Two Hiccups and Call Me in the Morning

I love beer, which seems like a great way to start this off. The only thing I love more than beer is drinking a beer with my friend Laura Marrich. Recently we met up at the Anodyne, a favorite haunt for the Alibi guys and gals, and while we were solving the problems of the world with the tools of Amstel and Stella firmly in our grasp, Laura got the hiccups. We tried everything to rid her of her distress, but to no avail. Eventually they just went away, but it brought up the age-old question: What do you do to get rid of the hiccups? And moreover, where do they come from?

Cecil Adams, who writes The Straight Dope, has a blog about this on his site:

“Here's what we know. When you hiccup, your diaphragm and nearby muscles convulse, causing you to briefly gulp air. Within 35 milliseconds the glottis (the opening at the top of the air passage) slams shut, producing the characteristic "hic."

He goes on to say that drinking a lot of carbonated beverages may induce hiccups, especially if you drink them too fast, and that getting excited too quickly or even more serious conditions like epilepsy may cause them.

After extensive Googling, I learned that many expert and non-expert opinions held the same collective ideas about the origin of hiccups, and that is that they are caused from a second of miscommunication, or no communication at all, between the diaphragm and the epiglottis.

While unnerving and seemingly annoying to those around you, they won’t kill you, and can be cured. There is no one cure for the hiccups, but different sites on the web had conventional and well-known methods that seem to be effective, and some methods that were not only ineffective, but just plain silly; perhaps laughing about them may prove a cure for your next set of the hiccups.

Here is my top ten list of some things to try:

• Fart, as loud as you possibly can. Apparently this helps and I would just really like to see someone try it. Once you get over the hiccups, you can work on the embarrassment of what you have just done…in public.

• Say “pineapple” very loud. This is one I have never personally tried, but the other night at the Anodyne, I would have gotten a real kick if Laura had just suddenly burst out with “pineapple!”

• Scream for as long as you can. This is supposed to push out the trapped air and possibly scare off any potential stalkers in the immediate area.

• Stand on your head, again, very entertaining to those around you and possibly helpful.

• Make yourself gag by grasping your tongue between your thumb and forefinger. If you are on a date, this could be a real icebreaker.

• Okay now seriously, here is one that always works for me: Put some paper towel over a glass of water with no ice and drink the water through the paper towel. The act of sucking the water through the towel will help to get rid of that excess air in your diaphragm.

• Try to swallow air, big gulps of air. This forces the air trapped in its bubble to get pushed out; thus causing hiccups to dispel.

• Take a tablespoon of sugar, swallow it, then drink a glass of water with no ice.

• Make out with a really good looking guy. I don’t really know if it works, but it is a great excuse to get a little action in an otherwise embarrassing situation.

• Last but not least, another tried and true method for me, just drink a lot of water with no ice.

Look, here is the bottom line. No method ever seems to work twice, and no method seems to work for the person you recommend it to, even though it may have worked for you. Hiccups are, in my opinion, one of those little jokes the body likes to play on you, so as to remind you, you are not the one actually in control; kind of like diarrhea.

If you would like to get more information on hiccups check out this site, or this one, and best of luck to you.