Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ladies Don't Spit

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.


danny said...

Don't worry about it shawn...I know how hard and strict dads can be...mine was..and hey that's okay..
Seeththing water out of your teeth is a cool thing...especially in a pool...when it comes out in a nice stream when you have a nice gap!

platitudinal said...

Spitting is cool? Hehehe. I guess I saw too many people spitting in the place where I came from that it never crossed my mind.

But, I heartily agree about going to school in a unicycle! :)

*One of the things that ladies were supposed to do (as I was told) was to always sit down with your knees locked together!

Doodlestreet said...

Oh man! How funny is THAT!!

Didja every get that riding the unicycle thing down? Those things were so much fun...

Now... what would be REALLY amazing is spitting far while RIDING the unicycle!

Uber cOOl.


ferris said...

Ladies ride unicycles!

doodlegirl said...

danny! Oooooh yeahh! Seething water from the pool is a verrry coOo00Oool (and fun) thing if ya don't worry too much about how clean the water is.... if ya get my drift.

Hey Plat! Where didja live with so many spitters? Didja grow up with rodeo clowns and a buncha tobacco spittin cowboys? Actually, that'd be pretty coool! Good point about keeping those knees locked. I was told the same thing and sometimes to keep my mouth zipped.

Doodlestreet: How I wish I could say I learned how to ride that darn unicycle. Maybe being cool just wasn't in the cards for me. I could hop along on my pogo-stick around the block in record time, though!

Ferris: Maybe that explains why I never learned to ride them. ;O) I also learned from the old westerns on TV that ladies on their horses rode sidesaddle. I guess that's because they locked their knees.

Janet said...

My Grandmother died when I was in the 6th grade, but the thing I remember most about her was that she was a great long distance spitter ( I guess her dad forgot to tell her not to do that!) :)
My best friend in high school could juggle AND ride a unicycle...oh, how I wanted to do that! After I was married, I bought a unicycle at a yard sale...I tried and husband finally got tired of saying "you're going to kill yourself on that thing!", and he gave it away. (I was really mad at him...I just knew I would figure it out eventually!)

doodlegirl said...

What a cool grandmother you had! A great long distance spitter! (Were you a spittin' image of her?) ok. sorry. Couldn't resist.

I think your best friend shoulda joined the circus! Please thank your husband for me for getting rid of that unicyle so you're still alive to tell about it.

Danielle McDonald said...

Wow - have just been reading back through your blog. I love the way you write and this one is no exception. Nice little illustration too.

doodlegirl said...

danielle, thank you so much for your kind words. I am a new huge fan of yours. Your illustrations are such a delight. I just stare at them and they inspire me to think that maybe one day I, too, can be a good artist, too! Thanks for visiting!

ValGalArt said...

haha this is a wonderful tale. i enjoyed your perceptions about how a lady looks from that time period. Nylons, bobby pins, handled purses and a spirograph! You really bring humor and sweet nostalgia to this wonderful post!

doodlegirl said...

Thanks so much, Val! :O)

MikeandBelva said...

Shawn....I've been all over your web site. I do drop in from time to time, but never say hi...until now. Somewhere a couple years ago I saw a photo of you (more recent). Do you have one posted somewhere. I'm just kind of curious, but understand if don't want me to see it. I guess its kind of wierd to ask a woman for something like that. Gosh, I am sorry to hear about your mom's health. I know you have always been so close to her. I can't believe how young she looks in that hospital photo.


MikeandBelva said...

oh yeah, heres my own spitting story...When I was in high school I thought it would be really cool to know how to spit tobacco. I'm from Oklahoma so it really wasn't that gross...well..yes it was gross, really gross!, but when you see cowboys on TV doing it, it really looks cool especially when they can spit it really far and hit a target like a bucket. I wanted to be able to make that ding sound so bad I didn't really like tobaccco and the chewing kind of made me sick....actually really sick, but I wanted to spit so bad that I kept it up. The problem was that I couldn't spit it without getting it all over me...on my shirt, down my cheek. I finally gave up in frustration.

doodlegirl said...

hi mike!

Thanks for your hilarious spitting story!!! That just made me laugh outloud! I bet you havva ton of Oklahoma stories to share! As for a photo of me,... evidently... you're not "all over" my site or you would have seen some recent photos of me. Try maybe September or October of this year. And please. PLEASE no negative comments. Thanks. My mom HATES those photos I posted. So please see me through HER eyes and not the posted ones. (smile).

Isn't my mom cute? She not only looks young but she has that wonderfully young outlook. I am sooo happy to have that same outlook of hers. What a blessing!

platitudinal said...

I wish I could say that I grew up amongst rodeo clowns and tobacco spittin’ cowboys. It sounds so much more interesting than to say I grew up amongst betel leaves chompers in a South East Asia island

doodlegirl said...

You lived a much more interesting childhood living among betel leaves chompers on a South East Asia Island! Maybe not as comical, but certainly more interesting!

Anonymous said...

Shawn - you crack me up!! Man, you and I would've been best pals growing up in the Bay Area. I could see the two of us thinking up new ways to make our mark on the world. For you, it was spitting and unicycle riding. For me, I was always thinking up how I could break a world record to get into the Guiness book. I tried to see how long I could wear my roller skates, but after one night sleeping in them - which left my ankles throbbing from the weight of the metal wheels - I cried Uncle!! and never attained Guiness book status.

Oh well, Shawn - we've still got some time left on this planet. Where's your unicycle?

P.S. This story put a smile on my face. What a great way to start the day!!

Michele (Miles)

doodlegirl said...

Noooo! I wanted to break the Guiness Book of Records, too!!! Especially after watching Bobby and Cindy Brady trying to break their swinging on the swing set record! I would have been right there with you!

Hmmmm. What can we do together to make our mark? I'm thinkin......