Living With Geographic Tongue

Living With Geographic Tongue

That weird tongue disease
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Warning! There will be pictures of varying degrees of grossness. If you are squeamish and think weird tongues might freak you out, please locate the nearest exit.

Tongues. They reside in our mouths, are incredibly flexible — sometimes freakishly so — and are the strongest muscle in the human body. These muscles have always been a source of weird tricks and traits. Some people can roll it into a shape that vaguely resembles a taco, others can make the clover and then there are those that can somehow straight up fold their tongue in half.

These strange tongue facts are news to no one, but there is something I'm willing to bet that the majority of people don't know about. If you are a fan of watching bizarre medical conditions videos, you may have heard of this condition called geographic tongue. "What's that?" you who have not heard of this ailment ask. Well, it's something I have lived with every day for as long as I can remember. Geographic tongue is a disease (I'm not a fan of the word "disease," but I'm not in charge here) that is centralized to the surface of the tongue. For some unknown reason, it causes raised white lines and/or bald patches all over the tongue - that's where the geographic part comes in.

According to the Mayo Clinic, geographic tongue is listed as a harmless ailment, but I would disagree. True, it will not kill you — unless you're allergic to having a weird looking tongue — but it can definitely cause harm. You see, this condition brings with it an incredibly delightful increased sensitivity to spicy and acidic things. I'm not talking about a slight increase either. What I'm talking about is an "I've become so sensitive that the small amount of acid in a banana hurts me," increased sensitivity.

Just imagine, you go home and you find out that your mother has made that delicious chili for dinner. You know the one I'm talking about. Everyone at the table can easily consume their entire bowl while barely being bothered by the relatively small amount of spice. You however — oh boy — you get to the end of your bowl (which has been loaded with heat reducers like sour cream and cheese, and you even ate most of it with buttered crackers!) and you're sweating like a pig because of the ridiculous amount of heat and pain radiating from your tongue. You're almost in tears, and you find yourself wondering, "Is my tongue bleeding? It feels like it's bleeding." No, your tongue isn't bleeding. It's just dangerously red, welted and dreading tomorrow's leftovers.

It can't get worse than that, can it? Sorry to ruin your dreams, but it can. Geographic tongue by itself causes sensitivity, but those unlucky enough, much like myself, will also find themselves in possession of a fissured tongue. This condition causes lovely little groves to cover the tongue and its own round of spicy/acidic food caused pain.

There's nothing quite like a double pain whammy that makes your tongue look gross, am I right?

Cover Image Credit: Dental Studio 101

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I'm The Customer That Doesn't Always Tip 20 Percent

I can be your best friend or your worst nightmare, but it depends on YOU.
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As a server, I fully understand that myself, and others like me, make a living off of our tips.

I know how nice it is to get a $50 tip and how frustrating it is to get merely change when you did everything you could to make the unpleasable table happy. I am well aware that an acceptable tip is anywhere from 15-20% and I typically tip way over that.
However, I can easily say that there have been times where I have tipped anywhere from 5-15%. In these times, the tip was well deserved...or not deserved.

As before mentioned, I am a server, bartender, and part-time restaurant manager. It is safe to say that I know the business quite well. This makes me aware of the tipping process and what is deemed acceptable, but it also makes me aware of what a serving job entails. We are, without a doubt, the worst critics when we are out to eat. We noticed everything you did or didn't do and we timed how long it took to get our drinks -- it's just in our blood.

We also notice if you are genuinely good at your job, or if you are just there to be there.

The key point to any serving job is knowledge. I, as a customer, expect you to be able to answer almost all of my questions. If I ask you something absurd like "exactly where was your lettuce grown?" ....Like what the f****? Who knows that? But when I ask what beers you have on draft, or what all comes on a salad, I expect you to know it. If you don't, I dock it off your tip. No, it's not mean, it's you not holding up your end of the deal when you started this job.

I know that sometimes you get busy and it's hard to cater to someone's every need, but I do expect my refills in a timely manner and would also expect you to check back with me shortly after I get my food to make sure everything tastes good. I feel like that all is just common sense. If I have to wait for five minutes with an empty glass before I even have the chance to call you over, that's going to affect your tip. If you never check up on me after I get my food, guess what, I take it off your tip. If something goes wrong in the kitchen or you forgot to put my order in, do not avoid me. Tell me. I know how hard it is to tell a table that you are the one who screwed up their experience, but it is so much better to be honest and shows more about your integrity than by saying, "I don't know, the kitchen lost your ticket. There was a computer malfunction and then things caught fire. The firemen had to come and put it out, and then they found your ticket under the smoldering embers...so that's why your steak is five minutes late.".... Just tell me you got busy and it slipped your mind. I'm okay with that.

The worst one to me is when I see my server on her phone. I know that today's generation has some need to be in contact with everyone 24/7 and I have learned to accept that. But when I need something at my table, and you fail to notice because your girl friend just broke up with her boyfriend who cheated on her with his supposed best friend...I'm not going to be happy. You are here to work and this is your job. And, not to be conceded, but I come first. I am the one paying the bill that allows you to keep that phone your on in service, so make sure that I am happy before Samantha can't call you the next time shit hits the fan with Andrew. It's common sense.

Despite all of these, probably the number one thing I look for in a server is a positive attitude. We all have our own lives outside of work, and not to be cold, but I don't really care about yours. I am here for a nice dinner and a night out to not worry about my own crazy life let alone wonder about yours. As soon as you walk into work, the outside world needs to stay there. Do not be in a terrible mood because your girlfriend is psycho. Do not show the customer that you simply don't want to be at work. You don't want to be -- I don't tip you. Easy as that. If you engage in even a small conversation with me, I will tip you more than expected. I am extremely easy to please and really understanding.

I know that every place is different and every store/restaurant has different standards, but I the guest-service industry all lies on the same guidelines. The number one rule is to make the guest happy. I am not that guest who asks for the world from my server. Nor am I that guest who doesn't tip my server if my food came out overcooked or doesn't taste good. I know what lies on the server and what lies in other areas of the store. I know what they can and can't control.
As a customer, I can be your best or your worst, but that all lies on the service that I receive from YOU.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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A bowl a pho keeps everything bad away.

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