SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Column - Commentary

Great Expectorations


February 07, 2022
Monday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
Sometimes progress is a good thing.

jpg  Dave Kiffer

Yeah, I know people of my demographic tend to spend a lot of time fussing about how anything newer than the Johnson Administration (Lyndon, not Andrew) is not as good as in the old days.

And while that is certainly true about things like music ("You whippersnappers call that music? It sounds like an amplified bowel movement!"), it is probably not true across the board, even if shouting "get off my lawn" remains a very pleasant pastime indeed.

For example, here is a change I can get behind.

The other day, I saw someone spitting on the sidewalk. Now, this was unusual enough that I noticed. Once upon a time, it was so normal, I would have taken no notice. People used spit all the time. It was as if they were just "itching" to get out of their houses, so they could proceed to spit on the street and sidewalk and not get in trouble for it.

It was even used as a point of emphasis in most conversations.

Fogey #1: Well,  you know how I feel about that.

Proceeds to spit off to one side.

Fogey #2: Damn straight.

Proceeds to spit off to the other side.

And it wasn't just saliva (which is categorized as a lethal substance in these Days of COVID) but chewing tobacco as well.

Yes, I realize that "chew" rhymes with "eew," as well it should. But I grew up around people who - to quote Walt Garrison put "just a pinch between their cheek and gum" all day, every day, as long as they lived. Which because of the "chew" maybe wasn't as long as it could have been.

Health concerns aside, why was it okay to do that? Why was spitting a big wad of yuck on the sidewalk in those "halcyon days of yore" just fine and dandy?

It was one thing if you wanted to pollute your own home with vile smelling "spit cans" as my relatives did. Heck, you can create just about any mess imaginable in your house as you want, but when it spills (and gosh those spit cans seem to get spilt a lot) over into the public arena "there are laws" about that sort of thing.

Except for spitting a big wad on the sidewalk, which was a-ok, especially in Ketchikan where the prevailing weather could eventually wash the wad into the storm drains.

Fortunately, that was then and this is now. Or maybe that was now and this is then. Whatever. Somedays, even my very faithful cliche generator has trouble getting up to speed.

But I digress.

Some yahoo was spitting on the sidewalk and it naturally cheesed me off, even if it wasn't on "my lawn." When you reach may age, everywhere is "my lawn." And it just kind of frosted my pumpkin how unthinking and rude he was.

Of course, if you ask most females they would say that all male behavior is "unthinking and rude."

But I digress, yet again.

Spitting, especially in the Eon of COVID is not welcome here or any "here" else for that matter.

I remember back in the 1970s, some company announced a plan for chewing "tabacky" you could swallow. My relatives just laughed. It didn't catch on. Probably because, well, because if it tasted good to begin with, folks wouldn't be spitting, right?

Pumpkin Spice Skoal, anyone? Well maybe not.

Anyway, there doesn't seem to be much public spitting going on these days. Except for that putz who spit on the sidewalk the other day.

Chewing "snoose" isn't the thing it once was because, well, folks just don't wish to die as quickly as they used. And they have seen too many examples of people living on with holes in their faces where the cancer caused by the chew had to be cut out. Not a good look.

Regular saliva expectoration has also gone the way of the Dodo. Even before COVID, you didn't see a lot of folks rushing outside anymore to spit on the sidewalk. As I said before, this is a good thing.

But even without much public spitting, I still see another nasty habit: The tossing of cigarette butts. Really, how did it become okay to do that? 
I mean would you just wolf down a Big Mac and Soggy Fries and just toss the paper packaging on the ground, anyhere, will-nilly?

Don't answer that.

There seems to be a remarkable amount of fastfood trash on the streets and sidewalks these days.

But that is another column for another day.

Even in 2022, everywhere you go you see cigarette butts on the sidewalks and in the gutters. If it's not okay to dump most (other than McDonald's) trash on the street and expect someone else to clean it up, why do people think it is okay to that with cigarette butts?

Would it be okay to dump used toilet paper in people's yards and expect them to just deal with it?

That would be something to yell "get off my lawn" about.



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