There ain’t no cure…

I HAVE the bloody hiccups.

Or hiccoughs, which is the alternative spelling given by The Macquarie Dictionary. Frankly I don’t care how it’s spelled as long as it goes away. But it never does.

There’s an unwritten law with hiccups that says they never go away until you stop wishing it, then they sneak off quietly while your back’s turned.

Did you know there are nearly four million entries on Google if you search “hiccups” but only 113,000 if you search “curing hiccups”, which goes to show you can’t.

If you search “curing cancer” you get more than two million entries, which suggests to me that people have more hope of finding a cancer cure than a hiccup cure.

I suppose a cancer cure is probably seen as more urgent; but so far I have spilled a cup of tea, cut my finger, frightened my granddaughter and had my best friend hang up on me, thinking I was a small child making a hoax call, all because I hic at the wrong moment. It’s  becoming urgent by the hiccup!

And if you send me your cure – your foolproof, 100-per-cent certain, can’t fail, always works hiccup cure – I will have you shot. There is no such thing.

There’s even a website that offers 68 ways to cure hiccups, including nine breathing methods, three sugar methods, three ear methods and 10 water methods (I suppose drowning would be effective).

They include the bizarre and the ridiculous, like: “Place your thumbs on the little flap in front of the ear canal (called the tragus) and press inward, closing the canal. Close your nose with your pinkies. Close your eyes, then take a deep breath and hold it as long as possible. Try and breathe normally after coming out of the exercise. The natural reaction is to breathe hard or pant.”

I suspect that if you try this, when you open your eyes you may not have lost your hiccups, but all your belongings will be gone.

Anyway, the point is that if anything at all had any merit there would only need to be one solution.

My mum swore by a spoonful of sugar, even before Mary Poppins made it universally embarrassing. My wife still drinks water from the far side of the glass and is convinced it works, while my own theory is that she is simply diverted from thinking about it by the family’s hysterical laughter.

And I still have bloody hiccups!

Or hiccoughs. And while I’m complaining, who thought up that nonsensical spelling. Is there anyone in the civilised world who pronounces it “hiccoffs”? Of course not. The spelling makes no more sense than the cures.

In fact, “ough” ought to be banned from the English language as an entirely unnecessary device designed to frighten foreigners.

Did you know there are nine different ways of pronouncing “ough” in English.
Cough (that is, coff) bloody hiccough!); then there’s dough, thorough, through, rough, bough, nought, brougham (a horse-drawn carriage, pronounced “broom”) and lough, the Irish form of the Scottish “loch”, also pronounced “lo … followed by something resembling a bad smoker’s cough (or coff).

And while I’m complaining about the English language let’s spare a thought for those migrants to Australia who have to prove a competency in the English language, but who are faced with cunning tortures like: There’s no time like the present to present the present.”

I mean, is that fair?

How come a slim chance and a fat chance are the same thing? How come you can be disgruntled, unruly or impeccable, but not gruntled, ruly, or peccable?

How is someone from Calcutta supposed to know that when the stars are out you can see them, but when the lights are out – you can’t?

How come –

Er … I think my hiccups have gone!