by Scott BrinkmeyerStaff Writer

Ask a crowd of ten how to get rid of hiccups and you will likely get ten different answers.

One girl, who was noticeably absent of the hiccups at the time, told me that if she hiccups, she asks someone to ask her to hiccup. She was once told that the first hiccup is the only real hiccup and the rest are only figments of the imagination.

This idea certainly raises questions. If all it takes is the awareness that hiccups are not real, then I wonder why she needs to have someone else ask her. Also, I can’t help but wonder what the body needs to accomplish that can be achieved in a single small burp of air.

One common remedy is drinking a glass of water upside down. Apparently there is more than one way to drink a glass of water upside down. Some stand up, bent over drinking out of the back of the cup. Other people will go completely upside down and try their best to not make a mess, which is impossible. The latter technique bears a striking resemblance to the controversial waterboarding interrogation technique.

I guess it’s just like extracting hiccups instead of information. This approach did not work for me. I think the strange inhalation of water and air only encouraged my breathing issues.

Having someone scare you is another popular cure. Having someone pretend to kill you seems like a proportionate reaction to a minor inconvenience. There are certainly issues with this as well. Planning to have someone surprise you seems a little counterproductive. Still, as with other hiccup cures, people furiously defend this practice. This one also seems to have profitable potential. I imagine a business set up like a private eye where you are hired out to scare people to get rid of their hiccups. I bet there’s good money in spending all day waiting under a bed or behind a corner just so someone can return to normal breathing patterns.

Breathing into a paper bag is an often-cited but little-practiced way to rid one’s self of the hiccups. I don’t know what exactly this is supposed to do, but I do anticipate potential dangers. For instance, I’m guessing a brown paper bag that comes with a liquor purchase is going to be the type most likely lying around a college apartment. Make sure the receipt from your cheap vodka purchase is not still in there before you undergo heaving breathing.

Stopping someone from hiccupping is a lot different than stopping someone from choking. Also, you might want to drop a breath mint in the bottom of the bag. I don’t know what brown paper bag breath smells like, but I would guess it is better to be avoided.

The phrenic nerve actually causes hiccups. The vagus nerve gets the credit for stopping hiccups. The only true remedy then is a once-and-for-all battle royal cage match between these two nerves where the vagus has access to foreign objects and the phrenic only has access to prayer.