Remember when you were a kid, and you ate the fresh-out-of-the-oven pizza so fast that the roof of your mouth became stuccoed with blisters? Afterwards, your tongue couldn't help but play with the damaged skin of your palate - feeling out all of those bumps. For hours, even days afterward (depending on how hot the pizza had been) that tenderness remained. I injured myself so frequently in pizza eating mishaps, that as an adult - I'll let the pizza get to lukewarm to avoid repeating that sensation.
In all my 45 years, I'd never really burnt my tongue before. Not really. Minor heat-testing ouches on the tip lose all significance. That was amateur hour. Grated cheese, that has fallen onto a well-oiled griddle, may look dried up and innocuous, but really it's a deep fried tongue destroyer. One piece, demensioned at about 5 mm by 1.5 cm, can damage an area thrice that in size when it's in your mouth and you begin to panic.
"Ahhhhh! Unnnnnhhh! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!"
Spit! Spit! Spit!
"What are you doing?"
"Hot cheethe! Deep fried cheethe! On my tongue!!"
That deep-seated, pain-induced panic suddenly flashed me back 20 years to my time at the Canadian Space Agency. I'd gone for afternoon break with a couple people from the office. It was a hot, hot summer's day - we were on a Creamsicle Quest. In my haste to get the icy cold treat in my mouth, my tongue became stuck on the underside of that sweet orangeyness and when I immediately tried to pull it off, I somehow managed to get the rest of it stuck on the inside of my lips, creating a completely frozen mouth seal around the offending comestible.
I didn't want to draw attention to the fact that I'd made such a dim-witted food miscalculation (every Canadian knows not to place a relatively dry tongue on frozen things), so I let the Creamsicle rest where it was, desperate to keep the terror at bay, attempting to concentrate all my hot breath towards the front of my mouth. I contributed as best I could to the conversation around me with calm "Mmmmm-hmmmms" and "Un-unhs," my brain functions split between allowing for stilted vocalization, ensuring that I didn't hyperventilate and keeping me on my feet, for I was desperate to collapse in a full-on panic attack.
Where was the closest Emergency Room? Would I have to undergo a Lipectomy, and if so, would they have to use part of my vagina to fix my face?!? Then what would they use to fix my vagina? Would I have to have some dead woman's transplanted vagina?!? Would I then have Franken-Vagina?!? This is what went through my head for the 75 seconds it took for the exterior of the creamsicle to melt and release its hold on my mouth. To this day, eating a creamsicle for me is akin to being at the top of a roller coaster at Canada's Wonderland in that split second before it drops - deliciously terrifying.