Sunday, 19 September 2010

Tongue Piercing and Vague, Unintentional Cannibalism

I wrote and performed this in 2004. It's the first Stand Up Columnist piece ever.

Tongue Piercing and Vague, Unintentional Cannibalism
by the Stand Up Columnist

I bit through my tongue.

I did. I was watching tv and eating a tv dinner (well, I thought they went together and all...) and I was even being a total slacker and using a plastic fork so I wouldn't have to wash up. I hate injuring myself alone because it's like...what do you do? The panicky feeling is there but there's no one there to freak out with you so you have to the calm one and the panic-head simultaneously to keep yourself company and keep yourself sane. But I'm going down the road to tangent hell so I'll get back to my tongue.

I was eating a beef and dumpling and carrot and gravy tv dinner, which was absolutely gorgeous, and then suddenly I became a little more of a carnivore than I intended to be.

It was over fast. One minute my tongue was working in harmony with my teeth and jaw and other foody parts like my hand and the fork (and lets not forget the food itself...can't assume it was some kind of mutiny, now). The next minute there was a sickening, bone-conducted sound in my left ear of a muffled crunch.

Fear not, dear reader, I did not bite off more than I could chew. However, I did have that instant shock feeling of 'Oh, SHIT...I have just done a bad, bad thing.'

You know that feeling?

It's creepy. It was total detachment. Well…nearly total detachment.

A million things run through my mind. I've just bit through my tongue. Have I bit anything off? Ow! Ow! I will not be able to enjoy the rest of my meal!!! (Yeah, the glutton in me said that one. Then the deadly sin of vanity took over.) I will have a tongue deformed forever more! What will future partners think, should I ever somehow be torn asunder from this reputedly everlasting relationship I am currently in? What will my current girlfriend say when she gets home from work any minute? Is this my karmic retribution for going cold turkey (well, actually cold tuna) after 4 years of being vegetarian? Should I go look in the mirror? Should I expect great pools of blood?

The fact that there were actually not great pools of blood was a bit scarier than if there had been...I finally went to the mirror and had a look. Other than 2 spots of blood above and below, there wasn't much to see. The side of my tongue did not look 'right' but I was afraid to investigate too closely in case I discovered something was hanging by a thread.

Feeling queasy yet? Hope not. Hope you can cope with a little more gore. (Suddenly I recall the former vice president. Whatever happened to him?*)

So I go get some disinfectant mouthwash and gargle with it for upwards of 10 minutes, just to be on the safe side. Then, while the panicked half of me was still totally panicking, the calm half of me suddenly remembered something. I knew a guy a few years ago who told the story of a really bad fight he got into in school once. He had a disagreement with some friends, and it escalated into violence fairly quickly. He gave as good as he got, but he was punched in the mouth a lot, and after he started spitting lots of blood, the other guys laid off a bit. They realised he'd cut his tongue to ribbons. The guys all went to see the PE teacher, who took a look and said 'Welp...your tongue’s in four pieces but, uh, leave it alone and it'll grow back in a few days.' And it did. Tongues heal. Spit cures.

I realised I was probably gonna be ok. So even though there is a puncture wound going through the side of my tongue, and it's still pretty evident when you look at it that this is the case, it's feeling a lot better.

I finished my meal by getting a plastic knife and cutting up the whole thing until it was a kind of goulash. Then I slurped it. My girlfriend was suitably shocked when she came home, but glad I was ok.

I told the ordeal to some of my friends today and the verdict was that it was kind of like having a homemade pierced tongue. Then I remembered that tongue piercings can heal up quickly, thus adding validity to the story of old. So now I'm considering doing that.** Um, minus the homemade bit.

*This was actually pre Inconvenient Truth. Dude’s a busy bee now.

**I never did it. I don’t like things clacking against my teeth.

April 2004

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