Yea, verily, back in the 80s the middle section of our country was truly the land of luscious whole milk, glistening natural honey, and shredded tobacco leaves neatly packaged in cardboard hockey pucks with shiny silver lids.
The first time I “dipped,” I fearlessly and foolishly tucked a garden snail-sized pinch of Copenhagen into my bottom lip and congratulated myself on how cool I was. Within two minutes, my entire 13 year-old world started to spin and it wasn’t a “good” kind of spin like if me and the actress Jena Malone were together on some merry-go-round on a deserted playground lazily pushing ourselves around with our feet while I tell her that her new faux-indie rock band The Shoe is the musical equivalent of Soap&Skin and The Knife and Stereolab and Young Marble Giants all rolled into one and she tells me that the website When Skippy Loved Mallory has been her browser’s home page since January 13, 2014, the very day the first post went up, and then she tilts that sexy little chin of hers at me and we kiss–no, this was a “bad” kind of spin, more like some minor demon had picked up my bed with me in it after a night of throwing down Powers on the rocks chased by some pints of IPA capped off with a Tanqueray and tonic at last call to cleanse the palate, and started spinning it around on his gigantic finger like the Spalding Gail Goodrich model basketball I once owned. So yes, I ended up supine on the grass next to some community baseball field where fortunately an actual baseball game wasn’t being played. I felt better after about ten minutes (after ripping the damnable stuff out of my mouth), but it wasn’t a good time. At least I didn’t vomit.
Still, even to this day, there are regions right here in the USA where the use of chewing tobacco is not only smiled upon but actually encouraged at some schools, both in and out of the classroom. There is even a fascinating hierarchy involved based not on which brand one prefers, but rather the type of spit cup that is employed–the destitute kids using paper cups from Hardee’s and Taco Bell, over and over until the bottoms rot out, the middle class kids favoring those hard plastic cups that are sometimes given out as souvenirs at sporting events, while the rich kids use big metal cups of the type milkshakes are made in–the really elite of this lot toting around sterling silver renditions with their initials engraved on the side.
It’s a crazy world we live in!