Weird stuff I put in my mouth and sometimes swallowed.

Via Lynn Hasselberger
on Aug 30, 2011
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We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.ย  ~Denis Diderot

There aren’t too many quotes that have to do with swallowing in the literal sense. But in my search, I found the one above and felt it worth sharing.

Anyway, I don’t know the exact chronological order of the events below, but most—if not all—happened when I was under the age of nine.

Marbles and pennies. I remember standing by our raised plastic pool in the backyard and my mom peeking out the side door. In my memory, she had a phone in her hand with the cord stretched as far as it could go. I later learned she sought the advice of my aunts about the fact I swallowed either a marble or a penny. In any case, I swallowed at least one of each at one time or another.

Gum. What kid doesn’t swallow gum? My problem: I’d swallowed so many other odd items that the gum probably wrapped around all of these other things to form a type of rubber band ball that could be lodged in my lower intestine to this day. There were a few times I didn’t swallow gum and ended up going to sleep with gum in my mouth, which later got tangled in my long hair. Because of this, I ended up with the pixie cut and was many times mistaken for a boy unless I was wearing a dress.

A Flag. My mom tells this story and I can somewhat remember. I had one of those small American flags on a wooden stick and I was carrying it in my mouth. Running. I fell and the wooden stick jammed into the back of my throat. It didn’t do major physical damage (it could have killed me had it punctured through far enough), fortunately, but may have something to do with my liberal tendencies.

A quarter. This is the most vivid in my memory. I was six or seven years old, passing the time out by our van while the rest of my family was getting ready for church. Rolling my church money off the top of the van and catching it in my mouth seemed like a fun challenge. (In case you’re wondering how a young child could reach the top of the van, I was standing inside the van, door open). Next thing I knew—and I have this etched in my brain cells—I was running toward the house unable to breathe. It was like one of those nightmares where you’re trying to run, but you’re not moving. I can still picture the side door to the house, which remained out of my reach. Next thing I knew, I was being hung upside down in the backyard with my mom’s fingers down my throat. Well, in this case, up my throat, as I was upside down. The quarter was lodged in there. Finally, I gagged and out it came. I was so happy I didn’t have to go to Sunday school that morning! Positive reinforcement for my oral fixations. Although I had originally thought I was alone with my loose Sunday school change and the van, I learned later that my older brother was there, too, and flew inside to report to my parents that I was choking. Thank you to my brother and parents for saving my life.

A raisin. This is a fuzzy memory, but my mom has been good at keeping it alive over the years. I was eating a box of raisins in the backyard. Pretty normal, right? Eating raisins. I chewed and swallowed without any problems. But for some reason, I decided to put one up my nose. My nose swelled up and my parents couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Until I sneezed and out came—not a raisin—but a grape!

Toothpaste. Sometimes, when I was young, I pretended to brush my teeth. Turned on the faucet, hum to myself for a period of time that seemed long enough to have achieved a full teeth brushing. That would explain the many cavities I had as a child. When I actually did brush, I liked to swallow the toothpaste. To me, it was quite flavorful. A perfect start to the day; a nice evening snack. I’m still alive to talk about it.

Glue. Elmer’s glue tasted good to me. One day, in kindergarten, I took a sip of white glue. But it wasn’t Elmers. It was some off-brand. And it was nasty. I spit it out into tissue or toilet paper and my friends thought I had thrown up. I was too embarrassed to say I had to expectorate the bad glue. From that day forward, I checked the label. Other times, I put a thin layer of Elmers on the palm of my hand. After it dried, I peeled it off and put it on my tongue. I liked the way it melted.

Paste. I’m not sure they even make paste any more (today’s glue sticks perhaps?), but I was a connoisseur in my day. Minty, smooth with a sticky finish all in one little plastic jar. I would sneak it during class. Just lift up the desk top (not a computer, an actual top of the school desk that lifted up) when the teacher was writing on the chalkboard, quickly dip my finger into the goo and insert into mouth. Tasty! I recall doing this numerous times before I was caught. I remember getting caught and feeling a bit ashamed. But I don’t remember whether I tried eating it again during class.

String. It was fun to take a string and swallow one end while holding the other end in my hand. Then pull it out. It felt really weird. Little did I know, this was good for me.

Spoonfuls of sugar and vanilla. When I was little, I’d climb up on the kitchen counter and sneak spoonfuls of pure white sugar. And vanilla. Not mixed together. I found each to be delectable on their on merit. Another explanation for those cavities.

Now that I’m older, I scold my son when he tries to use his teeth to separate LEGO pieces. I tell him the story about the quarter and how I almost died. He recently choked on some food while talking, jumping and chewing at the same time. I was getting ready to administer the Heimlich Maneuver, when he gagged it up. A close call that made me thankful, once again, for my parents and brother saving me from George Washington.

I haven’t eaten glue in years, try to minimize the sugar intake and keep my loose change in a jar, never to pass my lips.

These days I have to worry more about what I hear or read. That I not swallow unkind words to my heart where they’re taken personally. That I not choke on compliments given. And allow the truths in and out withoutย  chewing too hard. I also avoid bitter pills.

Photo: by keithbgoldstein


About Lynn Hasselberger

Lynn Hasselberger is co-founder of GDGD Radio; The Green Divas Managing Editor; and Producer of The Green Divas Radio Show. She's also a mom, writer and award-winning cat-herder who lives in Chicagoland. Sunrises, running, yoga, lead-free chocolate and comedy are just a few of her fave things. In her rare moments of spare time, she blogs at and A treehugger and social media addict, you'll most likely find Lynn on twitter (@LynnHasselbrgr @GreenDivaLynn & @myEARTH360), instagram and facebook. She hopes to make the world a better place, have more fun, re-develop her math skills and overcome her fear of public speaking. Like her writing? Subscribe to her posts.


18 Responses to “Weird stuff I put in my mouth and sometimes swallowed.”

  1. Hilarious. But, oddly, reminds me of something I read today.

    A book i read gives the advice: put a quarter in your mouth all day long. Then, in order to speak, you have to manipulate the quarter into your cheek so you can talk. This gives you an extra second to think before you speak. The idea being, we all speak too much. So sometimes there could be a good effect from having a quarter in your mouth.

  2. Thanks for reading, James. Funny that you read that today. I think I'll take that advice figuratively, though. Just to be safe. Cheers! PS. Your writing is hilarious and inspires me to write more. Am going to attempt to write daily starting with this today. We'll see what happens!

  3. Jeremy Crow says:

    Really enjoyed your stories! Gave me a good chuckle. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thanks for reading, Jeremy. These stories had been rattling around in my head for quite some time ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad they gave you a chuckle. Cheers!

  5. cynthia says:

    always enjoy your writing! : )

  6. Thanks Cynthia ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers to you for reading! Have a great day!

  7. loved this! And I agree…….that PASTE back in grade school was pretty tasty! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I think they should make that into a cocktail! Thanks for checking it out, Cynthia ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Thanks, Don. Yuck–a wasp! LOL ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Dana says:

    Love it!

  11. Great, Dana ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for taking the time to comment. Cheers!!

  12. healthhomesandharleys says:

    Thank you for the trip down my own memory lane ;^)"

  13. LOL! Thanks for taking the time to read + comment. Cheers ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  15. lisa says:

    i ate a worm when i was a kid. i picked a big fat slimy pink one out of the grass, bit into it and swallowed – i think on a dare. i dont remember anything about what it was like or how it tasted. i remember trying to get my brother to do it with me – he thought i was crazy – but to this day i cant eat anything remotely slimy, i gag

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