Especially at a time when the American fake vomit business is not what it used to be: In the 1960s, upward of 60,000 fake vomits were produced annually. These days, Fun Inc. brews up the recipe only a few times a year, making around 7,000 latex barfs annually, as tourist gift shops and joke stores look overseas for cheaper versions (though for $15 a dozen wholesale, Fun Inc.'s prank puke is still a heck of a deal).
Still, Putnam proudly pointed out, "It's the best vomit on the market."
Set your eyes on Fun Inc.'s 5-inch disc of latex and colored foam, marketed as "Whoops — The Most Disgusting Laff Getter," and savor the realism: It is amber-colored and translucent, with tiny bubbles. The texture is soft and sturdy, pliable and complex, with ridges of multihued solid chunks looking like a jagged lunar landscape. It is, the package suggests, perfect for the bathroom, refrigerator, auto seat or sidewalk.
And what other fake vomit comes with this suggestion: "Sprinkle with water to make it look more realistic"?
Fake vomit's pop-cultural significance earned it a reference on "The Simpsons" during Season 4 in the "Last Exit to Springfield" episode. Nuclear plant owner Mr. Burns shuts off power to the city. When he turns it back on, production at Fake Vomit Inc. resumes. Mechanized fake vomit machine squirts; workers rejoice.
"What is the greatest gag of all time? This is it. It is literally a gag item because people react with a sympathetic real gag," said Erick Erickson, a toy historian and former toy designer at Chicago-based Marvin Glass & Associates.
"It's as gross and vile as you can imagine. It's flawlessly convincing. You can't name one that's better."
Although fake vomit is immersed deep enough in the pop-culture zeitgeist to warrant its own Wikipedia entry, its ambiguous history exists only in tales passed around factory floors.
Read the full story (it's chunky) right over here. Just watch where you step.