Here's a snippet from my print column today, which is in turn a reworking/reaction/recycling of pieces published here. At this rate, I may never have to write anything original again. (I know, I know, when is the last time I ever wrote anything original, you ask. I know you're out there; I can hear you breathing.)
My wife and I disagree on the effectiveness of the universal sign for choking. She believes that placing both hands to your throat is appropriate and easily understood.
I do not. It could decrease airflow to the lungs and make the choking worse. I argue that a person instinctively pounds on his chest when choking, and that this is a better signal.
The debate began at a local restaurant a few years ago when I choked on a piece of steak and began striking my chest with closed fist. My wife, apparently misinterpreting my desperate banging for the universal sign for “Me Tarzan, You Jane” or the politically incorrect sign for mental retardation, began to laugh.
Once I dislodged the offending meat (no thanks to her), I was rather angry, leading me to finish my meal in stony silence (which really wasn’t much of a punishment for her). My chest thumping is still a subject of controversy today, and whenever she hears of somebody choking, she innocently inquires if he subscribes to the Chris Schillig school of chest thumping, complete with a grossly distorted pantomime of my distress.
What do you think, gentle reader? Hands to throat, or fist to chest?
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