now clickable

Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.


Fri 29

Of Poo, And Such

Max Well, that was good timing. No sooner had I posted a blog about my irrepressible zest for life than the rumblings began. At first I just thought I was hungry. It was dinner time, so I popped down the street and bought myself a hamburger and chips. It was good. It was tasty. And a couple of hours later, it began an emergency evacuation.

I don’t remember having had gastro before. And I’m pretty sure that I would remember this. This was the single most disgusting experience of my life. That’s why I feel compelled to share it with you. Not because I think you want to know. God, no. If you’ve got any sense at all, you’ll walk away right now, sit in the corner, plug your ears with your fingers, and shout, “La la la la!” until I’ve stopped talking. No, this isn’t for your benefit; this is because I went through such a colossal life-changing experience that I need to talk about it to believe it really happened.

Not too long ago, I was talking to a friend about colonic irrigation—long story—and she mentioned that the average person carries around four pounds of compacted fecal matter. Yeah, sorry, now you’ll never be able to not know that again, either. Well, on the positive side, I am fairly confident that I am no longer one of those people.

One thing I found particularly remarkable was how big my stomach must be. I mean, just judging from the available evidence, I must be usually carrying around a shopping bag’s worth of food and associated juices in there. Well, mostly juices. But still. Unless it was expanding on exit, I just don’t see how everything could fit.

Jen and Fin both got gastro as well, but less spectacularly. In fact, Fin’s hardly seemed to bother her: she had a couple of yucks, then got on with business. I suppose when you’re a baby, fluids periodically rushing out of your body without your permission is just part of your daily routine. No need to write a blog about it.

But me, I have a whole new appreciation for the human body. No, wait, “appreciation” isn’t the right word. Fear. That’s what I meant. I’ve been reminded that I’m not completely in charge of this thing; that, under certain circumstances, something else is going to take over the controls for a while. And that’s an alarming idea. Although, boy: what a show!


This is where site members post comments. If you're not a member, you can join here. There are all kinds of benefits, including moral superiority!

Mincetro (#584)

Quote: "This isn't skiing"
Posted: 4766 days ago

Now you're a REAL blogger!

On a more serious note - Gastro sucks alot :(

Yenzo (#829)

Location: Secret underwater pyramid base in the Pacific
Quote: "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe (Carl Sagan)"
Posted: 4766 days ago

Dude, seriously. Lemme guess: You heard about Palahniuk making people faint with a story about intestines and you just couldn't let him have this victory for him alone, right? :->
Heaven knows how many of your readers will find themselves waking up with their face on the keyboard, the Y key sticking out of their nostril when they lift their head. Shame on you. ;-)

But go on, think a little further: All those feces inside you produce gases, don't they? How about the thought that anytime you walk along the street you carry inside you several bubbles of highly explosive gases? And, more disturbingly, all the other people on the street have those things inside them as well?

The thought of a finite lifespan doesn't seem so scary anymore now, does it?

Ben Turner (#922)

Location: Canberra, Australia
Quote: "I have nothing to say on that matter, unless it happens to benefit me to say something."
Posted: 4766 days ago

Max, I think you mean fecal matter. Fetal matter is what you carry around when you're going to have a baby. You've got baby on the brain still :)

Machine Man subscriber Max

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "I'm my number one fan!"
Posted: 4766 days ago

Heh, you're absolutely right. What a shocking typo. Fixed!

Henry T. Monkeypimpenstein (#1212)

Location: Wellington, NZ
Quote: "Monkeypimp: Geeky enough to use his lame NS forum name here too."
Posted: 4766 days ago

Congrats, you've flushed out your system nicely. Did you check to make sure no vital organs came out too?

Rod McBride (#688)

Location: Gardner, KS
Quote: ""
Posted: 4766 days ago

Yeah, you'll remember it. When I was 19, I was served under-cooked duck in a Chinese restaurant. Never having had Peking Duck before, I didn't know it wasn't supposed to be pink. The waiter seemed to think it was normal as he wrapped it in wontons at the table, and I knew various slow-cook methods such as smoking often leave poultry looking less done than it really is.

The bummer is, duck is delicious medium rare. I'd totally eat it that way again except for the night I spent on the toilet, puking into the trash can, shaking with fever and wondering if you can actually die from salmonella...

Jeffrey (#2286)

Location: Right here
Quote: "Mathematics is a powerful language. Just look at how mathematicians destroyed the housing market."
Posted: 4766 days ago

Thanks for that. I was so about to eat breakfast but I think I'm going to pass now lol.

