It was Eric Johnson who could spit through the gap in his teeth as far as his mother's chevy impala station wagon was long in length. He was so cool. I secretly wanted to be just like him.
So I'd practice.
I'd roll my tongue around inside my mouth sucking up as much saliva I could find and when I had a spoonful of warm fluid, I would strain it through the gap of my 7-year-old teeth. But. The little bit of warm pathetic spit I could muster up, would drivel down in front of my bottom teeth just inside my lower lip and would never leave my mouth.
I was not cool.
I learned how to spit by taking a mouthful of water from my drinking glass and straining it out that way. It never went the distance of Eric's spit, but I felt I could become a close third to his spitting skills.
My dad was scraping barnacles under an old fishing boat in the driveway of our home when I ran up to him. "Prepare to be impressed!" And I ran back inside the house to fill my mouth with water.
I ran back outside and poked him on his shoulder until he noticed me. Then, acting as if I was about to throw a shot-put in a track meet, I leaned way back at first and then I bent way over and shot the water through the gap in my front teeth over into the ivy bordering the driveway.
I then looked back at my dad ready to hear him cheer and tell me how thrilled he was for my new skills I had learned.
Instead, he said. "Shawn! Don't ever do that again! Ladies don't spit!"
His words echoed inside my head for quite a while. "Ladies don't spit. Ladies don't spit." Did my dad lose his mind? I was clearly not a lady but a seven-year-old girl. Ladies wore dresses with nylons and high heeled shoes and carried purses with a handle and wore hats on their heads with bobby pins in their hair.
I turned around and walked back toward the house to play spirograph when I noticed my sister's red unicycle leaning against the house. I pushed it up to our front porch and straddled the seat between my legs and sat up on it, holding on to the railing practicing my balance, rocking back and forth. Back and forth.
Could I ever learn to ride it? I daydreamed about riding the unicycle to school.
Because. I knew if I did that. I would be really cool. Even more cool than spitting through the gap in my teeth.