Driving home from work one day in the lovely spring sunshine, I saw three different people in three different oncoming cars yawn at me. I yawned right back at them. I know yawns are contagious, but I really don't know why. Turns out no one else really knows, either.
Some interesting yawning facts:
- The average yawn lasts about 6 seconds
- Your heart rate can rise as much as 30% during a yawn
- 55% of people will yawn within five minutes of seeing someone else yawn
- Blind people yawn more after hearing an audio tape of people yawning
- Reading about yawning will make you yawn (oops! - sorry.)
- Dogs will often yawn in response to a human yawn. Cats probably just can't be bothered.
This really is leading to a story. I swear.
Newly married, my husband and I were renting a little house in small town Illinois. He worked for the local newspaper, I worked at a newspaper about 25 miles of cornfields away.
I was brushing my teeth one morning when he ran into the bathroom with a panicky look in his eye and his mouth wide open. "What are you doing?" I said. "I'm gonna be late for work." All he could do was point at his face and make weird guttural sounds. I grabbed a pad of paper and a pencil and handed it to him. He wrote, "Big yawn. Jaw stuck."
I am NOT kidding.
I called his work, told them that his jaw was stuck open, they laughed, I called my work, told them that his jaw was stuck open, they laughed, then we drove to the emergency room.
Not much trauma going on in a small town on a weekday morning. The emergency room was empty except for one very bored nurse. She scratched her head, called a few of the on-call doctors, nobody seemed to know what to do. By this time it had probably been an hour and my husband was in real pain. The decision was made to send us to an oral surgeon in a town about 35 miles away.
We got back in the car and headed south on I-57. He was worn out, I was worn out, he put his head back on the headrest and I drove like a bat out of hell. I noticed that every person I passed had a horrified look on their face. I didn't realize until later that with his head back and his mouth wide open, it must have looked like I had a corpse riding shotgun.
The oral surgeon's office was packed and everyone stared when we walked in. The receptionist gave me a clipboard with about 24 forms on it and said, "Sit down and fill this out."
Well - and I'm not proud to say it - I went nuts. "LISTEN, Sister" I said, "This is an EMERGENCY! We just drove 30 MILES to get here! The doctor's gonna see him RIGHT NOW and MAYBE I'll fill these out when I get around to it, SEE?" She sighed and said, "The doctor will see you now."
All the oral surgeon did was get my husband in a head lock and - click! - click! - he could shut his mouth. I thought, "Hell! I could have done that."
He was then given a prescription for painkillers that I found hilarious. The label read "May cause drowsiness."
I guess the moral of this story, kids, is Live big. Yawn small. And only read lively stories.