Things That Get Stuck

Photo by Mo Abrahim from Pexels

Last Friday night while my husband and I watched a movie, I was shoveling popcorn in my piehole. And yes, I’d rather have been eating pie.

When I finally took a breather, I could feel one of the little husks stuck on the right side of my tongue, a bit underneath. I didn’t worry about it; those things always loosen up.

But it didn’t. I swished water around, I brushed my teeth, I jabbed at it with my fingernail. It was stuck tighter than a clam with lockjaw when I went to bed.

It was still there when I woke up on Saturday, although it had moved further back. While I drank my coffee, I googled “popcorn husk stuck in tonsil.” I was surprised and thankful so many people had the same problem. I was less surprised and less thankful at some of the advice.

  • “Tilt your chin down and swallow forcefully.” Show that tonsil who’s boss!
  • “Take big gulps of milk.” Gross.
  • “Eat more popcorn.” This seemed like a trick. Or a cruel joke.
  • “Break off a big piece of baguette and swallow it without chewing.” I used to scold my children for this very thing.
  • “Use a waterpik and blast it out of there.” I do not want this in my obituary.

With all of that advice off the table, I began a strict regimen of gargling and brandishing my tongue scraper in a threatening manner. That didn’t work. Breakfast didn’t work, even though I tried my best not to masticate properly. (Sorry, kids. Your mother is a hypocrite.) More gargling, more tongue scraping. More hilarious comments from my friends on Facebook. (My son mocked me, but I explained that husk was sealed tighter than Grandma’s canned beans, since I’d already used the clam with lockjaw thing.) Spoonsful of peanut butter didn’t work. Spoonsful of honey didn’t work. Crunchy crackers spread thickly with peanut butter and honey didn’t work.


I decided to surrender and accept my dismal fate—becoming known throughout the land as That Lady Always Complaining of Popcorn Stuck In Her Throat.

Sunday morning. Still there, but copious amounts of my viscous drool (I’m assuming) had helped to shift it again. After breakfast, more gargling, more tongue scraping, and more complaining still failed to dislodge it, I went for the one piece of potentially valid advice Dr Internet gave me …. gargle with something carbonated. I bought a bottle of Coke and when my husband left the building, I gargled with it.

Spoiler alert: gargling with Coke is truly as unpleasant as it sounds.

What’s worse, it didn’t work.

I bravely faced my destiny.

My husband and I were talking about something weirdly unrelated to my ordeal (I know, right??), and I suddenly felt it shift. The popcorn husk was now centered on top of my tongue, but way in the back! O frabjous day!

I raced upstairs for my tongue scraper. It was long enough, but every time I tried to use it, my tongue reflexively went concave. Toothbrush, same.

Shining the flashlight in there, I showed my husband. I could see it and so could he … it wasn’t my imagination! Picture your flawlessly manicured pinkie fingernail pulled free and pressed firmly on top of your tongue, forming a perfect bubble. Such was my popcorn husk.

Now my husband was getting in on the fun, brandishing household items I could try. “Letter opener! Bamboo skewer! Knitting needle!”

But no. I held close my tongue scraper, whispering urgent entreaties, allowing it one final, glorious moment to prove itself a hero and seek redemption.

And it did.

The crisis was over. The world released its collective breath. Armies stood down, troops finally at ease. The Olympic monobobbers commenced racing. Birds warbled songs of praise and glory to the heavens above.

And me, you ask? What did I do?

I asked my husband to holster the knitting needles.

I humbly submit this list of things—other than popcorn—that get stuck:

  • You, Best Beloved, reading this
  • Toni Basil’s song, “Mickey”
  • Thumbtacks in a corkboard
  • The needle in a scratched record
  • Gum on your shoe
  • Car in a snowdrift
  • Porcupine quills into a dog’s snout

What else?

46 thoughts on “Things That Get Stuck

    1. You are always—ALWAYS—invited to laugh at me, Dru. And one day maybe I’ll regale you with the time I got stuck in someone’s powder room at book club … and it took a really long time before anyone missed me. Wah. Oh, and my son has a similar tale of getting stuck in the men’s room at a bar. Luckily someone missed him. They opened the door just as he was wielding a trash can to lob at it.

      Liked by 4 people

  1. BECKY! Sorry but you made me laugh so hard at your popcorn predicament! Yes, never trust Dr. Google!! And the next time I sit in on my couch eating popcorn, I will think of you.

    Dog poop stuck on the sole of a shoe is worse than gum.
    And sticky lids on honey jars and maple syrup.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. I totally feel for you, Becky, and look forward to a full recounting in your memoir. For me, it’s those nasty popcorn husks that get stuck between my teeth. It’s a nightmare!
    Oh, and the junk drawer when it gets too full.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Between your teeth, though, you can fling it out with floss. That said, I was getting my teeth cleaned once and my hygienist asked, “When was the last time you had popcorn?” I thought she was just making conversation, and said, “When we watched [some movie].” She showed me the husk she dug out of my teeth. I did not tell her it had been there for months. (Months, people! I’m still ashamed.)

      JC, maybe you should start flossing your junk drawer.

