#613 Your tongue

Babies are funny.

While zooming down the highway with my friend Agostino last week he broke into a story about his one-year-old daughter. Apparently while feeding her a bowl of mushy peas she suddenly started sticking her tongue out, slowly and suspiciously peering down at it, and then wiggling it around.

It was like she suddenly came to the starstruck realization that “I can control this thing!”

And what an amazing day that must be, for you, for me, for anybody. After all, we grow up inside these flabby blobs of flexy muscles, whirring organs, and gurgling body parts, and then discover what everything does along the way.

The mysteries of your tongue are sort of discovered along the way, too. And what beautiful mysteries they are:

1. Tongue got your cat. Yes, the muscles at the back of your tongue help make certain sounds while talking like hard g’s and c’s. Try saying the word “go” or “cat” really slowly and you’ll feel that pink puppy push across the roof of your mouth.

2. Bubble blower. Hey, that wad of chewing gum ain’t gonna balloon into a thin n’ shaky pink bubble on it’s own.

3. Whistle while you work. Think of your mouth like the cold garage where your lips and tongue come together to jam after school. Your lips make a small opening and your tongue gets the bumping grooves going. Also works for singing.

4. Taste the rainbow. When you’re a one-year old baby you’ve got around 10,000 tastebuds covering your tongue and when you’re a wrinkly old fart you’ve got around 5,000. These tiny flavor-detectors are why mushy bananas and macaroni taste so good when you’re a kid and bloody steaks and olives do the job when you’re older. On top of all that, your tongue helps move food to your teeth and then down the gully for digestion. He’s basically the whistle-blowing traffic cop of your body.

5. Clean your fur. If your entire body is covered in fur your tongue helps you clean off instead of taking a bath.

6. French kissing. Apparently swapping spit is a common gesture of affection throughout the animal kingdom with lovers kissing with their tongues in jungles, deserts, and bat caves throughout the world. Evolutionary biologist Thierry Lode even argues that tongue kissing has a real function — to explore a partner’s immune system through their saliva. Yeah, I know: hot.

Once upon a time you discovered your tongue with a profound sense of eye-widening wonder and amazement. Over time you began using its magical powers to try new foods, learn how to speak, sing in the car, or snuggle up with a young love.

So today give three cheers to that fleshy pink slab of greatness sitting inside your hot, disgusting mouth. Use its noble powers today to sit back and scream forward one big booming word with me…


Photos from: here, here, here, and here

60 thoughts on “#613 Your tongue

  1. I just spent a significant amount of time looking at my tongue today. It is so cool/weird looking!

    I look forward to every 7th birthday when my tastebuds change! I try new food every 7 years and am amazed at what I like! Yay for tongues!!

  2. & the realisation that you can touch your nose with your tongue is just awesome, especially when you know no one else around you can do it :)

  3. Tongues are also good for lodging stuff out of your teeth. And we all know how uncomfortable food in the teeth is.

  4. PMSL OoOoOoO the multiple benefits of the tongue. =))))))) Right. LOL And they say every tongue has an unique print too.

    So “hear, hear” to the tongue, a fabulous part of the human body. =)))

  5. I must admit that just reading the title on busy days is not enough. There is a treasure of funny in every sentence. Another great post. Made my day.

  6. Am I the only person who doesn’t know why the chicken wings are sitting up there? Thanks for such a great post!

  7. Aw, no one mentioned the power of super-tasters yet!

    Apparently they have more tastebuds per centimeter on their tongues, making them wanted in various wine communities. Or, so I’ve heard.

    (Anecdote: Personally, I’m medically tongue-tied – the little fleshy part that connects my tongue to the bottom of my mouth is quite far in the front, inhibiting me to make many… er, tongue gestures.)

    1. I was also tongue-tied. At birth the doctor snipped it, so I’m mostly normal, except I can’t roll my “r”s AT ALL. Which makes me totally unable to speak Spanish. (Little-known jdurley factoid!)

  8. I don’t know how it happens, but I’ve gotten the genes that grant me the ability to turn my tongue sideways. It’s an awesome useless ability that I loved the freak out my now-ex girlfriend with.

    Speaking of tongues, has anyone seen or heard about that parasite that eats the tongue of a fish and then attaches itself to the stump to become a new tongue? Completely horrifying.

      1. Ew. I thought I had sufficiently repressed the memory of the 4-foot tall Powerpoint slide of that thing in my fish biology class, but nope. Thanks for reminding me.

  9. and there are those ever so useful bar tricks, twisting the cherry stem into a knot..makes a woman swoon! Great post, thanks.

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  11. I have this theory why adults like almost everything… they’re sense of taste dulls. They lose taste buds… so I’m right. >D

  12. on #1:
    This very morning, my 10 month old grandson did this very thing…
    “Tongue got his cat, big fluff of Sasha!” and he was doing the whole “pflufsputterspitflupupupu”, repeatedly, with a scrunched up nose and a look in his eyes that said, “Groase and God help me before this becomes a fur ball!”
    Then he laughed and laughed and played with his tongue, laughed some more! So cute!!!
    Tongues ARE amazing, outstanding and yes, Awesome!
    *But not dead Cow tongue when you’re pregnant, you work in home care and a client makes you cook it and it really stinks and has lots of fatty substance floating in the water; then tongue floats to the top of the pot and stares up at you as if to say, “Save me!”
    And well barf rolls over the tongue. True story! “Blauck”

  13. Imagine this- 2 partly deaf middle aged strangers in a diner, busting out in harmony to Simon and Garfunkels song, “Li, li, li”, 2 tongues and 2 tables apart but 1 song world together. Funny and awesome too!

  14. Yay for tongues! Another advantage of that beautiful tool is the art of licking stamps to stick them to letters! Should never be forgotten.

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