SilverCloud (#2038)

Quote: "Fortune Favors the Brave"
Posted: 4766 days ago

I hope you seriously took this lesson to heart.
You (all humans) die from the colon out and from the feet up.
One good flush DOES NOT fix the problem..Average pounds of old crusty fecal matter is 5-15 lbs. per person. Want to truly
be clean and healthy do colonic's and enemas. But first have your eyes photographed by a Doctor that practices Iridology.
Your Iris reflects the health of your organs and much more.
Your eyes are the windows of your soul and your internal body.
Keep it clean Darlin, we want you around for as long as you can take it.

shabooty (#637)

Location: D.C./V.A/M.D.
Quote: "I will shake your foundation. I will shake the f**cking rafters. Nobody'll be the same -Danny Bonaduce ....& go visit my blog @:"
Posted: 4766 days ago

this reminds of many a porn-stars who now a days have been using bleach cream to bleach their rectums -- to get the brown hue out --- apparently when they are doing 'back door' films they want to look nice back there...

Jamesy (#2703)

Location: New Lanark, Scotland, UK
Quote: "Infinite Vengeance of The DEN, that's me that is :P"
Posted: 4766 days ago

Well as Granny used to say, better out than in. Or was that my pep talk about sexuality ?
*consults Granny via the Ouija*
Hope you & yours get better soon. Thanks very much too for , it's a real h00t.

spinne (#427)

Quote: "I'm not here to cock around."
Posted: 4766 days ago

Is it bad that, upon seeing the subject line in my inbox this morning, my first thought was something like, "Hey, maybe Adam's got some new samples for me!"

Science is fun!

Monkeywright (#1732)

Location: Los Angeles, Californi-YARGH!
Quote: ""China is Here?" I don't even know what the hell that means! - PS - visit scenic"
Posted: 4766 days ago

What, no photos?

I'm going to the doctor today to ask about the fetal matter. I'm concerned I have an unborn conjoined twin...ah, nevermind. I think enough people will bust yer chops about this one today. "OOhhh the fancy writer made a typo!". Heh.

Adrienne (#2545)

Location: Chicago
Quote: "Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy marshmallows, and that's pretty much the same thing."
Posted: 4766 days ago




austin (#2462)

Location: rhode island
Quote: "hmmm...bleh..."
Posted: 4766 days ago

Haha. Thanks for sharing that with us Max.

Richard (#2051)

Location: Boulder, CO
Quote: "...I may not like you, but because some town in Switzerland says so, you have rights!"
Posted: 4765 days ago

I enjoyed that little story, really I did. Reminds me of a night I had with some fried crawfish when I was on vacation in Louisiana.

Stryde Tamashii (#2617)

Location: South Australia
Quote: "there's 2050 members on this site yet im #2617???, stick to your day job max XD"
Posted: 4765 days ago

Bahaha...this reminds me of my Gastro Blog. dont ask why i have one.
well as long as your brain didnt drop out of your ass then theres nothing to worry about.
-plucks a 'y' key out of nostril.-

David (#1848)

Location: Texas
Quote: "Delighted!"
Posted: 4765 days ago

Since we all know you are not prone to hyperbole, Max, it must have been truly spectacular, at times. That's about as much about your scat as I'd like to know about, for awhile, so I hope you are on a more even keel now.

Queen Eve (#460)

Location: Dimensions at
Quote: "Sanity is a gift; given at birth, lessened by maturity, and gone from us by the age of reason. --Kestral Lei"
Posted: 4765 days ago

I havent a clue what gastro means, at least not to you. But Im slightly surprised that you had never in your life, until that day, ever experienced the joy of a stomach bug.

And I hope that you wont experience it again. Though now that you have a kid... expect it. Especially when the little one starts school.

Joseph (#1825)

Location: Jeffersonville, Indiana, USA
Quote: "With a gun barrel between your teeth, you speak only in vowels."
Posted: 4765 days ago

Seriously... A burger place called Gastro and you ate it thinking nothing of slider side effects. Whish Gastro is derived from acient greek Gastros meaning Stomach.

Oh, by the way... "La, La, La, La, I'm not listening to you, La, La, La."

Joseph (#1825)

Location: Jeffersonville, Indiana, USA
Quote: "With a gun barrel between your teeth, you speak only in vowels."
Posted: 4765 days ago

Ok nevermind... I can't read. Inflicts pain on self for the mere act of stupidity of typing and posting before thinking.

