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09:17:18 - 2000-09-07


The second most embarrassing thing that can happen to a human being is to choke on their own saliva.

The MOST embarrassing thing that can happen to a human being is to choke on their own saliva at a press conference when everyone is supposed to be very quiet.

I hope I'm not stepping into unchartered territory when I talk about choking on your own spit. It's happened to me several times in my life, it's happened to my wife and I'm hoping it's happened to YOU at least once or twice.

You know what I'm talking about. You're sitting there, minding your own business and you go to swallow, to keep your saliva glands producing or whatever the reason is that people swallow.

The saliva goes down the wrong pipe or something.

And you start coughing.

Been there??

Done that???

Cool. Then you'll be able to relate here.

I go to this press conference yesterday afternoon at a local elementary school. The State Treasurer is there, other important members of the school board, etc., etc.

The press conference was about some program we have that gives funds to kids for college. I would tell you more about the program, but I spent most of the press conference CHOKING.

About a minute or two into the press conference, I go to swallow. No big whoop. I've been doing it for years.

The spit goes down the wrong pipe. No big secret here...I think you MAY have seen this coming.

All of a sudden, I'm fuckin' Jerry Lewis.

I cough once and get a pain in my chest.

That cough doesn't do the trick. I must cough again.

The State Treasurer (Lucy Baxley for those of you in Alabama reading this) who's doing the speaking, shoots a glance at me like "You okay??"

I nod my head, which is QUICKLY turning red and cough again.

I try to suppress my coughs. This makes my lungs feel like they're filling full of fluid. If I had to pick a fluid, I'd say Leper Semen.

Because I'm beginning to gag.

Sure ... I'd gag on normal semen as well. But leper semen...well...the connotations behind it are REALLY gaggable.

I try to hold the cough in as long as I can. Meanwhile, my mouth is filling up with saliva because I'm scared to swallow, thinking it will just make matters worse.

I then lose all mechanical functions and cough LOUDLY.

Spittle flies from my mouth and lands on some schoolchildren, who LITERALLY say "EWWWWWWWWWWW" and start wiping the spittle from their heads.

And suddenly, I'm the NEW focus of the press conference.

I begin coughing like a three-year-old with the croup. I cannot STOP coughing. Everyone has now taken their attention away from the important lady at the podium and is now focused squarely on the fat, wet guy (it was pouring rain...guess who didn't bring an umbrella with him?) with his arm in a sling who's coughing up lung cookies for the entire room.

Mrs. Baxley's PR woman, Brooke, WALKS OVER TO ME in the crowded room and asks if I need some water.

I gasped "No, I'm fine."

Okay. For some UNGODLY REASON, I'm now too macho to take a sip of water.

I LOVE water. Water is GOOD. But I did NOT want to admit defeat in this battle with my saliva. I was going to WIN this one, no matter WHAT the consequences.

This coughing fit went on for perhaps two minutes. Two minutes of me trying to hold the cough as long as I could (10 seconds...tops) and then just LETTING IT FLY, BAYBEEEEE!!

I was mortified. Hindsight being 20/20, I shoulda stepped out for some water.

But I woulda felt like such an idiot doing that.

Apparently, in my warped little world, I'd rather be an idiot disrupting a press conference with his flying saliva.

The little children were chuckling at Uncle Bob as he turned beet red with his cheeks puffed out, holding onto every cough like they were valuable gems.

Let's face it...I was much more amusing to them then some lady standing there talking about government funding. It was like they had never seen an adult make a total ass of himself at a press conference.

Finally, with my eyes watering like a brand new sprinkler, the coughing subsided and the press conference wrapped up. The Treasurer thanked everyone for coming out on this rainy day, and smiled at me.

It wasn't a "God, you're so fucking good looking" smile either.

It was more a "God, you're one big fucking idiot" fake smile that all politicians have.

Last night, as I'm lying in bed watching the news, some video footage of the press conference came on.

SURE AS SHIT, you don't see me in the video.

But you HEAR me loud and clear.


Go me!

So, if you ever find yourself choking on your own spit at an important event, for God's sakes...take the water that someone offers you.

This has been a public service announcement from your friend at Uncle Bob, Inc.



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(Today's question was actually taken off a bottle of salad dressing. No shit. I'm THAT desperate).

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