The Heimlich Maneuver: Apparently There Is Something Else I Cannot Do

The Heimlich Maneuver: Apparently There Is Something Else I Cannot Do

I admit it…I’m an overachiever.

If I want something done right…I may as well do it my goddamn self.

Have you got a pen handy?  Grab a sheet of paper and write down Wednesday, December 16, 2013.

Go ahead, circle it in red on the calendar.  For it is a day that should live in infamy.

Today I realized that I couldn’t save my life if I had to…and even scarier?  Just as I suspected, I can’t depend on anyone else to do it either.

It was around eleven-thirty this morning.  Lunch had been placed in the steam tables and the masses were about to swarm in…

Wednesday is Taco/Nacho Day in the Cafe.

I grabbed a nacho chip and scooped out a taste of taco meat to sample.  Hey, someone has to make sure this crap is suitable for consumption.

As I chewed and attempted to swallow, I had a thought and just like that a piece of ground beef went down the wrong pipe.

I started coughing as I walked into the back kitchen where the new hire was washing dishes and Thelma…the hire I have known and worked with for years…was finishing up her prep for tomorrow’s spread.

My cough had worked its way into a full-blown hack.  Shit, this could be it.

My life was about to end in a kitchen at the hands of a tiny piece of 75/25 ground beef.  Fuck.

As the hack turned into a choking…Thelma (who, if you must know is deaf in one ear and can’t hear out of the other) had her back to me.

“Oh, she said…you have a dry spot…yeah, I get those sometimes too”.

Now I want to scream …NO…it’s not a dry spot you idiot…I’m flipping choking…but the words won’t come…because…well because I’m flipping choking.

I continue to hack, with my legs crossed now.  I’m hacking so hard that piss is literally squirting down my legs as tears are streaming down my cheeks.

Thelma is still unaffected.

In fact, she seems a bit perturbed.

As she heads to the cooler she shouts out…”For Christ’s sake…go get something to drink.”

She is clearly not getting it for me.

So I head to the fountain…walking gingerly, with my legs still kinda crossed because I’m still choking and the pee is still coming at a steady stream.  I fill myself up a 12 ouncer of diet pepsi and drink.

Now something feels lodged somewhere between my throat and nose area.

I grab a disposable rag…Thelma once told me the only thing those “frickin things” are good for was kleenex.  So I grabbed one and blew.

Nope.  Still choking.

The tears were still coming…but thankfully the steady stream below had ended.

I gave it one final hack.

And a tiny piece of beef flew across the kitchen.

With a raspy voice I thanked Thelma for her concern.  My life almost ended…how would she explain at the wake how she allowed me to choke to death on Taco/Nacho Wednesday…and even more importantly, how my death must have affected Chicken Strip Thursday.

“YOU were CHOKING?”  Thelma asked.  “I thought you just had a dry spot…I get those all the time, you know?”

“Why didn’t you say that?  You should have said that!”

Oh, I don’t know…probably because I was fucking choking.

Thelma looked at me and shook her head…”good thing it came up, cause I don’t know the Heimlich”.

She didn’t even know I was choking.


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