Christopher Liakos (#1814)

Location: Tampa, Florida USA
Quote: "If you do not be quiet this instant, a garden gnome shall be forcibly inserted in your posterior."
Posted: 4765 days ago

Welcome to the wonderful world of gastro! Cheers! I'm an idiot and I get it regularly because I don't seem to investigate the food I'm eating. The fun thing about gastro is that those who have had it are the only ones who understand what I mean when I say that going to the bathroom can be a religious experience... Have a nice day! hahaha

Celeste (#2590)

Location: St.L. MO, USA
Quote: "You can't child-proof the world, so world-proof the child."
Posted: 4764 days ago

Well, Max, Having got that out of your system, you can see the importance of being cleaned out regularly. However, the colonics I usually see recommended have complex dietary rituals and anema sort of procedures that I don't find appealing, and seem to me strikingly unnatural. The fact is, the reason why modern human beings carry around so much excess fecal matter is we don't eat enough fiber and don't drink enough water. There are simpler ways to keep yourself "cleaned out" - Drink enough water, eat more fruits, vegaltables and whole grains, and eat less processed foods. If you really feel that a "cleaning out" is necessary, a cup or two of cayenne tea, or any meal containing lots of hot peppers, should really do the trick (oh, and make sure you drink lots of water with that!)

My father remembers as a child that his mother would mention occassionally that she needed to be "cleaned out" and would sit down and eat an -entire- jar of pickled peppers, the little yellow ones, -with tears running down her face-and sometime afterwards spend an extended amount of time in the outhouse. It seemed to do her a world of good. She was still taking the stairs two at a time at till she was 75, and lived to be 84.

Machine Man subscriber Jeff (#787)

Location: Cleveland, OH
Quote: "Give a man a match and he'll stay warm for the rest of the day; Set a man on fire and he'll stay warm for the rest of his life."
Posted: 4764 days ago

Never before have I heard such a hilarious description of "gastro" before! You've really got a way with words.

Brandi (#2711)

Location: California
Quote: "I'll give you five bucks if you can read my mind right now."
Posted: 4763 days ago

That had to be an... entertaining mess. I can't say I want to sympathize on this one. Opened my junk mail, and there's 'Of Poo, and Such.' I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it, but I did. And now I must congratulate you. If you can make something as gruesome as that into something even mildly entertaining (when the second choice is reading up on the Constitution for my government class, I'm starting to think it's not entirely your catchy prose) then you are, indeed, a writer.

Coley (#2323)

Location: USA
Quote: "I was walking home one night and a guy hammering on a roof called me a paranoid little weirdo. In morse code"
Posted: 4763 days ago

ewww ^_^

shabooty (#637)

Location: D.C./V.A/M.D.
Quote: "I will shake your foundation. I will shake the f**cking rafters. Nobody'll be the same -Danny Bonaduce ....& go visit my blog @:"
Posted: 4763 days ago

dirty sanchez, anyone?

Leo (#2722)

Location: New Castle, De
Posted: 4762 days ago

This was the funniest post I've read this week!!
Thanks so much for sharing...even though you could have kept it to yourself.

Queen Eve (#460)

Location: Dimensions at
Quote: "Sanity is a gift; given at birth, lessened by maturity, and gone from us by the age of reason. --Kestral Lei"
Posted: 4757 days ago

Im sorry. Im still baffled how a grown man couldve never had a bad case of gas, cramps, and diarrhea before. If thats what it meant by gastro. Its not a term Ive ever heard used before. At least, not in this sense.

Is that lingo for food poisoning, or just a bad case of digestion in general?

Kit (#850)

Location: UK
Posted: 4755 days ago

*takes a cold shower*

Ralf Plattfaut (#2482)

Posted: 4754 days ago

hey max!
News again: Amazon sended a fresh copy of the german Chefsache! Seems, that the book is out!
Hope its good,

Machine Man subscriber Max

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Quote: "I'm my number one fan!"
Posted: 4753 days ago

Gastro is an affectionate name for "gastroenteritis." And it's not that I've never had a bad case of vomiting, cramps, and diarrhoea before. It's that I've never had all three simultaneously.

What's the opposite of synergy? I think I just experienced the definition.

Dan (#2751)

Location: North Carolina
Posted: 4735 days ago

Hi everyone. Try chron's disease. Imagine gastro everyday of your life. But you learn to live with it and go on. Only thing is, when out in public, you have to make sure where the closest latrine is otherwise, you are going to have a mess to clean up. lol. Remind me to tell you about the KFC Incident some day. Kinda graphic but funny.

Comments are now closed for this post.

Built on Blosxom