by David High
Most people will readily tell you they know very little about polo, the European Stock Market or say Advanced Calculus, but there is not one in a hundred – no, make that one in a thousand – people who would admit to not knowing a sure-fire way to cure the hiccups. The problem is that the hiccups are never gotten rid of until they’re darned good and ready. They have a kind of mother-in-law quality in that way.
Even the shyest most unassuming people will come out of the woodwork to demand that you try their never-fail procedure to cure you of the hiccoughs, as some call it. Don’t worry, they say confidently. It works every time. “Just hold a cold towel to the back of your neck while you jump up and down counting to a hundred by fives.” Then, when it inevitably doesn’t work, they blame you for not doing it the right way.
Over the years I have tried more than my fair share of cures. “Roll down a long stretch of inclined lawn snatching a mouthful of grass each time your face is downward,” they instruct.” Think of all the bald men you know while spinning counter clockwise in a closet,” another will suggest. “Do the dishes, take out the trash and clean the bathroom while whistling Dixie,” my ex-wife (scientific name: Hairstreakus Obnoxious) told me one time. Drink a shot of rum, then, with your two feet together hop up a flight of stairs while singing any Barry Manilow song.
That last one is a joke. I just made it up. Which brings up an important point and a word of warning: I think a lot of these so-called remedies are just made up by people who want to see if you will actually do it. I’m guilty of that myself and I apologize to my best friend Ralph for making him do the rum and Barry Manilow cure.
Getting back to my point, whatever that was. I have tried some pretty outlandish cures myself and feel lucky to have escaped any serious injuries, pulled muscles or food poisoning. But in the end it’s always the same: Just as the curer says, “See I told you it would work,” I heave forward with the biggest of all hiccups to end his triumphant celebration.
The funniest one of all that I have witnessed, long ago, was when a co-worker in the office next to mine tried a doctor’s cure of breathing into a paper bag while holding it over his mouth and nose (and, in his case his eyes as well), like a gas mask. He subjected himself to this treatment for several minutes, while he walked around his desk to keep from getting bored. When he finally removed the bag, he found himself the subject of the silent, mystified scrutiny of his boss, who had already gathered corroborating witnesses from another office. He was, from that day on, known simply as Bags.
There is one valuable piece of information hidden in all this, and that is if you do find that one person in a thousand who says they have no cure, he or she will be the most honest person you’re likely to ever meet. Make them a friend for life.