Isn’t spitting a truly disgusting habit? Nobody can convince me that it is in any way necessary. When I was little, we had double decker buses with signs on them saying ‘no spitting’. This, of course, was a time of mining in the north east and many men had coal dust in their lungs and coughing and spitting was pretty commonplace. Still not good though, even though there was probably a medical reason why they did it.
In many schools I worked in, boys thought it was generally OK to spit – after all, their grandfathers had done it and their fathers had done it. No amount of explanation or chastisement could stop them. I remember litter-picking with some children once and reaching down to pick something up to discover that some little tyke had spit in the same place and I ended up with it on my hands. I also once went to a cashpoint in Chester-le-Street to find that someone had ‘hockled’ all over the keypad. Two nearby tittering brats watched as I bravely keyed in my number and got my cash regardless. I also gave them a good ticking off about their disgusting habits despite their protestations of innocence.
One of the most irritating examples is in football. Men have assured me that spitting is ‘necessary’ when playing football. I dispute this. YOU CAN SWALLOW. We do not want to see the camera zoom in as the footballer produces the ‘gob of the day’. Even if we accept that spitting is essential for footballers, what excuse is there for the Manager, sitting on the sidelines, to do it too? It is a habit. A dirty, filthy habit. And thoroughly bad manners.