One of the many things I admire about our president is that you seldom see him yawn.

For a guy who has a lot on his plate, works long hours and jets around the globe trying to solve the world's problems, you hardly ever see Barack Obama yawn.

I've watched him listening to long, tedious debates, sitting through boring meetings, paying close attention to late-night concerts and talking to his family in more private settings.

But not even once have I seen him yawn, which is amazing.

Personally, if I had cameras on me as much as Obama has, all you would see are my tonsils.

I'm a yawner. I admit it. We all try not to yawn, but it happens. Especially if you think about it.

See what I mean?


People who study yawning think they know why we yawn, but they're not sure.

Some experts say it's a natural function of our bodies trying to inhale more oxygen. They say it's an involuntary action that dates back to when we were in the womb.

Granted, the womb was boring, but probably not as bad as that last budget meeting you attended.

And we're not alone. Other animals yawn. Just observe your dog or cat and you'll see them yawning all the time. And they don't even have to go to meetings.

Others believe yawning is the body's way of controlling brain temperature. Some argue that it's a way of keeping the mind alert.

One thing I know for sure is that it's almost impossible to stop a yawn. Once you feel it coming on, there's almost nothing you can do to stop it. And if you do try to stop it or cover it up, you might die trying.

Some very unscientific surveys, however, convince us that there is one true thing about yawns. That once someone stretches out his arms, throws his head back, drops his lower jaw and really gets into a big, old-fashioned yawn, it's incredibly contagious.


I've yawned at weddings, including some of my own, and at funerals, not out of disrespect, but because I saw somebody else yawn.

All it takes is that trigger mechanism and you're on your way. It might happen instantly. It may even take a minute or two. But sooner or later, you're going to yawn.

Perhaps it's because a yawn reminds us that we're almost always tired, that we're not getting enough rest or we need to slow down.

Maybe it's just a primal release of energy, or a way of controlling stress.

Unfortunately, yawning sends a message to everyone else that either you're bored or you're sleepy or you'd rather be somewhere else.

To date, there is no cure. So just cover your mouth politely, enjoy it and apologize later.

Because nothing feels better than a big, fat, lazy, fly-catching yawn. Except, of course, the next one, which is never far behind.