Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The day I learned why it's wrong to spit on the ground

I led a conflicted existence in second grade. As you’ve read from my journal from that year, my struggles with being a musical kid in a football-dominated elementary school as well as the fact that my best friend was a forbidden GIRL gave me a lot to worry about. I walked a thin line those days, making sure to remain as masculine as possible as to not lose my present male friends or damage future rendezvous with the lady-folk. There was a standard in second grade, and I was constantly struggling to meet it.

Spitting on the ground, I soon discovered, was really quite a novel idea. My dad did it occasionally, baseball players in movies did it all the time while chewing what appeared to be a big brown sock, and so I began as well. My friends also joined me in this venture, and soon we were a gang of spitting hoodlums, not walking a dozen paces before generating as much saliva as we could in order to leave our slimy, foaming signatures on the playground blacktop.  

 [It was increasingly necessary to stay hydrated in second grade.]

As far as I can remember this was an activity that had no negative consequences, and was something that set us apart from everyone else. We were golden. Little did I know that our actions could cause something so dangerous, so life threatening, that even fifteen years later it would remain a globally destructive and horrible epidemic for which there is still no end in sight.

A fellow student (and by fellow student I mean complete a**hole tattletale who doesn’t even deserve to share the same playground with me) came up to my friend and I and questioned our behavior. Actually, it was less of a question and more of a TAUNT.

JERK: Why do you spit on the ground?

US: Because it’s COOL.

LOSER: It looks kind of messy.


BUTTFACE: No I don’t! I’m telling the teacher that you’re spitting on the ground!

US: Oh yeah?!

My friends and I then sent a barrage of spit-tooies to the ground to demonstrate our defiance. 

Then the teacher walked over and sent us to the principle’s office.

My rebellious vigor dwindled slightly.

Okay, I may have cried.

So there I was sitting in Mr. Eaton’s (the school’s principal whose round stature encouraged a slew of puns about his last name) office, and he began interrogating me.

MR. EATON: Why were you sent here, Brian?

BRIAN: I spit on the ground.

MR. EATON: Is that all you did?

BRIAN: More or less.

MR. EATON: Excuse me?

BRIAN: That’s all I did.

MR. EATON: Okay. Did you ever spit ON anyone?

BRIAN: Not unless the peripheral damage of my giant loogie splashed someone in the nearby vicinity.

MR. EATON: So, no one?

BRIAN: To be honest, I was the one who was the most at-risk in that situation.

MR. EATON: Okay. So you were sent here because you spit on the ground?


MR. EATON: And I’m guessing that I’m supposed to tell you WHY merely spitting on the ground outside is a bad thing.

BRIAN: It would make this whole situation a lot clearer.

MR. EATON: Something that sounds truthful, then, so that your limited six-year-old understanding will accept it as absolute fact and I can get you out of my f***ing office?

BRIAN: What?

MR. EATON: Nothing. See, the reason that it’s bad to spit on the ground is … that, uh … um … There’s this disease going around called AIDS, and it’s really bad.

BRIAN: Really?

MR. EATON: Really. And spitting on the ground spreads it. So what you’re doing is dangerous.

BRIAN: I’ve never heard of AIDS before.

MR. EATON: You’ll actually learn about it in class next year, and by then you’ll probably have forgotten that I even told you this.

BRIAN: Interesting. So what’s this disease like and how does someone catch it?

MR. EATON: Oh, you don’t want to hear the specifics; it’s really complicated.

BRIAN: Try me.

MR. EATON: Alright, it’s not passed through saliva as though someone could absorb it through the soles of his or her shoes, the only way that that could happen is if you had blood in your saliva and they had an open wound on their foot, which shoes really prevent from happening anyway. Usually, though, it’s actually sexually transmitted.

MR. EATON: See what I mean?

BRIAN: Vaguely.

MR. EATON: Close enough. Go back to recess.

I left his office with a new knowledge about the consequences of my actions, and a creeping feeling that he was feeding me complete bullsh**.

And that’s the day I learned why it’s wrong to spit on the ground.

(Because you could kill someone.)


  1. This is funny! I doubt you had such intelligent retorts in second grade, but hey, it was fun to read :).

    So much happened to you in 2nd grade; why aren't there any stories from 3rd grade?

  2. This totally cracked me up! Second grade was SUCH an eventful year for you!

    I'm SO happy you gave up the 'art' of spitting! Thank you Mr. Eaton!!!


    A 3rd grade story is coming. It'll be a good one, too. :)

    Glad you liked it!