I usually choke twice or thrice a year. Not figuratively, but an honest to God “clawing at my neck with the whites of my eyes showing,” choking. And while I know I’m often hyperbolic, this is not one of those times.

See, the choking happens without warning. Sometimes those stupid, gigantic multivitamin pills are the problem. Or a pointy tortilla chip. But on a bad day, even an itty bitty almond can decide to stop and take pictures in the middle of my throat. And dear God, if that’s not the scariest minute of my life.

The choking has happened so many times that I now have a protocol in place. 

Now, you’d think I would be used to it. Well, mostly, I am. But sometimes, in those dark moments, as I gulp for air, I can almost see the other side of the veil. That invisible velvety darkness that floats mere steps away. How easy it would be to lose consciousness and die — over a stupid honey-coated, that too. I imagine the conversation at the pearly gates would go something like:

“Welcome to your afterlife! I’m Jay, and I’ll be your death guide today. So how did you die, ma’am?” 


“Speak up, I can’t understand you. Were you stabbed? Heart attack? Ooh, fell down a building?”

“I choked on a honey-coated almond.”

“An almond, you said?

“Yes. It was delicious!”

“Ma’am, this line is for dignified deaths only. Please step to the side. Yo, Andre! Come, show this one to the dumbass line.”

I don’t think my immortal soul could ever recover from something like that. 

So if you’re a frequent choker just like me, remember this: Choking is a terrifying experience, but usually not fatal. Learn the Heimlich maneuver, and share your knowledge with family/roommates/friends so they can swoop in and rescue you. If you’re alone and choking, you can still perform the Heimlich on yourself, no biggie (plus you’ll have bragging rights about how you saved someone who was choking.)

And most importantly, remember to chew your foods into smaller pieces before swallowing. Don’t be a piggie like me and stuff your mouth full of almonds. 

There’s no glory in being a dumbass.

(Visit this link to learn more about the Heimlich Maneuver and how to perform it.,do%20in%20a%20choking%20emergency.)

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