Is This You? Foaming at the mouth over Styrofoam

There are a few things that set my teeth on edge. Wait, what exactly does that mean? Set your teeth on edge. To me it means something that makes me all squiggly and my mouth contorts because I just can’t hardly take the sight, sound or smell of something. Today, I must admit it’s Styrofoam that drives me to that edge. Silly, huh?

Some people will cringe about fingernails raked across a chalkboard. Just the mere suggestion of running a cupped hand with fingernails pointed downward and all a glow across a flat chalkboard can send shivers up and down and back up a spine or two. EEECCCHHH!

Then there are those who just can’t take the sound of chewing. Not really a cow/cud chewing, but a human sitting at a table next to you chewing up a bite of salad as salad is a bit more vocal than, say, a piece of bread. But bread with butter and jam will cause some slurping, and that’s just as bad as chewing for some. Much-slurp-munch. Add to that scraping your teeth with the tines of your fork? I’m all squiggly now!

This isn’t chewing, but if you sit next to someone who has TMJ, that popping of their jaw as they chew? That, too, for some people is enough to send us hovering in the corner counting the ants that come out of the baseboards. It’s not just the popping, it’s the anticipation of the pop. Bite, chew, chew, pop, chew, chew, wait for it — pop, pop. TMJ however is a medical condition and should be overlooked by you and me. Maybe earplugs would be appropriate.

For me, it’s Styrofoam. Those unobtrusive cups, coolers, packing slabs. It always squeaks. It emits a dry, scratchy squeak. Packages which have Styrofoam packing inside need to be identified on the outside to give us Styrofoam challenged people time to steel ourselves against the coming squeaky stuff! I cringe when I open a package I have waited for and there it is, white, clean, tightly packed so I have dig at the Styrofoam with my fingernail to move it and get that dry, teeth-edge-setting dry squeak. Oh, my tongue is running across the inside of my screwed up mouth just as I sit here and think about it. Silly, huh? I think I said that already. But it bears repeating because it really is silly. But it’s also real.

I mean, it’s not like we make these idiosyncrasies up. Why would we put ourselves through the contortions of nearly turning inside out at the mere sight of brown socks with black pants? Or an ever annoying thing might be as bland as using the word “like” over and over again in every sentence. This like I’m sure is more of like a teenage thing used to like drive parents over like the edge! Yeah, like a little word could drive us crazy ...

Laugh or go crazy is something I say quite often. I figure laughter is the greatest relief valve. Of course you have to use it wisely. I wouldn’t laugh during a eulogy or other solemn event. But I would expect someone to laugh with me at the contortions my mouth makes when that crummy Styrofoam makes me all goofy. So next time you find something that sets your teeth on edge — whatever that means — look in the nearest mirror and say hi to your silly self!

Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada. Share with her at Really!


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