Manly Mucus

I was brought up to believe that spitting, even if I called it “expectorating," was vile. I was led to believe that spitters were corrupt, nasty, icky, disgusting, and had communistic tendencies. So I didn’t spit. I took on the unified and consistent teachings of my parents and elementary school teachers. Since I’ve lived in the South a long time now, and never learned to spit, I feel as if my manhood has somehow been eroded. Even though, in my dark and sordid past, I hunted and fished and even played golf, I don’t do those things any more. I don’t have a pickup truck. I don’t hang around WalMart in a sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off revealing my barbed wire tattooed biceps. All because I never learned to spit.

It wasn’t that I didn’t try. I did. I failed. The best I could do was blow out a kind of spray with no direction, power, or concentrated warhead. I could expectorate a watermelon seed a little ways, controlling its direction, but that’s not the same as spitting, um, well, you know - SPIT. I have given up, which is a sign of a failure.

Someone suggested I get a little dab of Chattanooga Chew and practice spittin’ brown juice. I drew a line on that one. I do not want to emulate grasshoppers.

Still, somehow, men in the South just know how. As I look out my office window I see college students spitting, demonstrating that spitters can’t be profiled only as illiterate rednecks from deep in the piney forests, although I have had a few freshmen that were those things. The art of spitting spreads across generations, races, ethnic groups, and just about any religious belief. And so, to me, the evidence is clear that if I’m to be a real man, I need to learn how to spit.

On the other hand, I just remembered that I have a chainsaw and know how to wield it. Without spitting. There. My voice is getting deeper already.

Spitting man

I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay... (Part 1)

lumberjack Before I get too far into my joys as a lumberjack, let me give credit where credit is due. The chain saw was invented by two Scottish doctors back in the late 18th century, Dr. Chain and his partner, Dr. Saw. Actually, I am kidding about that. They invented the chain saw as a means of generating more clients through grisly accidents caused by their invention. Of course I’m kidding about that, too. Actually, it was invented for the purpose of excision of diseased bone. So, there you have your brief trip down memory lane.

I have a chainsaw, and it’s fun. The property we recently purchased had several big trees that shaded a section of meadow where my long-suffering wife, Lisa, planned to create several garden beds. The trees had to go because they were going to keep sunlight away from the garden. So I bought a chainsaw and prepared to begin the fun of cutting down trees, yelling “TIMBER!” at the top of my lungs, hearing the snap of wood as the trees began to topple, then running for safety, usually directly under where the tree wasn’t supposed to go. Three weeks later, I still have a knot on the side of my right calf where one of those stupid trees failed to follow my instructions.

Moving on to the preparation phase of lumberjacking, it is essential to have a lumberjack breakfast before one begins working as a lumberjack. Food is fuel, just as chainsaws need gasoline to operate, and I need plenty of fuel to work efficiently and well. For me, that means (several) scrambled eggs with cheese and a little onion mixed in, lots of sausage patties, homemade bread with butter, milk, coffee, bacon, and if possible, hash browns.

Once breakfast is consumed, it is time to allow the food to settle. This requires a brief nap of about forty-five minutes, followed by stretching, starting up the chainsaw, and walking to the lumberjacking site while the saw warms up.

My next blog will go into more details about the joy of lumberjacking. Stay tuned.