Thursday, January 21, 2010

What I'm Doing Wrong

(Author's note: "What I'm Doing Wrong" will be an ongoing series, as there appears no immediate danger that I will run out of things to chronicle.)

Today's word is "tongue bite." Yes, that's two words. If you're experiencing it, what does it matter how many words it has? And I've had it almost steady for a week.

So to tell this story, I have to go back to last Thursday's meeting of The Ozark Pipe Smokers. As is customary in our club, and I suspect the majority of smoking clubs in existence, our members enjoy bringing tobaccos with them to share. New, aged, it really doesn't seem to matter, and the majority of the time, there's a nice mix of styles. Something for everyone or everything for someone or something like that. On Thursday, the planets must have aligned, because I smoked Va/Per (a blend of Virginia and perique) after Va/Per after Va/Per.
Nothing wrong with that by itself, but you throw in a few other factors. I am not a Va/Per smoker. I've tried a few in passing, but never a lot at one time. All these blends were new to me. I smoked a lot of tobacco that night without stopping for long.
By the end of the night, the front edges of my tongue were sore. The next day, I had lost a lot of sensation other than that "burn." If you look at the graphic I swiped from the University of Nevada Medical Center, you'll see that I had affected the taste buds that detect sweetness, leaving those that sense sour, salty and bitter flavors. Figures.
So now I picked up the pipe on Friday and returned to my usual blends. New blends can cause tongue bite as your body adjusts, usually making it dissipating with time. So it would stand to reason that smoking your normal stuff would reverse the effects. Well, no matter how many bowls I smoked, it stayed. And it was still there then next day, and the one after, and the one after that. Bowl after bowl after bowl. Right now, I'm smoking my go-to blend, McClelland 5100. I smoke it often enough that, if anything will fix tongue bite, it will. But it's still there.

(The solution: Unfortunately, there isn't much of one. Tongue bite can be avoided by becoming accustomed to a blend, smoking it slowly, avoiding moisture in the bowl, and other simple steps, but it will eventually happen. Drinking something, practically anything, can also help. So can eating. I'm told sweets are best. Ironic, isn't it? But when you get a real good case of tongue bite, the only sure cure is to take a break from smoking and let your tongue recover. Please note, this may be the only time I tell anyone to not smoke.)

1 comment:

  1. Pipe club meetings can be a great "tongue bite" fest. With a seemingly endless supply of samples being passed around it is easy to get caught up and over indulge. The worst problem for me is it doesn't usually afford me the opportunity to prepare the tobacco to my preference as I tend to like my tobaccos prepared on the dry side. Thankfully the club meetings are far enough apart to allow for full recovery.