Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Velociman recently posted a photograph of his gargantuan tongue.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. This is a man who has regaled us with Tales of the Brown Tsunami. He has even shared with us the story of his Taint Warhead...so a little tongue (or, in his case, a truly monstrous tongue) should not appall us. No: we should expect it. Be grateful, ’n’ all dat.

[The pose, by the by, is a familiar one. I do it myself to frighten and/or annoy She Who Must Be Obeyed, although I cannot claim to own a Gene Simmons Special like V-Man. We call it the Broad Tongue.]

But his remark about all the tastebuds being in the tip needs correction, and I’m here to do it. As a public service, just so you know.

Let’s hop on the Wayback Machine for a little ride back to, say, 1989 or 1990, when we were living in Trumbull, Connecticut. One day, the Mistress of Sarcasm complained of a sore throat. Being the Good Daddy that I was, I got a flashlight to check on the Gullet Purulence Index.

All y’all Daddies know what I mean. You check that throat, and if you see bright red inflammation and pockets of pus (yech), it’s off to the doctor PDQ. If everything looks more-or-less OK, it’s tea and honey and Get Yer Ass To School, Ya Little Malingerer.

I took a look at the back of the Mistress’s throat, and I nearly keeled over with a stopped heart. At the very back of her tongue (which she had thoughtfully stuck out to permit the Visual Tonsil Check) there were numerous large, flat, knobby swellings. Gaaaah! She’s got the Creeping Crud for sure!

We practically flew to the doctor’s office.

He checked the Mistress out thoroughly and pronounced his diagnosis: a mild sore throat. As we headed for the door, prescription in hand, I remembered those horrible bumps. “Doctor, what the hell were those huge, knobby swellings at the back of her tongue?” I asked.

“You mean those flat swellings?”

“Yes, them.”

“The ones that were about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch in diameter, all the way at the back of her tongue?”

“That’s them, all right.”

“Those? Those are taste buds.”

He didn’t have to add “you dumbass,” but had he done so, I would not have said “Boo.”

Tastebuds. Papillae.

The tip of the tongue is covered with tiny tastebuds that can distinguish the tastes of sweet and salty. The sides of the tongue are carpeted with tastebuds that sense sourness. And those honkin’ big papillae in the very back of the tongue are the ones that are able to sense when something tastes bitter. I give those babies a workout when I drink my Campari or Fernet Branca.

And now, V-man, put that damn thing back in your mouth. ’Cause all you’re doing is arousing the ladies and pissing the guys off...without even saying a word.

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