By Sandy Welch Thompson
Last year I wrote an article about my dad. At the end, Clinton added an Editor’s Note. Specifically it was in regard to how my dad felt about people crunching ice. Let me tell ya folks, this apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I laughed and laughed at what he wrote, because it was totally my dad. He used to accuse my mom of being able to crunch mashed potatoes. Quite honestly, I have issues with this nonsense too, but more so the way people choose to eat.
Now we all know there are certain foods that require a crunch. Fried chicken, check. Kettle chips, check, even celery, carrots and ice. Check, check and check. But Good Lord, there has to be a limit to what we need to hear. I found out recently there is a name for this negative reaction I have to hearing people eat.
It’s called misophonia. It’s real. Not many studies have been done on it, but it’s real! I am very happy to report that there is an actual condition attached to this THING from which I suffer.
As defined on wikipedia: People who have misophonia are most commonly angered by specific sounds, such as slurping, throat-clearing, nail-clipping, chewing, drinking, tooth-brushing, breathing, sniffing, talking, sneezing, yawning, walking, gum-chewing or popping, laughing, snoring, swallowing, gulping, typing, coughing, humming, whistling, singing, certain consonants, or repetitive sounds. While I do not have issues with many of these sounds, I will admit that I can handle only very little of certain ones. Some of what they mention is unavoidable, but some are not.
For instance, slurping is just disallowed in my home. It’s disgusting and in no way indicates anything except being rude while enjoying your beverage or ice cream. Humming is like whistling, is like singing. If you suck at it, stop doing it. If you don’t know you suck at it, I’m gonna tell ya that you suck at it if I have to listen to it very long. I have no issue with chewing as mentioned above, but chewing with your mouth open? Awe heck no. That’s called smacking, plain and simple. And I guarantee you that was never allowed in dad’s house. It’s not allowed in my house either (pretty sure that goes for my siblings homes as well). In fact, I KNOW it is taboo there as well. Even my dog is cautious.
I hope each of you always have enough to eat and I hope you get to eat what you like. But that’s about as far as my commitment to you goes. If you start smackin’ your food, just know that you need to go back to the remedial eating class with the toddlers. It’s tacky, it’s rude and it’s selfish. Oh! You want me to go on? Sure, I will. It’s also juvenile, disgusting to witness and it exhibits your complete lack of concern for anyone you are around. Nobody wants to see your lunch hanging out of your mouth, and they certainly don’t want the audio along with it. I don’t care if it’s gum, ice, crackers or Lord forbid, popcorn…SHUT YOUR MOUTH!
Crunch if you must, but do it with the trap shut. If you insist on eating these things slowly, then you better keep those lips together while you do it. I am sure there is a YouTube video somewhere on proper dining etiquette. Look it up. Become one with the manners. Eating your food shouldn’t sound like you are busting sheetrock nails with your teeth. I should be able to share a meal with someone without wanting to throw them and their food out the window. I get that kids do it. It’s our responsibility as parents to teach them good manners. These fragile young spirits need culturing. Trust me when I say I have issue in my own home.
Ask my kids how many times they have heard, “Quit smacking or quit eating!” I have on occasion, taken their plates to the sink prior to their finishing dinner because smacking is just not gonna happen around me. When I have said it 10 times to no avail, it is time to remove the cause of the problem. Guess who stops smacking when they get their plate back? Think it’s harsh? No, it’s not. It is teaching them to master the art of dining. Nobody should eat like they’ve been raised in the wild. You must learn to set an example for the young uns’ to follow. Adults? A whole other level of stupid when it comes to this stuff. Adults who do this are just nasty. I have zero tolerance and absolutely no forgiveness. You can’t buy class people. This smacking annoyance crosses all boundaries of income, position and even age. I know 40, 50 and 60 year old people, highly intelligent, well paid patrons of society that eat like this every single day of their lives.
Unless you have a medical reason for eating with your mouth open, shut it! Nobody wants to hear your revolting sound effects and we certainly don’t want to see the result. Bartenders take alcohol away to save lives, right? Well, I’m thinkin’ it would be wise for a Good Samaritan to take food away from a smacker if I’m within earshot of this nasty habit. Can you imagine just walking up to someone at work, taking their plate and just saying, “Um no…we are really done here. Okay? It is for your own health. Trust me.” Grown adults should know how to eat. You don’t have to be dignified, but you should at least be conscious of manners. Where were the parents when they were growing up? JEEZ! These people eat, so they can hear themselves. They smack slowly so as to enjoy every tiny bite of whatever they shove in their mouths. They don’t care one flip that everyone around them is praying for patience and grace to handle the situation without resorting to violence.
Think I am overreacting? Maybe, but put yourself in my shoes. Try actively listening to someone bite into an apple and slowly chew each piece with their mouth open. I applaud you if you don’t smack THEM. Now think about what that does to your concentration at work or watching a movie. You’ll never be the same again. From this point on, you will hear every bite go in and every bite get processed. Ever have to look at someone who is sucking on hard candy or chewing a Starburst, mouth wide open, while they attempt to carry on a conversation with you? Here’s your feed bucket Bessie, take your “cud” and go on out to the barn with the other animals. They may not mind it so much. The one that puts me over the top? The one that makes me grind my jaws to a point of literally gnashing own my teeth? Popcorn! One ever-freakin’ last SMACKIN’ piece at a time. The sound of hearing a person smack their popcorn slowly is the reason I’m gonna go to jail one day. Not a good mix, I tell ya. Not a good mix at all.
To sum, that Wikipedia page mentions that sufferers of misophonia experience fight/flight symptoms such as sweating, muscle tension, and quickened heartbeat. I am the poster child for that statement. I feel the desire to smack the smacker each and every time. Trust me when I say I’m not alone. If I was, there wouldn’t be a name for what I have. Some of you may think it’s a new kind of crazy, but apparently there is great support out there for me. Thanks for this open-door session of “Sandy’s Snarky Snip-its”. Whew! I feel better. How about you? Wait…please…before you respond, make sure there’s no food in your mouth. The world would appreciate it.