOD that the driver asked about sawdust. Fantastically written, sir!

I'm Angela! said...

I'd barf too if I had to lie down in a hearse. I'm strangely disappointed about the sawdust thing. At least I'm in good company!

-Angela@BeggingTheAnswer

Susan in the Boonies said...

Gosh, Abe, I think you got 5 genuine belly laughs out of me, and not one single coughing heave.

Very, very funny post!

Honest, Abe!

Jen said...

The only thing that would have made that better is if the puke would have hit him in the face.

Jenn said...

Really? No sawdust? I remember that pretty fondly too!!
LOL.. great story... why is it we can always laugh at puke stories?

Rita/Fighting Off Frumpy said...

Ack!! Barf! Reason #1272 I could never be a teacher. :)

Jonah Gibson said...

Funny.

The appalling part? Number 15...and still early in the school year. I don't remember anybody puking in a classroom all the way through grade school. The nuns wouldn't allow it.

The Stiffs said...

Oh the vomit stories! A Hearst ? Really? Are you sure you aren't from down here?

The Church Lady said...

"I'll still be thinking about that glare during my own hearse ride". Bwahahhahhhaaaa!!!! Great story Abe! Rest assure (no pun intended), that hearse driver will NEVER allow 1st graders to lay in his casket ever again! Makes me wonder now who is laying in that casket 6 feet under and if the smell of vomit (among other things) is reaking from inside! lol!

Mamma has spoken said...

I've been teaching for so long I remember the saw dust. My first year of teaching, I traveled between four schools, one happen to be a private school that had a tight budget. Each teacher was given a large coffee can of saw dust for the purpose of taking care of these incidents (Oh and they had to clean up the saw dust once it did it's job). When it came lunch time, these teachers would talk about their cans and how much saw dust they had left. Was one of the weirdest lunch room conversations that I've had in my career!

Mighty M said...

"They seem to come in chunks". Haha, but gross. :)

Hart Johnson said...

*snort* How do I not remember the sawdust? I guess though, I didn't see a lot of puking. I think maybe you inspire it... erm...

Seriously funny though... guy deserved it for making those kids get in there--surely they were mostly horrified when their parents expressed THEIR reactions. He traumatized them. He deserved puke in his car...

Megan Harmeyer said...

I'm visiting from Impulsive Addict because the title of this post piqued my interested. And OMG this funny! Poor little girl! This is *the* funniest puke story I've ever heard. Hands down!

Amanda said...

Oh the poor kid! LOLOL...

Glen said...

If the stink remains he will just have to blame it on the dead guy, I guess

Mom of 12 said...

That is too funny! I agree, you win.
Sandy

TesoriTrovati said...

Oh yeah. I was a 7th grade teacher and while they don't barf that much, it does happen. But the barf is way bigger. And we had some sort of orange-flavored sawdust if I recall. Our little poor Catholic school would never be able to afford some sort of barf-sucker.
You are priceless Abe!
Enjoy the day!
Erin

Melinda said...

When I worked at a daycare a few years ago, we put cat litter on barf. It was still disgusting.

Mom2Miles said...

Oh my word, this was hilarious and horrifying at the same time.

Saimi said...

You're right, this is the funniest First Grade vomiting story I've ever read!

Bravo!!

Mel said...

The poor little thing up-chucking the hearse was just about the only logical reaction to the whole affair! What were they thinking?!

00dozo said...

Hey, that sawdust was the best! I remember the 'custodians' cleaning (or 'dusting') the wooden floors with it and it smelled marvelous. However, I don't remember a lot of puking in grade school. I guess I should be thankful.

This was fun!

;-)

ivebecomemyparents.com said...

Great story! OK, not so good just before lunch, but I'll get over it.

I have not been able to eat Cheez-It crackers, by the way, since Dana in 3rd grade ate half a box then promptly redistributed them around the bus during a field trip. Puke=bad; Cheez-it puke while trapped on a bus=deadly.

Thanks for the great story!

Impulsive Addict said...

CHUNKY SLIME?! Ew. I puked a little bit reading that. Poor sweet thing. Kids can't help it sometimes.

So, you posted a puke story. I posted a poo story. Now one of us needs to post a pee story and we'll be all covered on my favorite P words for the classroom.

Lourie said...

Oh we needed Sarah for the creepy ice cream man. hahaha.

Connie said...

This is the BEST vomiting story I have ever heard!
I'm still a little creeped out about the ice cream man!

Leslie said...

