Thursday, July 20, 2006

Burping, farting and vomiting are effective cures for hiccups

Burping, farting, smelling the fumes of a candle or immersing your face in ice water are effective cures for hiccups. If that doesn’t work, ask someone to strangle you or jump out of a plane.

That is what I learnt when Baby had a bad case of hiccups, and she wouldn’t drink the sugared water I suggested.

“I would rather you scared the hiccups away,” she suggested.

Ever tried to scare a little girl who watches too much Cartoon Network? It’s blooming hard work, especially when the subject keeps saying of your most innovative efforts, “that’s not scary! Try something else.”

I was just about to give up on that useless exercise when she said: “Strangle me then.”

Apparently Anna (not her real name), Baby's friend from school, says getting strangled is an effective cure for hiccups.

I’m sure that’s true. Dead girls don’t have to worry about hiccups.

So I decided to do an Internet research to find effective cures that did not involve killing my only child. There hadto be another option besides attempted homicide.

There were a number of medical information sites ( that had practical advise too), but the collection of hiccup cures that caught my imagination was on a site for music animations (

The owner says he’s trying the cures listed at least once. Cures that fail his test at least once are marked off, he says.

The cures include:

1. Make yourself vomit.
2. Talk non-stop for ten seconds.
3. Scream for as long as you can.
4. Put a spoon in a glass of water; drink the water with the handle of the spoon resting on your forehead.
5. Put a knife in a glass (one made of glass) half full of water; drink all the water leaving the knife in place.
6. Don't swallow ( not related to cures above).
7. Hold your left ear with your right hand and your right ear with your left hand and pinch the lobes slightly, have a friend hold a glass of water to your mouth and drink it. (At this stage, strangling sounds like one of the easier option)
8. Jump out of a plane.

There are however some remedies the site owner says are ineffective, or involve risk of injury or death:

1. Don’t smoke a cigarette.
2. Don't ask someone to point a gun at you.
3. Don't ask someone deliver a swift punch to your stomach.

Right! And it’s okay to jump out of a plane instead?

So what’s the link to African tales?

African folktales and legends are rich with superstitions and belief systems that challenge the realistic view to life.

One of my objectives is to explore some of these beliefs in my modern tales. I would like to bring a new twist to the superstitions, or simply create modern characters with a solid grasp of modern belief systems also treat these superstitions as real.

My children's story, 10 days to make rain fit this objective really well.

Update on writing projects (10 days to make rain)

I’ve completed the additional research I needed to be able to continue with the story, so I'll start writing soon.

My original plan was to work on it in August, so I'm right on schedule.

My online writing group was very helpful with suggestions of how I could get out a corner. The basic plot is, my main character has to make rain in 10 days or lose crown, and the traditional way is to kill a pre-pubescent girl.

Main character is modern and believes in the laws that govern us now, so murder is not an option. My challenge was to help her find a way to make rain and so far I have six options.

Now all I need is time.

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