It happened two nights ago. We were vegging on the couch after a long first week back at school. We both teach so Friday nights after our kids get to bed we usually find ourselves on the couch zoning out for a few minutes before tuning back in to each other and our lives.
I plopped on the couch and fell down a rabbit hole of Baby Yoda memes. It started with a slight giggle as Baby Yoda asked the Mandalorian for “choccy miwky” to drink. A little funny, I guess, unless you’re a high school teacher who is delirious from a first week’s worth of teaching. Then it’s shoulder-shaking funny. The kind where you’re trying to keep it together because you’re tired wife is zoned out next to you on the couch and you don’t want to disturb her. Ss your shoulders shimmy up and down rapidly trying to hold in laughter.
But then I swiped to the next meme and there was tired Baby Yoda’s gaze reaching three fingers forward with caption “Reaching for the snoozey-snuz button” at which point I chortled. I like the snoozey-snuz buttong mroe than I should and on the Buffalo Wild Wings scale a laugh is Honey BBQ level. A chortle is something like Asian Zing. I lost it. At this point my wife began taking note.
“What’s funny?” she said looking up from her own phone scrolling with slight annoyance at my delirium.
At this point I swiped to the showstopper. Baby Yoda giddy-gauzing at the Wheel of Fortune board with words “chicki nuggie” on the board as the solved puzzle. On a Friday night after kids are in bed on the first full week back at school—that is Mango Habanero level funny.
I showed the meme to my wife. She Honey BBQ-level laughed and looked at a couple more memes knowing I was in a sort of tired-teacher-trance state of laughter.
It was nearing time for bed and we'd been taking a tablespoon of elderberry syrup before bed recently because that seems to be how adults adult themselves these days. I sillily gestured to my wife I’d give her a tablespoon like we do our kids and she accepts the offer. I extend the spoon and, just before elderberry entry, she says in a child’s voice…”chickie nuggie.”
We both lose it. And it would’ve been a silly chortle fest except when we lose it my wife immediately engulfs the elderberry syrup into her lungs at which point they clinch up and close down. They have, after all, just received a foreign object into them.
Rachel immediately begins to weeze and grasp for air while clutching her throat.
I pause, uncertain what is happening for a moment, and then realize my wife is choking. She begins walking this way and that trying to gather herself and free her lungs for air. After a good minute, or was it an eternity, I say “Should I do the heimlich?!”
And as I walk toward her she finally takes a good, slow, breath from the depths of her body as air begins re-entering her lungs. After a moment she emerges from her perilous state and explains to me what happened with the elderberry syrup.
I was shaken because, in that moment, she had spiraled immediately to a state of peril. I looked with relief at her pale face as she recovered her breath. She was with us.
The next day I was recounting to our friends what happened the night before. It dawned on me what her last words would’ve been. So, of course, I made this meme.