Friday, September 24, 2010

Tongue Surgery: An Awkward Tale

I weighed 3 pounds when I was born. That’s equivalent to 3 packages of butter. My dad said he could hold me in one hand; my head would rest gently in his palm and my toes would touch the end of his forearm. My parents say that I am their “miracle baby.” My mom revels in telling the story about how my Dad had to choose between saving his wife or his child, with her being pushed away on a stretcher, dramatically yelling “save the baby!” Apparently my Dad got down on his knees, prayed to Jesus that both of us would survive, and poof! Who would have known he’d end up with TWO high maintenance women with clashing personalities.

Miracle? If you ask me, nature didn’t want me to happen. Now the world is punishing me for not playing by its rules. 

You think you’re clever, do ya? You want to live so badly? Fine! You will be cursed with the inability to play sports. You will have the chest of a 10-yr. old boy. You will be extraordinarily awkward in any social situation. See how you like living now!

The world thinks I’m a virus, and is trying to dispel me with its antibodies. Damn you, mother nature.

Thus, I have a lot of awkward stories about my cursed life to share, but today it will be…tongue surgery.

My tongue was deformed since birth – it looked like it had a skin tag on it (gross, I know). People would often ask me, “Do you have a tongue ring?” I would feel humiliated when eating ice-cream, sticking my tongue on a metal pole outside in the winter (we do that up here in the north to rip the skin off…), and mere talking. It was a hard time for me, with my friends making goofy faces, and me having to resort to the blowfish funny face. Sometimes I still lay awake at night, crying big, hot, juicy tears of shame.

A hilarious funny face made a person blessed with a normal tongue.
The blowfish face, for all of us who are disfigured in the tongue.
Being the vain 13-year old that I was, I said, "Mom, oh my goddd, you totally have to get this super-gross like ewwww thing operated on, because like, I will commit social suicide, cause like, nobody in high school will think I'm like cool, although I totally am awesome cool for reals."

So we went to the local dermatologist (who would have known that tongues lie in the dermatology field?) who made me lay on a table in an open room, surrounded by old ladies with skin growths and recently skinny people with saggy skin bat wings. Under the fluorescent light, I was commanded to lay there, tongue out, while he administered the needle to numb it. If you've ever had your mouth frozen, you'll know how this feels -- like a dead fish. Drool rolling down my cheeks like a fat kid in a candy store, the doctor approached me with a knife and I could see him slicing off skin with a frenzied look on his face.

The operation didn't accomplish much, though. I still have a ridiculous-looking scar that prohibits me from making any traditional goofy faces, sadly. And trip to a new dentist last year proved that people don't normally have tongue operations. 

Dentist: What is that thing on your tongue?
Me (trying to talk while still sticking out tongue:): Ummm, well it's hard to explain, but I was born with a weird-looking tongue.
Dentist: Uh huh...
Me: I had it operated on and it left this scarring. It's nothing.
Dentist (poking and prodding the scar): Well, I'm going to send you to a specialist who charged a wack-load of money to get this looked at. It could be cancerous
Me: Oh, I wouldn't worry about it, I went through this years ago. It's just a scar. I already had a doctor look at it. Honestly.
Dentist: Sorry, dear, I can't understand a word you're saying, what with your tongue sticking out and all. If you'll excuse me, I have a patient in the other room waiting for me.

The moral of the story is: If you have a disfigured tongue like me, don't get tongue surgery if you can help it. It accomplishes nothing and a disfigured tongue will guarantee that men won't want you to go anywhere near any part of their body with that thing. It could help you tremendously down the road.


  1. Well, I guess telling people to look on the bright side always sucks, but at least it wasn't on your nose, right?

  2. i have a geographic tongue... which sounds like something i made up, but is a totally for-real thing! i don't know if that makes you feel any better about YOUR tongue, but i thought i would share, just in case.
    also? you could tell people it's a scar from a bar room brawl or bear attack! then when they ask what happened just say "the judge told me i'm not allowed to talk about it." then just walk away YOU WILL BLOW THEIR MINDS! :D

  3. Well you were really good at hiding it - I never once noticed anything different about your tongue. And that's saying something because I noticed a lot! You did some mighty strange things in my presence when you were younger!

    I like to say I inherited my chest from my dad. Not his side of the family, no, just my dad himself.

  4. I have a geographic tongue, too. It looks like it's chewed up, with cuts and indentations, but it's normal. It's been that way since I was a baby.

    Being different is cool!

  5. Z.J. - Good point. But I broke my nose jumping & falling off a pogo stick in the, yeah.

    Jess - Is a geographic tongue like a map on your tongue? It reminds me of Harry Potter when Dumbledore says that he has a scar on his leg that is a perfect map of the London Underground (you probably have no idea what I'm talking about, so just smile and nod...) And I'm totally going to use the bar room brawl excuse from now on!!!

    Sunshine Morningstar - Let's not discuss the strange things I did in your presence. Really. I remember. I remember you & my sister drawing cartoons of me doing strange things.

    Tsaritsa - It sounds like you were biting your tongue in the womb?!? Awesome.

  6. regarding harry potter, i know EXACTLY what you're talking about! i <3 HP!!! :D
    geographic tongue is...

  7. I looked it up! Awesome. We should have a strange tongue support group.