Spit takes

The story of an assault with a slimy weapon…

Right up front I’m going to admit there’s an “Ewwww” factor to this story, so if you’re easily put off by tales involving body fluids, now would be a good time to stop reading.

Still here?

OK, then whatever happens next is on you and I’m going to act presidential and accept no responsibility from this point forward.

Today’s subject is saliva.

To understand this story fully you’re going to need some highly technical information on spitting. “Ejecting saliva forcibly from one’s mouth” is the dictionary definition, but there’s a lot more to it than you might think.

Especially if you’re a female.

Correct me if I’m wrong – and I’ve never met a female slow to do so – but in my experience learning how to spit is a skill more valued among small boys than small girls.

Maybe there’s some Olympic-level female spitters out there, but if so they seem to be keeping it to themselves. And maybe “throwing like a girl” is something you females fake to make us boys feel masculine and you’ve all got arms like Roger Clemens when you need them.

Subject for another day.

Anyway, guys learn to spit by forcing the saliva between their teeth or pursing their lips and squirting the saliva out or “hocking a loogie.” The above picture of me looking like I got caught exposing myself to the local garden club is actually what I look like right before I spit.

My “exposing myself” face is way different.

Apparently, “loogie” is derived from the word “lungs” and I’ll be damned if I know why the word “hocking” is in front of it, but it is, so stop questioning the natural order of the universe and accept that girls don’t spit (much) and boys consider it a fundamental life skill.

To hock a loogie you dredge up whatever muck is in the bottom of your soul, place it on your tongue and exhale with force. And ladies, it’s just as attractive as that last sentence made it sound.

I narrowly avoid disaster

OK, so yesterday I’m walking to the store and these days someone will see you coming a block away and step into traffic moving like it’s the last lap of the Indy 500 rather than stay on the sidewalk and come within range of whatever version of the Bubonic Plague we’re all trying to avoid.

For instance:

The other day I was in the drug store and a woman dressed like an extra in Outbreak (now playing on Netflix along with every other end-of-the-world flick in their library) jumped back like she’d just come across Dracula sucking the life out of a victim, wanted no part of it and headed down another aisle.

Understandably enough, people are avoiding each other.

So I’m innocently walking down the street and decide to hock a loogie, which – I’m being really modest here – I’m pretty damn good at doing. I turn my head, start to let fly and out of the corner of my peripheral vision I spot a jogger coming up on my left.

Bottom line: I was a fraction of a second away from spitting into the right ear of a complete stranger.

If I’d pulled that off I don’t imagine her reaction would have been positive. I’m guessing the authorities might have gotten involved – the fire department, a hazmat team and a couple homicide detectives – and if I wasn’t accused of attempted murder I might have been charged with assault with a slimy weapon.

Which reminds me of three other hocking-a-loogie stories, which seems like way too many for a normal adult.

On the other hand, I never claimed to be normal.

The left-hand turn lane

On this occasion I was sitting at a stop light, decide I need to spit and looked to my left to make sure nobody was in the left-hand turn lane. (Just now realized I always spit to my left so you may want to take that into account should we ever hang out together.)

Nobody was in the left-hand turn lane, so I let go.

Turns out I hadn’t noticed the dude racing along, trying to make the light before the left-hand turn arrow went yellow and – this is crucial – he also happened to have his passenger-side window all the way down.

So, yes, I spit into the car of a complete stranger and I think he was too busy making a turn to notice, but at some point must have discovered the foreign object on his car seat and wondered where the hell that came from.

Let’s hope he wasn’t rushing to pick up a girl for their first date.

First date

This happened to a buddy of mine who would probably rather I left his name out of it.

He was on a first date with a girl he wanted to impress, was driving along, coughed up some gunk and as will sometimes happen, managed to shoot it out his mouth with his cough.

When stuff like that happens you hope the person with you doesn’t notice, but in his case the phlegm hit the top curve of his steering wheel, stuck like it was 50 percent Elmer’s Glue and spun around like Cathy Rigby picking up speed for her uneven parallel bars dismount and then slowly dripped off.

Never heard if they had a second date.

The sharpshooter

OK, if that story didn’t put you off your feed, this one ought to do the trick.

My brother Paul T and I were walking down a suburban street on a very windy day and since our suburb didn’t believe in sidewalks (apparently they’re for poor people) I was walking in the right-hand gutter and he was all the way across the street walking in the left-hand gutter.

I hocked a loogie and a second later Paul T went down like he was shot. He was rolling around choking and spitting and when I asked what the hell was going on he said:


We had to be 30 feet apart in gale-force winds and I believe I could have tried to spit in Paul T’s mouth for a month of Sundays and never got the job done.

And yet people question the existence of God.

The smile of a newborn baby or the sight of the sun setting on the ocean or the moon rising in the desert does not convince me there’s a Supreme Being, but anytime you can spit into your brother’s mouth from across the street during a hurricane, you gotta think maybe somebody is in charge and He’s got a dicked-up sense of humor.

So what’s today’s lesson?

I need to pay more attention to when and where I spit and you need to stand to my right.