It’s something like a pause or a skip or a bump in the road. That’s what this late post is, a hiccup.

I’ve been having a few issues with my automatic site updates lately, and I decided to get some professional programming help, which is taking longer than I had anticipated. That’s why I missed posting this blog last Monday.

Did you notice the missing post? Was it on your mind? Or did its delay not occur to you until today? In any case, I’m glad you’re reading it now. I look forward to posting on Mondays and am delighted by your comments and emails.

Now, back to hiccup, which is a fascinating word.

In the medical world it’s called a synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (SDF), or singultus, from the Latin singult, “the act of catching one’s breath while sobbing.” I love that, the story told by a single word. I picture a Roman wife upon hearing news of her husband’s death in some far-flung battlefield, sobbing, struggling to catch her breath, desperate to breathe through the tragedy, hiccupping in deep inhalation.

The physical act of hiccuping is thought to be a remnant of our primeval amphibian breathing strategy. Can you see the tadpoles gasping for air as they squiggle from one evaporating pool to the next?

Apparently, the fetus hiccups inside the womb, the watery world of the tadpole recreated millions of years later in the developing respiration of the human child. In fact, preemies hiccup at an alarming rate as they adjust to their newly forming bodies and the strangeness of Earth’s atmosphere.

Other competing theories of why we hiccup have recently surfaced and suggest the reflexive burp is a way for infants to coordinate suckling milk and breathing at the same time, allowing the nursing child to expel air bubbles from the stomach without letting go of the breast. This idea gets some credence from the fact that only mammals hiccup and the action is common in infants and becomes increasingly less common as we get older…unless we’ve been drinking to excess.

Hmm? Does drinking return us to some infantile or perhaps even a prehistoric state?

Well, next time you’re out bar-hopping on a Saturday night or attending a cocktail party (another interesting term, don’t you think, cocktail party?), ask yourself if the trappings of civilization begin to fall away as the night of drinking progresses.

And if someone starts hiccuping excessively next to you, make sure your breast isn’t within reach!





4 Responses to Hiccup

  1. Dave McCall says:

    Hey Frank, I have been out of the loop lately but, love this post, funny and informative. I have often pondered the reason why we humans hicup but, never delved into the scientific theory. As for the correlation with heavy drinking I add that most people seem to talk more, laugh more and gulp faster as the drinking continues. All these actions may induce air into the gut. In extreme cases some people’s ears (know it all types) litterally fall off their heads when they get too boozed up, rendering them deaf to all sound aside from their own bellowing voices.The larger holes in their head where their ears once lived may allow additional hicup inducing air into their bodees….Love to all, Dave

    • fz says:

      Hey Dave,

      Great to hear from you and read your funny comment. I’ve been in the company of such drinkers myself, and I know exactly what you mean. I sent you an email of my fishing excursion today. Pretty cool!


  2. Mary Mallik says:

    Hi Frank, had to smile at your opportune Monday posting, all about babies and breast feeding! Perhaps you were somehow on my wavelength as I have just become a grandmother for the first time. My son Peter and Sarah had a baby girl, Freya, last Wednesday. Born on the 8th. of the 8th. – how auspicious is that! Love to you and Annette, Mary

    • fz says:

      Hello Mary,

      Well, congratulations! A new baby downunder…fantastic! Yes, 8-8 sounds very lucky to me. Please give Peter and Sarah our very best. I like the name very much as well. I’ll be sure to let Mary and Netty know.

      Thanks for your comment and all best wishes.

      Cheers, Frank

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