Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Art of Spitting

In the 1950s men taught boys to spit still. It is likely an art more than a science and went right along with learning to make knives stick in the ground playing Mumblypeg. It was a part of the history of men before men's and women's liberation and political correctness arrived. I was surprised to learn that at least in California that spitting from a car is considered littering punishable by a fine if someone catches you (like the police) supposedly. However, I have never heard of anyone being punished for spitting unless it was spitting on another person. Lately, I have noticed people when stopped at a stop light opening their doors and spitting straight down.

When I was growing up in the 1950s men might laugh at other men regarding this and say to them, "What's the matter didn't anyone teach you to spit right?"

So, I guess I'm writing this because I miss the way things were. Learning to spit, throwing knives into the ground playing mumblypeg and laughing and telling the jokes among men and boys and women having their own culture and communication was the way things were then. And there was a lot to like about the way things were then.

Not all change is good and the same is true of some of the things that have changed since the 1950s.

If you want to learn how to spit you have to practice a lot. There is the way you hold the spit on your tongue and learn to engage your expectorant with fast moving air. It sort of has to be phlem rather than just saliva to work well at first. However, if you practice in your back yard or somewhere people won't bother you, you eventually can spit 5 to 10 feet. But, it does take practice.

For example, in India in Bihar State in the 1980s when I was there with my family men were very accurate at spitting Beetlejuice which is a disgusting red juice that I'm told has an effect a little like coffee or cigarettes as a stimulant and for energy. So, everywhere I went in some cities in Bihar State where Bodhgaya is the gutters alongside the streets next to the sidewalks would all be full of all the red Beetlejuice spittle from all the mostly men who chewed and spit beetlejuice to be up enough to get work done during the day.

One day my step son was running not to miss the excellent service bus we had booked to ride from India all the way into Nepal to Kathmandu. It was booked by mostly fairly well off people so everyone who rode it spoke English which wasn't true of the general populace approximately 60% of which had no education at all (at that point in history 1985 and 1986). Because there was no public education in India then only private schools. And if you couldn't afford the right clothes and shoes and tuition then you didn't go to school at all ever.

Anyway, my then 14 year old son was running to catch the bus because he wanted to buy something from a vendor and fell and skidded in the gutter and got red beetlejuice spittle on him and his clothes. But, because the bus had to leave immediately he had no water to clean it off of him while he rode on the bus. However, strange things like this often happened in India in the 1980s so most people took things like this in stride. So we had too also.

I find being able to spit (especially when hiking out in the country or being able to spit into a toilet and extremely useful survival  skill especially when there are not handkerchiefs or toilet paper or kleenex tissues nearby. Another useful skill used to be knowing how to cup your hands to drink from streams.

However, now most people don't use this skill or lay down at the side of a river or stream to suck up water directly into their mouths either because most water is either too polluted to do that or there is giardia in the waters almost everywhere on earth now. So, unless it is boiled before you drink it or has clorine or Fluoride in it it isn't safe to drink anyway most places on earth. So, one by one all the really useful skills people used to learn drop away it seems. And I think it is sad to lose so much of our culture and history this way.

Along with spitting, cupping one's hands to drink from a rivulet or stream or river and being in wild places a lot (there used to be many more wild places than now worldwide) it is hard to get used to all these changes for me one by one and I long for many of the things we took for granted in the 1950s and before that simply aren't done anymore. So, whether it is the 1950s or the 1900s we have many things to be nostalgic for that are no more.

Many people might tell you things are better now. That isn't true. The are NOT better they are simply different. I personally prefer mostly what we had before to what we have now worldwide.

But, I must say that I preferred what we had in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s to anything that came after. That was my personal experience with life on earth. Although it must be said that I was 32 in 1980.

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