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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

My mother lied to me: Hiccups do not make you one inch taller

Isabelle Wang

Somehow, hiccups have a way of surfacing at the worst possible moments — say, during a test or in the middle of a presentation. Your speaking is interrupted by the shallow “hics,” often accompanied by  a stomachache, exhaustion and an overall feeling of suffering. 

For me, hiccups have always been triggered when I laugh too much, a common occurrence throughout my childhood and now. When hiccups, I would try every remedy I could find on the internet — drinking water upside down, holding my breath or eating sugar — and despite all of my efforts, I  still suffered from the enormously noisy spasm of my diaphragm every four seconds. 

My mother, in her infinite wisdom, constantly discouraged me from trying these useless remedies. Instead, from a young age, she taught me to stick them out, always telling me, “Hiccups are a sign that you’re growing taller.” 

Woah, back up there. “What??,” you’re thinking. “How could she believe such utter nonsense?” From the ripe old age of 4, a part of me did suspect this was complete nonsense; however, she continued to tell  lies for over a decade. 

When I was younger, it seemed like a relatively sound argument to me. My mom being, you know, my mother, meant I was inclined to obediently agree with her revolutionary scientific discovery as the reason for my height.

Her thinking went along these lines: young me got hiccups and was growing taller; therefore, the hiccups seemed to be the most definite cause of my growth. Alas, as I learned years later, correlation is not causation.

But thinking back now, my mother did not ACTUALLY believe hiccups make you taller. She was simply trying to pull my leg. Eventually, it became an inside joke in our family.

Despite the fact that I am now (slightly) older and have stopped growing taller, I always chuckle whenever my hiccups return. The recurring, consistent hics make me think of my mom’s voice in my head, brainwashing me with thoughts of promised growth as a reward for my hours of misery. 

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