Monday, February 15, 2010

How to Spit for Distance

There's nothing like summertime. The hot summer sun. The soft, lapping waves of the ocean crashing on the sand. The smell of spit frying on the sidewalk.

Wait. Spit?

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. American Airlines ain't the only thing flying in the summertime! When the temperatures start climbing people start climbing out of their winter burrows, and they're bringing their bad habits with them. Not the least of which being spitting bubble gum, tobacco, watermelon seeds or saliva any durn place they feel like it. Let me tell you, there's nothing like being outside when it's literally hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk and smelling the sweet smell of sizzling cud on the cement!

There's nothing like the smell of mucus in the morning.

Of course, we're not here to talk about these ordinary men and women. We're here to talk about the extraordinary ones. The ones that have dedicated their lives to the fine art of hocking loogies and replanting their garden from the comfort of their front porch. These are the few, the proud, the professional spitters.

Did you know that every year the men and women of Luling, TX hold the annual Watermelon Thump? That's right, a Watermelon Thump, home to the World Champion Watermelon Seed Spit and hometown of the current record holder, Luling native Lee Wheells. Every year contestants hock their seeds down to the finish line in an attempt to beat his 1989 record of 68 feet and 9 1/8 inches.

68 feet, using nothing but the muscles in his neck and mouth. I don't think I can throw a baseball that far! And there's a little part of me, the part that thinks it's really, really cool when someone has pink flamingoes in their front yard, that would love to know how he did it.

Apparently, it's all in the lips.

All right, not really, but after Happy Gilmore who could resist! Actually, like most great sports accurately spitting for distance is a matter of dedication, practice and perfect technique. Here's a look at how the people of Luling are making it happen.

First, you have to moisten the mouth. Apparently, lubrication is the most important step! It makes sense if you think about it. It's a lot easier to drop a spoonful of cookie dough when your hands are covered in cooking oil than it is to do it when they're actually clean.

You'll notice I left the greased pig analogy out of this.

Anyway, the best way to start is by taking a drink of water. Then, you have two choices:

If you're spitting seeds you grab the watermelon seed (the heavier, the better) and place it on the tip of your tongue with the point facing out. Roll your tongue around it to create a perfect firing tube, suck in air through your nose as you tip your head and upper body back, then exhale rapidly through your mouth as your head comes flying forward. The seed will go flying.

If there's no seed to be found and you don't have the willpower to go another minute without watching the spit fly, let your jaw drop slightly. Wiggle your tongue and picture your dentist to incite saliva production under the tongue. Yes, that's right, you actually want to drool! Then, draw the tongue back and down to scoop up the spit, curl the edges, purse the lips, breathe deep and watch the spit fly!

It apparently helps if you get a running start too, although I've never taken that theory for a test drive. In my little world, forward momentum+forward momentum=a big, fat crash at the end. But hey, I guess a few bruises are the price you pay for being the watermelon seed spitting champion of the world!

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