Occasionally you hear of someone enduring a case of the hiccups that lasts decades, and then your seasonal allergies don’t seem quite as bad. If I had to choose, though, I might go with infinite hiccups over the agony of NEVER BEING ABLE TO BURP, a bizarre and nameless medical condition stoically endured by Neil Ribbens, 34, of East London, since childhood.
It wasn’t until this past February that he underwent a procedure — Botox injections in the throat — which apparently cured his ailment.
Wait, What the Hell Happened to This Guy?
The injection was given by Yakubu Karagama, an ENT surgeon and laryngologist who runs a private clinic at the Alexandra Hospital in Manchester and has pioneered this treatment. The botox relaxes the larynx, which in Ribbens’ case had long ago become too tensed to allow the escape of gas through his mouth. Karagama told the Manchester Evening News that such patients “are often ridiculed and their concerns dismissed, but it’s no laughing matter for those who are affected by the condition.”
By the way: When the gas buildup got extreme — and apart from suffering weird throat gurglings, acid flavors and sometimes terrible hiccups — he’d have no choice but to force a “lower” release in the form of a “vicious” fart. So yeah, try being that guy.
A Life Without Burping Is No Life at All
If you remain unconvinced that a burp-free existence would be truly wretched, read on: “Left in agony after meals when the affliction stopped him releasing gas from his stomach,” the Daily Mail reports, Ribbens had to avoid overeating or “going to the pub.”
Please try to imagine living your entire 20s without either indulgence, because I’m weeping just typing those words. “Oi mate, swing round the pub, the lads are having a pint.” Sorry, I’m physically unable to burp and would be ready to explode after the first drink. “Fancy a cheeky late-night kebab?” No, I’ve already consumed an unwise amount of food today and may die of bloating.
It’s crazy and inspiring to me that this didn’t prevent Ribbens from getting a girlfriend and a nice job working for a record label — I would have resented regular burpers too much to have a normal life. Not once had he even so much as tweeted the word “burp,” whereas I’m sure I could have complained about my miserably burpless existence 24/7 on every social media channel I had.
It made me consider how deeply ingrained burping is in homosocial behavior. Hell, I took shit from the other boys in grade school because I didn’t burp as loudly or expertly as they did. It’s probably why I’m socially awkward and have trouble making male friends to this day. If I hadn’t been burping at all… man, I’d be in prison by now.
Anyway, a much deserved congr — [hearty belch] — atulations, Neil, on finally letting loose whenever there’s a rumbling in your tummy. It seems only fitting that a man with the last name “Ribbens” is now “burping like a frog.” I want to see you in a beer ad. But please, for the love of god, don’t start burping too much. That could be quite serious.