I remember a daughter's second grade teacher telling me that, since our school was an ELL magnet, the most important phrase she ever learned was "en la basura!"...a phrase to be directed when the Spanish speaking kids had that "I think I going to puke" look on their faces.

sprinkles said...

I was just thinking I don't ever remember any kids vomiting in the classroom when I was in school. Not denying it happened, just don't remember it.

But then I remembered my birthday my senior year of HS. My friend gave me a ride to school that day and I kept telling her I didn't feel well. She didn't say much about it or offer any sympathy or anything. We got to school and walked towards our lockers when suddenly, it all just came gushing out. My friend said something to the effect of, "Wow, I guess you really WEREN'T feeling well!" I went to the office to tell them what happened and asked to call my mom so I could go home. They acted like they didn't believe me and I kept tellling them to come check the hallway. The janitor finally came out to clean up the mess and yelled at me about it. He knew my dad so he complained to my dad about it too.

I can't believe that funeral home dude actually invited a bunch of little kids to lay down in his hearse! That's kinda creepy. Great story though.

Thanks for your kind comment about my father's recent passing.

Crystal Pistol said...

Great post. Really great! Well written and truly the strangest puking story I've ever encountered. :)

Powdered Toast Man said...

I use sawdust to clean up the spills in my kitchen. Works great on goulash.

M-Cat said...

This post is so wrong on so many levels. And yet so very funny! I can picture it all. And blurp and flurp? Never heard of the phrase! If you can imagine....

"Miss Bee" said...

I don't know many first grade vomiting stories, but you're right. This is probably the funniest (albeit disturbing... a hearse at vehicle day?) one I've ever read!

Lazarus said...

Great story Abe! I once had a business meeting with the senior managers of a large funeral home company. I, of course, trotted out all the standard puns about customers dying to get in, etc. At the end of the meeting, the general counsel said "Just remember, we'll be the last people to let you down." I thought that was pretty good. Wish now that I'd vomited on him!

Pearl said...

The timing and pace of this story was absolutely perfect!

Big dopey smile,
Pearl

tammy said...

1. I'm so glad I wasn't eating while reading this (actually I was).

2. I could never be a school custodian (do they still call them that) just because of the barf.

MAFW said...

My granny would've loved this story. Except her problem was if she talked too much about puke, it would make her puke; she didn't even have to smell it. BTW, I'm adding you to my blogroll.

Megan said...

Wait, they don't use sawdust anymore? Next you'll be telling me the kids don't gather in a line during assemblies to pet the huge boa constrictors who comes to visit.

Kids today.

Unknown Mami said...

It's a good think I didn't buy stock in sawdust.

SoMo Mom said...

Hmm, I think the next time my cat vomits on the floor, I'll throw a little sawdust on it and see what happens. DEFINITELY the funniest First Grade Vomiting Story.

Anil P said...

To think the hearse driver actually wanted to have the children experience lying down in the tomb. Well, that's some cheek.

A "Vehicle Day" is a great idea. The ice cream man must be a born entrepreneur, and he sure didn't lack the initiative.

Sawdust was standard practice back in my day, and I think it still might be back here.

Bits-n-Pieces said...

I love the hearse at vehicle day!! Why shouldn't it be there? Mighta sparked a whole new generation of morticians! (hey..SOMEBODY's gotta do it!)
after 21 years in Kinder and 1st grade...I still cannot handle the vomit! We just leave the room and wait for the janitor and his sucky machine. blech!!

Melanie Jacobson said...

So 1st grade is random vomiting. I taught 8th grade where the vomiting is already alcohol fueled. But it happens less, so I guess . . . yeah, I still don't want to teach 1st grade.

MiMi said...

Seriously, it could not have happened to a better car or driver! ACK! I would be sorta mad if my kid laid in the back of a hearse. CREEPY. lol

ThreeOldKeys said...

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ... too funny for abbreviations.

my dad drove my school bus when i was a kid. he had the sawdust stuff and knew how to use it.

Emmy said...

Holy cow- that really is the best puking story ever. That really is bizare that they had a herse.

W.C.Camp said...

The real question is - What are you teaching those poor kids that makes them barf so often??? Great story and just in case I am going to to saw some wood up and keep the shavings for emergencies!! W.C.C.

Alittlesprite said...

eww, and eww.
I can't remember at any time, during all of my schooling when some kid threw up. Not one. Guess I am a lucky girl :)

Rachel said...

Hands-down best puking story ever.

Poor kid.

Lene said...

I didn't even read this post. I suffer from SVS (sympathetic vomit syndrome). GAK....

Lizzie said...

When Sarah is older she will proudly brag to her friend that she vomited in a herse