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Language Log

Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2006 - 12:05 p.m.

When I was a kid, the first two years I went to summer camp, it sucked. It was this regular outdoorsy camp-- the first year (age 7) I went with my friend April, and it was okay-- but the second year she couldn't go, and I went by myself. It sucked hard. I was a chubby 8-year-old, and you know what can happen to chubby, smart 8-year-olds with lousy social skills. I couldn't stand to be near the other kids, they were so mean to me. I ended up gagging myself until I produced enough vomit to convince them that I was sick and couldn't participate in any activities-- I managed to be sequestered in the nurse's office for three days, if I recall correctly, before they called my bluff.

(It was several more years before I agreed to go back to summer camp, and then it was a different one, and I went with my best friend, and I enjoyed it immensely except when the horses sneezed on me).

Anyway, today I caught myself thinking, quite unselfconsciously and in earnest, "I wonder if vomiting blood would get me out of this. How can I make myself vomit blood?".

Of course, I immediately realized that it probably wouldn't be enough to get me out of teaching for the whole semester. A day, tops, unless I could keep it up with some frequency.

Vomiting on command just isn't the answer to everything, I'm afraid.

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