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I dislike the term Mouth Breather as a derogatory term for one simple reason:  I am a mouth breather.  I sit at my computer screen with my jaw slack.  I have to replace my pillows every six months due to copious amounts of drool.  I often look as though I am the slack-jawed love child of an unholy union between two backwoods cousins in West Virginia.  But I can’t help it.  I breathe through my mouth.

There are several reasons for this:

  1. I physically can not breathe through my nose without it whistling.  And which is more annoying?  A mouth breather, or a nose whistler?  I thought so.
  2. I have been sick with bronchitis nearly 1/4 of my life from the age of 0 until I turned 25.  I used to get sick every single time the seasons changed.  I used to be able to call up my doctor and tell him what medication I needed.  ("Hey Dr. _______.  This is Matt Armstrong.  Could you call in a prescription for 21 500mg pills of Erethromyacin?  I’ve got bronchitis again?  No Keflex doesn’t work for my anymore, remember?  Well, Zithromax worked pretty well last time, but this time it’s just the lung congestion.  I’m not sure we need something as strong as Zithromax.")  It’s hard to breathe through your nose when it’s constantly filled with snot.  And anyone who says that I should just blow my nose and I’ll be fine has obviously never experienced what it’s like when I’m sick.  If I were to blow my nose every time it got clogged up, I’d look like this:

    http://entrenoussoitdit.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/michael-jackson-nose.jpg

  3. I’m fairly certain I have a deviated septum or something, because I can’t get a full lungful of air when I’m breathing through my nose.  So even if my nose didn’t whistle like Robert Stemmons on a concert tour, I still couldn’t breathe through my nose because I’d suffer brain damage from lack of oxygen.  (And it’s not like I need any more brain damage than I already have, thank you very much.)
  4. One side of my jaw is about an inch longer than the other side of my jaw, so it sort of hurts to keep my jaw closed tight.  The fix: a very expensive surgery requiring splitting mandible on the short side of my jaw, extending that split, screwing the bones back together, and then wiring my jaw shut for six weeks.  While I can’t deny that that might make for a really killer weight loss plan, I’m fairly certain that my wonderful "insurance" coverage wouldn’t pay for that since my jaw being off center does is not equivalent to a sucking chest wound–apparently the only thing my insurance company actually will pay for.  (I’m really glad I pay so much money for health care that doesn’t cover anything at all. No.  We don’t need health care reform in the US…)  (Also parenthetically [I love parentheticals] this is why I can’t get braces to straighten up my nasty-ass teeth.  I’d have to get the surgery before I could get the braces, and I can’t get the surgery.)
  5. Sometimes, when I get really engrossed in something–reading, playing a video game, looking at porn beating up hookers, writing a blog post, I forget that I am educated above a fourth grade level, and I just let my face go slack.

So, in conclusion: yes, I breathe through my mouth.  I also managed to get an MBA with a 4.0 GPA.  So please, before you denigrate someone by calling them a mouth breather as an insult, think of those of us who wish we weren’t mouth breathers, but have to be.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go wash my pillow cases.

  • Brett

    Take up running. Do it long enough and it clears/cleans your lungs out real well. Running helps you never get sick.  And I noticed you have a weight problem.  I may have just saved your life. 

  • Connie

    Yeah, but if you're a mouth breather, then you probably don't have to deal with jaw tension when you sing, because your jaw is always slack?  There's a silver lining. 

  • Nate

    Fortunately, you happen to have a friend who is in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery residency and knows just how to perform said surgery.  I also know the magic words to tell evil insurance companies to get said procedures approved (well, at least sometimes).  As long as you don't mind a numb face, I could help you some day if you don't mind being operated on by the kid you played endless hours of civilization with 15 years ago. Oh yeah, and you usually don't have to be wired shut anymore, either.
    Nate

  • Well, if you ever happen to end up in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest, I’ll have to start saving up my pennies to cover the ludicrous deduction on said surgery. :)