Since I mentioned getting my tongue stuck in a bottle yesterday, I thought I’d tell the story today. You know, in case you all we wondering, how the hell does she get her tongue stuck in a bottle? Buckle in, little babies. I’ll tell you all about it.
Small disclaimer: This was not a recent event, though I sincerely doubt anyone would be surprised if it happened this morning.
I’ll set the scene. I was ten-ish, circa 1994. We were playing a softball game during a typical Arkansas summer, meaning that it was no less than 794 degrees, plus the humidity that literally strangles you while you’re swatting at mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds. I was never a big kid by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly not by softball standards. I also competed gymnastics for fifteen years, so I was, by and large, both the shortest and the tiniest person on the team. In the Little League World Series, the announcers would have never called me a “slugger.” Or “husky.”
I would be “wiry.” Or “lanky.”
Or just “awkward”, but you know, they probably wouldn’t say that on air.
After finishing the top of an inning, I left my post at second base and dragged myself into the dugout. We had those soft, wormy, hang-around-your-neck thingys soaking in an alcohol/Gatorade-smelling mixture (which is now 100% frowned upon because it’s sort of toxic, I think?, but idk and idc, it worked). We had sweating bottles of water sitting in a cooler of half-melted ice and a small, orange tub filled with lemon-lime Gatorade.
I situated myself with the toxic cooling worm around my neck, and I poured myself a little Dixie cup of Gatorade. Glove in my lap, I sat on there on the wooden dugout bench with chipping paint, quiet and still, not moving side to side because the two-by-four that comprised the bench was unfinished and if you weren’t careful, you’d end up with an ass full of green splinters. I sat and sipped my Gatorade, arms and legs gritty from a mixture of sweat and dust.
Before I knew it, the Gatorade was gone. My mom had told me not to rely solely on Gatorade or I’d die a horrible death (or something like that, but I’m pretty sure that’s how I interpreted it), so I reached into the half-melted ice cooler for a bottle of water. As I was unscrewing the top, the third out came around and it was time to go back on the field.
I was hot and I was tired, and I just knew I needed all that water. I had a VERY small window of time to pound that bottle, and drink fast I did. I murdered that bottle of water (little did I know, those skills would come in handy eight years alter). I could live to be a hundred years old, and I don’t know that water would ever taste that good to me again.
In my blinding cloud of hydration lust, I forgot a basic scientific fact. And it had something to do with suction. Because apparently, when you are sucking and squeezing all of the air out of a vacuum-y bottle, it will by nature suck something back in.
That something was my ten year old tongue.
(*author’s note #1: y’all, I swear, I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.)
(*author’s note #2: I’ve tried my damnedest to find a picture of someone with their tongue stuck in a bottle on Google Images, but it’s just a lot of college girls licking Bud Light bottles. No innocent babygirls who legitimately, accidentally got their tongues stuck in a water bottle during a fit of hydration fever.)
I immediately realize what has happened. My tongue is stuck. In fact, if I cross my eyes, I can see a little pink spot inside the neck of the bottle.
AND. I. FLIP. OUT.
My eyes widen, my heart rate jumps, my breathing labors, my arms fly out to the side, and I start mumbling. I run out to my dad, who was the first base coach, as he is coming in from the field, arms flying to my sides like a deranged emu, dangling water bottle attached to my face, swinging from one side of my face to the other.
(*author’s note #3: I wish I could draw a Paint picture to really illustrate the sheer ludicrous insanity of this particular moment of my life. I really do. It’s fantastic.)
Dad just stares at me. Literally just stares. I think the blank stare was hiding his pants-shitting terror.
And he proceeds to reach up, grab the bottle, and yank.
And subsequently yanked my tongue clean out of my face.
(*author’s note #4: well, that’s what it felt like)
Apparently, Dad skipped school on the day suction and physics were explained. And so did the majority of the parents in the stands. It took a few minutes (and some very puzzled umpires) to uncork my tongue from the bottle. Eventually, my friend Kristen’s mother figured out that if she pierced the bottle with a pocket knife, the pressure would equalize and release my tongue from its tight plastic prison. Thank God she didn’t skip class on suction day, or else I’d be an almost thirty-three year old woman with a water bottle birthmark.
At that point, though, the damage had already been done. My tongue had been trapped in the neck of that bottle for a number of minutes, sustaining trauma every time some well-meaning parent decided he could yank it out of my mouth if he just pulled hard enough.
For three days afterward, I had a black-ringed bruise around my swollen tongue.
Remember Flick from Christmas Story after he got his tongue unstuck?
Basically a memoir.
originally published: September 15, 2010