Sunday with Zin: Spitting

Anti-spitting posters, American Lung Association of Virginia (ALAV) Collection

Anti-spitting posters, American Lung Association of Virginia (ALAV) Collection

Please stop spitting!

Allow me to be clear, please! I do not mean baseball players, who seem to train in spitting as well as batting and fielding. Nor do I mean spitting while at the dentist. Though, if your dentist still has a spit sink, it is probably an antique (and so is your dentist)! They all use suction tubes now. Most of the time, my hygienist just tells me to swallow – “It is just your own saliva” except it also has stuff she has been scraping and maybe a little blood (though not much since I am a flossing fiend these days, having such a degree of bone loss my teeth are hanging on for dear life and I can not slack off for a second, which is what happens when you ignore your teeth for the first 50 years of your life)!

Nor do I speak of recreational spitting! So have all the fun you want at the International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship held in July at the Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire, MI (dominated by “Pellet Gun” Krause of Arizona for ten years until his son, “Young Gun” Krause, bested his record by 25 feet).

And by all means, enjoy yourself if you wish at the olive pit spitting festival in Murcia, Spain in August (and if you win, earn the title “Caballero Predilecto de la Orden de los Lanzadores de Huesos,” or Venerated Knight of the Fellowship of the Olive Spitting Knights). I would not get in the way of anyone intent on achieving knighthood!

If cricket spitting is your thing, see if you can beat the record of 9.17 m set by Danny Capps in June 1998, I will not hold it against you (well, maybe just a little; after all, a person who puts a dead cricket in his or her mouth, even if he or she intends to spit it out right away, is perhaps someone to be approached with caution)!

And if you wish to just compete in plain old spit spitting, inspired by the Best Comedy Short from the 1988 Houston Film festival, The Great O’Grady, go right ahead, it is quite a cute film! And the Spit Take thing Jimmy Fallon does strikes me as, well, stupid, but I have learned not to interfere with the activities of consenting adults, especially on television!

I do not have a spit phobia, either. I was downright charmed by the spit blessing Elisa Jimenez of Project Runway Season 4 introduced us to, and I encourage her to spit as much as she wants! On the clothes she makes.

But not on the sidewalk. Please!

I am afraid I can not legitimately claim health concerns. Although there were past campaigns to eliminate public spitting because of fear of TB and other diseases (the poster above is from such an effort), I have found differing current-day claims on the issue: London TB expert Dr. John Moore-Gillon says, “The chances of contracting TB by casual contact is very low, but if lots of people are spitting in the street or in enclosed places, and if the incidence of TB in the population is high, then it will increase, albeit slightly.”

Even if that still concerns you, Biology Professor Dr. Christine Case of Skyline College in San Bruno, CA is not so sure: “TB can be in sputum, but that is coughed up from deeper. Expectorating phlegm is dangerous and carries disease like flu or TB….The fad of spitting is different from the expectorating of phlegm.” Oh, thank goodness! Spitting is bad enough, but when people start expectorating phlegm, we might as well fold up civilization and call it a day! She still is not a fan of public spitting, though: “Like you don’t eat with your feet. Just because you could doesn’t mean you should.” Do you not love the “Like;” only in California does a biology professor speak Valley Girl.

But when I am strolling along Congress Street minding my own business, and someone a few feet ahead of me hawks up a lugie on the sidewalk, I avoid it, because, well, it is disgusting! Even if I am not going to catch a disease from it! And I do not understand why someone would do this. These are not people who would pee in public, but for some reason, they spit. It is your own spit, keep it to yourself! I do not want it!

So please, stop spitting!

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