Someone asked that question when the tiny shuffle came out, so we tried it. Well, we didn't, but we found someone who did: The very sweet sword-swallower Heather Holiday, from the Coney Island Circus.
Heather is a professional sword swallower. Someone with no gag reflex—or better said, trained to suppress it while swallowing 36-inch long solid steel swords down her throat. No tricks, no smoke and mirrors. She's the real deal. I saw her swallow an entire—and very large—soup spoon with my own eyes in a second. She didn't even blinked. She gobbled it down like I eat maple-syrup-bathed buttermilk pancakes.
Needless to say, she had the right credentials to try our test: Swallow the tiny, 1.8 x 0.7 x 0.3-inch iPod shuffle and then take it out again, after we have listened to a couple of songs thanks to the in-cable remote control—which is a bad idea for regular use, but it's great to play songs when someone has the iPod down the esophagus.
Unfortunately, as you will see in the video, she wasn't able to do it for a number of reasons. First, the iPod shuffle is way too light. Apart from controlling your gag reflex, her technique for swallowing swords use the force of gravity to pull them down. She also uses her esophagus muscles to control how fast it gets in her body, but the gravity is what pull downs the sword. With the iPod shuffle—which is only 0.38 ounces or 10.7 grams—this was impossible. The iPod just hanged there and had to be pushed with her hand or a large object—like a spoon—to get into the entry of her throat. However, from there it was not possible to make it go down.
Click to viewHeather thinks she can do it with more training—or maybe pushing it with something larger—so she took the iPod with her and will be back when she can do it. Until then, here's the answer to the question: No, you can't swallow the iPod shuffle, even if it's small enough to get it in. If the iPod shuffle is sword-swallower proof, it's certainly child- and moron-proof.
Heather Holiday photo by Roma Steel