Wednesday, March 16, 2011

That time she ate poison.

Me, as a youngin'. A few years prior to poisoning myself.

If I had to give my kids one piece of advice and that was it, it would probably be this:

Don't eat unidentified and/or potentially harmful objects.

When I was a kid, I had no qualms about eating random things. If I happened upon a cracker or unwrapped candy on the ground, I'd scoop it up into my loving arms and then eat it. I did this often. As long as it was fully intact and not wet, it was edible in my book.

(No wonder why Carson is so rabid about putting things in his mouth.)

(Also, I can't believe I'm admitting this.)

I even continued to do this AFTER I ate The Poisonous Nut.

Yes, I ate something poisonous.

Let's go back, way back. It must have been 1993 or 1994. I was in 1st grade at Madison Elementary. There was this tree on the playground that produced very strange-looking nuts. They almost looked like brown clams. One day, my weird friend Liane and I found one during recess and thought it would be fun to get it to open, see what was inside. She chucked it at the concrete, she stepped on it, she tried to pry it apart with her fingers. The shell was quite sturdy, though, and try as she might, Liane couldn't get it open. So she handed it to me and went on to some other immature playground dalliance.

I, however, was not so easily deterred. I was gonna get that durned thing open like my life depended on it. I was certain there was a magical pearl inside. Or maybe a small furry creature. I had to know. Unfortunately, the teacher came out and blew her whistle, signaling the end of recess. I pocketed the shell and went back to class.

Fast-forward to the end of the day. My twin brother Josh and I headed home after a tiring day of spelling and subtraction facts. I showed him my treasure and he, too, was intrigued. "Let's try to get it open!" he said. Just as I hoped. Josh is a mastermind at this kind of thing, so I knew it'd be open in no time.

We tried a variety of tactics but still couldn't get it open. Finally, I came up with a genius idea -- run it over with the wagon. It was a wooden wagon, painted red, that our great-aunt had given us as a birthday gift a few years before. It was very heavy, so I was sure it would do the trick. I carefully placed the nut on the back porch and then we pulled the great wagon over the shell, cracking it neatly in two.

I ran to the spot to inspect the contained treasure. To my dismay, it was only a nut. White, and about the size of a pea. I looked at it briefly. And then, in a moment of sheer stupidity, I put the nut into my mouth.

It was horrible.

(I'm actually experiencing some mild nausea while typing this part. It was THAT BAD.)

The taste was so vile and bitter. I ran inside and threw the fridge open, frantically searching the shelves for anything -- ANYTHING! -- to wash this awfulness out of my unsuspecting mouth. I beheld a large pitcher full of red Kool-Aid. I tipped it up and swigged a few large gulps. Relief. The taste lingered, but was eventually forgotten.

Until the next morning.

I woke feeling slightly sick. My dad made me a large bowl of oatmeal with all the fixin's -- raisins, cinnamon, syrup ... I took one bite and took off running. Threw up.

Then, I threw up again. And again. And again.

And after what felt like a dozen more times, I stopped. I was the sickest I've ever been.

I don't know how or why it came up, but I eventually confessed to eating a weird nut the previous day. My mom called the school and was informed the nut I had eaten was likely POISONOUS.

Further research (AKA Google) shows it was the nut of a yellow oleander. Yep: notoriously poisonous.

(Question, Madison Elementary: Why did you have a poisonous tree on an elementary school playground?!?)

So, I had. It took a day to rid myself of the poison and then I was back to my normal, crap-eating self.

Moral of the story: If you find a nut and can't get it open, it's probably meant to stay closed. And Kool-Aid is not a very good antidote.

Or maybe it is, since I lived to tell the tale.


  1. hahaha, the school must have thought, "the kids could never open those shells...." hahaha. nice story! I ate a cricket when I was younger, my mom found it in my mouth and just about passed out. I wasn't even 1 yet.

  2. I saw your picture and at first thought you were talking about Bubby!! You two look just alike and of course Smush looks like both of you. Your poor hubby, it doesn't look like he had much to do with your babies, does it???

  3. When CP and I were kids, we dared each other to eat Gravy Train. It wasn't all that bad.

  4. I can't believe your school had an oleander tree, either! Your poor mama! Although I gotta give it to you and your brother for being clever enough to get it open!

  5. @Serena, Haha! At least Gravy Train isn't poison.

  6. Yikes! Hope my kids never eat poison. I also thought that pic was of Bubby. ha!

  7. ok that photo of you is really adorable.

    i'm glad you survived the poisonous nut.

  8. We had one of those trees at my school too! At least I think it was the same tree, I remember trying to get the pod thingy open but never could. You poor thing! That sounds awful! Guess I should be lucky I didn't have a brother to open mine with! LOL Cute pic!


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