Freaky Friday – My Ugly Tongue

Here’s a freaky medical condition which I suffer from myself – a fissured tongue. All of my life my tongue has looked strange. It is not smooth like most peoples’ but rather has lots of little fissures or cracks. It has a deep groove down the middle, so deep that it almost looks like I have two tongues or a snake tongue. I can do a trick which I call “bird in flight” where I spread and contract my tongue so it looks like moving wings.

A fissured tongue occurs in only about 5 percent of Americans, and the exact cause isn’t known. It isn’t harmful, but often people with one end up having sensitivity to certain foods. For me, an excess of walnuts or eggplant can cause my tongue to feel a burning sensation and to even blister a little.

I used to be extremely self-conscious about my tongue and there were some mean people who even made fun of it in my younger days. You’re probably wondering if I was walking around sticking my tongue out at people on a regular basis, and the answer is an emphatic NO. Somehow kids, particularly teens, are able to spot any defects among their peers with insane, cruel superpowers. You could have a bruised spleen or enlarged gall bladder and eventually some villain figures it out and will use it to relentlessly torture you. I know this from being a teen and from teaching middle school. You can’t hide anything, particularly an unusual trait.

I was a naturally boisterous gal, and must have spent a lot of time yelling or guffawing or just stretching out my admittedly large mouth. Someone noticed my tongue at some point and I was mortified, which of course made everyone notice it day after day. That’s why I starting doing my bird trick – so I could amaze and delight my tormentors, winning them over with my rare talent. One of the teasers actually became my husband, so I guess it worked. I still remind DTD how he hurt my feelings, even though I know he was just an awkward teen and has more than made up for any past ill feelings on my part. 

So I guess the lesson (other than information about an unusual physical condition) is that it is possible to transform an aberration into a bizarre and useless talent. I have included a video for your delight!

Also a reminder that you are welcome to use the comments to suggest any interesting medical topics you would like me to bring up with DTD.




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