The Insanity of Tongue Depressors

First of all, they always say you’re never supposed to shove large wooden objects into your mouth.

As far back as I can remember, my third grade teacher Mrs. Miller (which is, yes, as far back as I can remember) used to tell us kids not to put the paste-stick in our mouths, not to put pencils or pens in our mouths (which I did), and not to try and bite off the rods on the top of the mini-chairs we sat on.

If you sit down and think about it, adults have been telling kids for a millenium not to eat or chew on wooden objects and definitely not to put anything like that in their mouths. Wood in mouths is an off-limit dealio.

So, then — why do doctors get to shove flat, long pieces of wood into our mouths and tell us to say “Aaaaah”?

Yes, yes, yes. I know the real reason. I know that they use the long wooden tongue depressor (right, thus the name of the object) to shove our tongue down so they can see farther back into our throats. I got that. But why wood? Wood, with splinters? Why not create a sort of hybrid plastic/flavored tongue depressor object instead of wood? We’re not still building log cabins in the world (on the whole) so why do doctors still have to use wooden rods to push our tongues down?

I’m against it. Plain and simple.

And while we’re on the subject, why do they have to tell us to say “Aaaaaah”? Yes, yes, yes. All you nay-sayers are saying to the screen that “Well, of course you have to say that because that’s the one word that opens up your throat more than just plainly and mutely opening your mouth, you stupid man you!” But, there are other words that will work just as good as “Aaah”, which I have tested and which are listed below:

Oh, yeaaaaah!
Uh huh, yeaaaaah!
Aaaaaaah, naaaawww!
Heeeeeeeaaaaah!
Raaaawwwwkin’ good time, yeeeaah!

There are thousands more. You almost have to wonder if when doctors are going through residency, especially those trying to be pediatricians, if there is a portion of a class dedicated to how you coax little children to open their mouths and utter the “approved phrase of Aaaaah” for the tongue depressor situation.

Tongue depressor? Plain depressing.

So, if I may conclude with simple bullet-points that will prove how right I am on the insanity of tongue depressors:

– Wood is bad.
– Tongue depressors should be made of plastic.
– Yeeeeaaaaaah vs. Aaaaaaaah.
– Insanity
– I’m right.
– Thank you.

Until we meet again, this is the real official Pauly D saying good-day.

3 comments on “The Insanity of Tongue Depressors

  1. Andrea - August 29, 2004 at 8:44 am -

    Hmm…in vet med, we just open the mouth and look in, no tongue depressor necessary. I wonder if that’s why we’re bitten so often. But what could you make a dog say, even if you did use one?

  2. Amy - August 30, 2004 at 12:09 pm -

    I have to completely agree with you especially on bullet points one and two.
    Just looking at the picture and reading your post gave me those skin-crawling-willies that I get whenever I eat a malt cup with one of those wodded “spoons” at the baseball game. **shiver**

  3. groovebunny - September 1, 2004 at 12:29 am -

    I’m totally with ya on the tongue depressor. The flavored plastic depressor is a good idea…or better yet…why can’t they just shove a Pixie Stix in our mouths to make us go “Aaahhhh”? That would save wasted plastic…as they would most likely throw it in the trash after using it once, thus further filling up our ever increasing land fills with more garbage…and we can all have a Pixie Stix treat after the hated “Aaaahhhh” exam is over. 🙂

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