      Liked by 5 people

  3. Too funny! Thanks for an early morning laugh, but now I’m concerned about breakfast. Those pesky seeds on whole wheat toast are the wicked cousins of popcorn husks.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Ah, Liz, that give me willies. I’ve had to pluck those off dogs before. The other day Nala sneezed really hard and when I looked over there was this huge sticker hanging off her chin. There’s nothing like that in our yard or where she goes on walkabout! A true mystery.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Gah, Becky! I’m now wary of eating popcorn. Is popcorn-o-phobia a thing?

    As for me, I also had some stickiness over the past few days. The other day, my bike tire went flat. And it was because of those dratted goathead weeds, which produce prickly burrs. Just this morning, I also got a little acorn husk stuck on the underside of my shoe. Go figure.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m absolutely sure it’s a thing, Jen! I’m amazed at the weird things that get stuck in the tread of my sneakers. Especially because I don’t wear them anywhere interesting! It’s like they’re trying to escape from their natural habitat by hitching a ride on me. Or under me, technically.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I watched as this unfolded on Facebook, I’m still laughing/crying at the retelling. I know, I’m an evil soul. Sorrynotsorry. Now you have made me want to gargle with coke just to see why it’s awful. You know… science. I’m so glad your life was spared. I’d send Wes to med school. My gut just tells me you’re gonna need it.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Tar stuck to beach towels. I only say that because I recently discovered a small bit of black tar on a towel that came from my parents’ house, and it brought back a torrent of memories of the summer back in the ’60s when that towel had been purchased, and when there’d been an oil spill off the coast in Los Angeles.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I can’t even imagine going barefoot outside all the time like I used to, much less traipsing across melted road and borrowing a kitchen knife to scrape my calloused widdle feet clean. Egads. What a raggamuffin I was!


  7. Too funny, Becky!
    Like J.C., we have a stuck drawer. Haven’t tried flossing, but it’s been stuck for a good while. I can only assume there’s nothing in it that we actually need!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. LOL, Vickie! When I clean a closet, but I’m still on the fence about some of the clothes I boxed up, I tape it shut and write the date on it. If I haven’t opened it in six months looking for the clothes, I know I’m safe to cart the box to the thrift store. You could do the same with your drawer. If you haven’t opened it in six months, just paint over it or something.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Along with popcorn, I have the same issue with berries. It’s so uncomfortable when seeds get stuck. Floss sometimes helps, but I also use the interdental brushes recommended by my dentist.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Mary, I love those little brushes! In fact, I had a dentist who liked them better than floss. (Especially since I’d actually use the brushes!) I couldn’t get them to work on my stuck popcorn, even though I tried my darnedest. Sigh.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Becky, you clearly did not put enough butter on your popcorn! (Double-negative points if it was microwave popcorn. That’s apparently the kind most likely to get stuck.) I was impressed, though, by your determination. What gets stuck at our house? The occasional piece of dog kibble the cat insists on as a treat, caught between the dishwasher and the kitchen hutch. (Like you, she doesn’t give up until she’s gotten it.) And, more commonly, my WIP.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. No butter, but popped in oil with sprinkled parmesan, like always. Lately Nala’s rice has been particularly sticky so she slides her bowl all over the place trying to get every last little bit. I find it stuck all over the place, because she is one determined doggy. My WIPs don’t get stuck exactly, but I have been known to put them in time-out.


  10. Now that I am back to breathing normally instead of snorting, my side is feeling less pain, and I have cleaned up the spewed coffee, I can type a comment. I can’t even begin to tell you the hundred or so ways things get stuck in our house – and we have no toddlers, teens, or any other adults. Furbabies, Cajun hubby, and I get stickers regularly on our shoes, pant legs, and sometimes on sleeves or hair!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ohmygosh … I forgot the thing that gets stuck THE MOST around here! Dog hair! On everything you can imagine, and even some things you can’t. It’s … I mean … I’m … I can’t even. *gives up completely*

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ooch, my side! HIGH-LARIOUS post, Becky, although I am sorry about the popcorn-aided exfoliation on your tonsils. (My favorite home remedy mentioned above: more popcorn. Filed under Hair of the Dog, no doubt.)

    I’m forever dealing with stuck drawers and rocks stuck in shoes, but my most recent sticky escapade was copious amounts of honey stuck in my hair. I was eating my honey toast a little toooooo enthusiastically.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. Oh, c’mon… I know you used both too! You probably had the same butane curling iron with you at school too! I was afraid to light a cigarette in the girl’s bathroom. That didn’t stop me, mind you… but fear was present.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Potato masher in the drawer. You put it in nice and tidy, and the next time you open it (or TRY to open it) it’s turned itself sideways and crawled on top of the serving utensils. You shake the drawer, stick the tip of a knife in. Then, THAT gets stuck too. You can’t shut the drawer either. The next person comes along and the drawer slides right open. Sometimes, I swear I can hear the thing snickering at me. And, of course, by then, I have no idea what I wanted in the drawer. But I jerk the masher out and stick it in the wooden spoon jar on the counter. Take that, you vile instrument of torture. 😏


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