Saturday, January 17, 2015


Magazines like RUNNER'S WORLD never write about spit. How to hork it, properly. The best way to get the perfect arc so that your own saliva doesn't get whipped by the wind and end up lashing your cheek. Getting enough built up in your mouth so that you can get it rid of it all without a refill in your throat only one minute later. The first few races I ran in high school ended with people pointing a finger at me, pointing out with some scorn that something was up with my face: "That's gross, bud. Better wipe that shit." One of the the first lessons I had that most of life's necessary education consists solely of stuff that nobody ever puts down in print.

You spit all the time when you run. In winter, it's a cold, half-way frozen glob of mucus that's icy-smooth and tactile; in summer, its' consistency has a tight cozy warmth that you almost don't want to let go. I almost look it that glop as an offering of sorts -- a rich, up-from-within expression of all that I've exerted. This part of me is getting out, via my throat or my nostril (the nose-snort being another example of a technique one must refine to prevent endless stoppage), and it's a nasty part of me, to be sure, but it's also an earned part, a part of myself that feels like an exit and reward for what I put my whole  body through, a minor gift-bag whose taker is nature, the pavement or the trails whose grass over the years has formed its own winding path. Nowhere else, other than on a run, can you spit and get away with it, literally, because you're running beyond your own muck left behind. In my most ridiculous moments, I have images of my stuff mingling with rich soil and dark mud and budding plants rising up. One of the most biologically pure and dense factions of my cells has added its own biological concoction to the blend of our earth. Those same cells that allow me to spell, and divide, and watch a sunset's crimson fall, all occasionally mingle towards a future mosaic of life.

I'm sorry if you find all this a bit much. (I do, too.) Yet nobody talks about the snot and saliva we discard on our jogs. There must be gallons of this shit on the earth every day of the year. In these delicate moments of maintenace, I feel distinctly human and base. High-falutin', perhaps, considering we're talking about spit, yet also low and animal-like, a perfect blend of human contradictions. Maintaining etiquette in such matters while waxing philosophical is an uneasy alliance. Kind of inane, I know. Yet somebody's gotta say it. And as long as I remember to wipe my face now and then, I should be good to go.