Choking is responsible for 100% of some deaths in the U.S. every year. When it’s someone you know with a tater tot lodged in their gullet, you don’t want to be standing idly by. Understandably, you think your roommate would be a great source of practice for the Heimlich maneuver. Needless to say, it’s hard not to be weird about it. But if you follow these tips, you can become a first aid expert, and be discreet while you’re doing it:

Don’t be deterred — Remember: choking is very embarrassing. Your roommate will probably tell you they are not choking, but they’re just too humiliated to admit that they really are. Go ahead and start thrusting them anyway. They’ll thank you later.

Be proactive — Don’t wait for the choking to come to you, make your own opportunities! Go ahead and add Elmer’s glue to the dining hall breadcrumbs. It’ll add that extra traction on those chicken tenders going down your roommate’s throat. And who will be there to save the day? You, ready as ever, with your hands already around their waist, your fist placed firmly over their belly button, and your hot breath tingling the back of their neck. After you save their life, they might just fall in love with you.

Use tough love — People throw their kids in the pool so they don’t drown. Why? Out of tough love. For the same reason, go ahead and shove whole fruits down your roommate’s throat. It will hurt you more than it’s going to hurt them. Remember TANG — Think Apples, Not Grapes. They’ll understand when they’re older, and you can’t get older if you’re dead.

Prepare for the worst — Sure, the textbooks will teach you what to do if your roommate is in a nice restaurant with a chair to conveniently lean over. But reality can be messy, and you want to be prepared for anything. Start a long-term, committed relationship with your roommate. Once you’ve achieved a sufficient emotional connection to become intimate with one-another, go ahead and tie them to the bed. When they’re all gagged up and losing precious oxygen, that’s what they call the “Golden Hour” for the Heimlich, so work your magic.

Have a bystander call 911 — That way, there’s an ambulance if your roommate chokes. You probably shouldn’t be trusted to handle this yourself.

S. Leone

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