I was brought up to believe that spitting, even if I called it “expectorating,” was vile. I was led to believe that spitters were corrupt, nasty, icky, disgusting, and had communistic tendencies. So I didn’t spit. I took on the unified and consistent teachings of my parents and elementary school teachers.
Since I’ve lived in the South a long time now, and never learned to spit, I feel as if my manhood has somehow been eroded. Even though, in my dark and sordid past, I hunted and fished and even played golf, I don’t do those things any more. I don’t have a pickup truck. I don’t hang around WalMart in a sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off revealing my barbed wire tattooed biceps. All because I never learned to spit.
It wasn’t that I didn’t try. I did. I failed. The best I could do was blow out a kind of spray with no direction, power, or concentrated warhead. I could expectorate a watermelon seed a little ways, controlling its direction, but that’s not the same as spitting, um, well, you know – SPIT. I have given up, which is a sign of a failure.
Someone suggested I get a little dab of Chattanooga Chew and practice spittin’ brown juice. I drew a line on that one. I do not want to emulate grasshoppers.
Still, somehow, men in the South just know how. As I look out my office window I see college students spitting, demonstrating that spitters can’t be profiled only as illiterate rednecks from deep in the piney forests, although I have had a few freshmen that were those things. The art of spitting spreads across generations, races, ethnic groups, and just about any religious belief. And so, to me, the evidence is clear that if I’m to be a real man, I need to learn how to spit.
On the other hand, I just remembered that I have a chainsaw and know how to wield it. Without spitting. There. My voice is getting deeper already.