CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Why can't I have one of those cute nervous tics other people have? The twitching eye. The lovable stammer. Maybe that endearing back and forth shifting from left foot to right.
Why must my nervous tic be a stomach so vocal its fat-muffled cries of distress are easily audible to all within earshot? Why must mine be so gifted that to merely growl loudly isn't enough? Why must mine enunciate, too?
I admit I was anxious about starting my new job, though outwardly, I worked hard to maintain an air of calm confidence.
But my belly betrayed me.
"I'm sorry," said a new co-worker. "I didn't quite hear what you said."
"That's OK," I said. "It was nothing."
My gut disagreed. It spoke up again. This time in such a long, drawn-out manner that each of its many syllables could not ignored. Nor could they be understood.
It sounded as if it were saying, "Cheerios are evil. God save the queen."