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I developed the hiccups after eating an orange this morning. I don’t know quite how that works; usually if it happens, it happens after eating quickly. Luckily, these weren’t the painful hiccups I’ve been getting over the last months. This went on for the duration of a twenty-minute car ride. It wasn’t sore so much as discomforting, and I’m sort of used to it, so I just hoped it would stop soon. I thought of the traditional method of drinking a glass of water backwards, but I didn’t have a glass on hand and that trick hadn’t worked for me for a while. The idea with this, or with scaring the hiccupper, or with a number of other methods, is to change the motion pattern of the oesophagus so that it stops spasming.

Anyway, we reached our destination. My companion got her packages out of the boot (or trunk) and asked me to close it. As I closed it, I heard a terrible crunch. I thought I’d squashed some mechanism in the door! But, inevitably, ‘ow!’ I’d been careless and pulled the door onto my companion’s head. ‘Are you okay?’ She was. I still can’t believe that sound; it sounded nothing like a head getting bumped, it was like a shriek of metal! (I’ve paid her out about that, don’t you worry.) And then I noticed that my hiccups were gone.

But they came back three times. At the supermarket… under an echoing dome… back home after I’d lugged in all the shopping…

It was a somewhat amusing experience, both for me and for my fellow shoppers, some whom sniggered and some of whom offered sympathy. My companion took to flinching and sighing at me. But it was not the most pleasant of ways to spend the day, even if they weren’t painful hiccups. Then again, you think of this guy, who hiccupped for 68 years…