One benefit of aging is that hiccups become less common. They were always a conversation starter when I was younger—someone you were on a date with, or a college buddy, would get the hiccups and you’d end up talking about how they got rid of them. Generally it was some variation of taking a long drink of water, often with a twist (not a lemon twist, but some kind of alteration from normal drinking). I did that myself. My technique was simply a very long draught of water. I eventually figured out that it was holding my breath as I drank that did the trick, so I started using the dry method, which was helpful when you didn’t have a glass of water handy.
People sometimes tell me I overthink things. So with the hiccups. Somewhere in Wisconsin—I don’t remember where, but we weren’t at home and I didn’t have any water in the car—I thought, if holding your breath gets rid of hiccups, you don’t need an external agent at all. The point is rather to get your mind off the physical discomfort and it goes away. If that’s true, you ought to be able to think the hiccups away. I tried it and it worked. I’m no physician, and I’m rather squeamish about many body things, but you can kind of feel what’s going on in your throat when you get the hiccups. What I do now is concentrate on that and will it to stop. It works unless I’m really distracted by something else I have to do.
Our minds can control quite a few of our bodily functions by concentration. It’s sort of like mind over matter, I suppose, but I’ve noticed that when I can take the time to analyze something I can often think a physical annoyance away. It’s difficult to ignore an itch, but if you can do it it often goes away. Like everybody else I find my hand subconsciously scratching itches. To invoke the power of concentration entails having to be able to think about it. Our working lives are filled with the distraction that we call vocations. Time to concentrate on how the world works quickly evaporates once they hand you that diploma. We have things to do so that we can get paid, and some of us really can’t afford to retire. Just think of the things we’d learn if we had the time to think away physical annoyances.