Drinking is something that you fancy yourself to be pretty good at. Ever since those memorable days of sucking at your mother’s teat, or the nipple of a bottle, or the swollen udder of the family goat, you’ve more or less mastered the art of consuming liquids. Solids are another story, of course. The golf-ball-sized hunk of sirloin steak that lodged itself in your throat during your dinner date with the Pope certainly didn’t make for your proudest moment. Liquids, on the other hand, you’re fully licensed to imbibe.
Which is why it’s so surprising when both physics and your rebellious anatomy gang up to derail your thirst-quenching plans.
Maybe you’ve just finished eating a spicy burrito. Maybe you’ve just completed a marathon. Maybe you’ve just barely escaped a grisly death by way of a hungry tiger. Whatever the predicament, you’re parched. And what better way to rectify this situation than to take a nice long sip of ice-cold, sparkling-clear, groin-grabbingly delicious water.
So you pour a glass of the delectable crystal nectar (from a Brita filter, of course, because you’re classy), and slowly bring the rim up to your lips, already anticipating how awesome this is going to be and how hydrated you’re about to become. No more saggy skin flaps for you!
But then something goes terribly wrong. True, your mouth is now full of icy, refreshing goodness, but the fun stops there. It’s not coursing down the esophagus to your eagerly awaiting stomach. The ticker-tape parade route set up within your bowels in watery anticipation has instead become a desolate wasteland. Your sphincter has torn down the decorations. Your duodenum has popped the balloons. The microscopic bacteria have punched angry holes in their microscopic hats.
For the coursing river has taken a detour. Instead of surging directly into Esophagusville, the deluge has instead decided take the pipe less traveled into the treacherous frontier known as Trachea Town. Here, it meets a harsh world where it has no business vacationing, full of dangerous organs that were expecting the income of air, rather than the terrifying certainty of a watery death.
On the outside, of course, there is a much graver situation developing: complete and utter humiliation. You cough. You sputter. Your eyes tear up, giving off the amusing impression that said beverage is attempting to escape through whatever facial orifices it can find. You gasp for air. You desperately want to ask for some water to wash it all down, but this seems fairly counter-intuitive. You wonder, as you begin to lose consciousness, what you did to deserve this whole mess in the first place. You consider that maybe you shouldn’t have taunted that tiger with two handfuls of cheeseburgers and a plush gazelle.
At last, a passage opens, and you finally manage to choke out that one key phrase that absolves you from all fault or accountability. “Wrong pipe!” you yell, spraying your colleagues with spittle. They nod with looks of sympathy, or, more likely, pity, as you towel yourself off and run upstairs to change your clothes, which have been copiously drooled upon.
So if you want to suck, choke on water. It may not be the most glamorous way to die, but it will most definitely be among the stupidest.