My Irish Up: Hiccups cure

Mike Corrigan

By Mike Corrigan

BN Columnist

Short of a plague of spiders in one’s underwear or a Congressional filibuster, about the worst thing that can befall a man who’s got to live through it is a fit of the hiccups, or hiccoughs, as the literate would have it. Why these things have to afflict good people I have no idea.

My most recent bout commenced when I swallowed wrong, though it may have been what was swallowed (gin) that was the larger cause. In any case, a piece of liquid weaseled in between my diaphragm and some collagen or plastic or leftover pie that somehow had gotten wedged in my pharynx and the circus began. I tried hard not to breathe at all, after the first couple of paroxysms, and kept to that stratagem for a solid five minutes before realizing there was no future in it. Scarcely had I begun to inhale before I hiccoughed and knocked the cat over. And then I swore, like this:


And there was no future in that either, or maybe in anything, and I began to not care. I decided to rise and walk, in the manner of Lazarus, but hiccoughed, and then I decided to bend over touching my nose to the table while turning my head toward Augusta and I hiccoughed, and then I tried lying supine on the floor but the cat settled in on my chest and I hiccoughed and the poor thing was flung against the wall. I was getting mighty exasperated and the cat wasn't exactly pleased.

I stumbled to the computer, which I do anyway, hiccoughs or no, and typed in “hiccup cures” on Google, but got no results because the search field had jitterbugged to “hopkjo xjfew.” Usually when I make typos, it asks if I mean “hiccoughs,” even if I am looking for information on Hipparcus or hydrogen bombs, but not this time. Eventually, I got to WikiHow where I found out what I had was also called singultus, which might have been interesting under better weather conditions. I had my choice of 50 foolproof methods, even though I needed only one that would actually work. I don’t know why, but “American Indian Method” let out a war whoop in my direction so I clicked on that but missed and ended up with “Open Mouth and Swallowing Method” and it said (you aren’t going to believe this):

1. Open your mouth and keep it open for a couple of minutes.

2. If you feel the need to swallow, do so, but try to keep your lips apart when you do.

I kind of knew they were funning me, but I tried opening my mouth, which immediately made me hiccough, but keeping it open did sort of adjust things and led to the need to gulp, if not swallow. (Try it yourself; it’ll give you hiccoughs.) I checked the instructions again, gave swallowing a shot with my mouth open and so sprained a muscle in my throat. And then I hiccoughed, painfully.

So I advanced to Drinking Method 1:

1. Fill a glass with water.

2. Bend over until you are as upside down as possible, then drink the water.

3. Don’t stop to breathe.

I read these instructions twice. Not being a gymnast, I was dubious, but I filled a glass. Then, I leaned forward and managed half a gulp, but the water kept tilting away from me and I craned and bent and chased and fell over onto the kitchen floor and knocked myself unconscious and when I came to the hiccups were gone. Had I used an actual glass instead of a plastic one I might have incurred a terrible wound.

Anyway, that’s how to cure the hiccups. For hiccoughs, you’ll have to find your own method.

Mike Corrigan also has some pretty nifty cures for warts, if you happen to have a good supply of toads on hand.

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