I’ve always been somewhat fascinated by the fact that as one get older, one tends to spit more. I wasn’t sure if that was because more saliva is generated as age increases, or those people that are spitting were just showing disdain at the younger generation. While I’m sure that there’s a little bit of truth in both of those possibilities, I recently had a personal glimpse into the future – and it was not pretty.
Location: Sitting in an otherwise ordinary home office completely alone on an otherwise ordinary speaker phone.
The scene opens as a thousand other conference calls that day open. Casual conversation ensues, descending into a myriad of “important” statements made by otherwise ordinary citizens of these United States. Suddenly, as if a bolt of lightning striking me without warning, I am asked my opinion. What follows is the actual transcript from that call:
Barry: “Tim, what do you think we should do about this?”
Me (Tim): “I’m glad you asked me that, Barry. What I think we should do is….tsj….aa.sssssssss”
(Silence Envelops the Call Like a Warm Security Blanket)
Herman: “I think his phone is cutting out…but I can still hear you.”
Barry: “OK, Tim your phone is cutting out….”
All seems normal, right? Far from it, because as I got out the words “think we should do is” a big pool of saliva formed basically out of completely nowhere and clogged up my esophilosophical opening completely cutting off any intelligible sound. Luckily I was able to grasp my cell phone and slammed the MUTE button before the unmistakable sounds of a grown man choking to death were audible across the wires. I just sat there, paralyzed by a spit globule the size of my fist, while others around me continued their discussion. Finally, I was able to wedge a hole in the cloud of saliva and utter a couple of sounds that basically came out as:
And life went on as normal, right?
No, I made the mortal mistake of trying to act as if nothing had happened. A question came around to me quickly and what follows is the actual transcript from that portion of the call:
Barry: “Sorry to hear about that, Tim….so what do you think we should do?”
Tim: “I think what we should do is….”
Through that entire sentence my voice slowly raised 5,523 octaves to the level that only a dog can hear as I choked back the saliva once again – and I spoke so high and quietly that I feigned a complete coughing attack and slammed on the mute button once again. Now, I not only had made a fool of myself by choking in the first place in the middle of a sentence, but had made the cardinal sin of coming back too soon – seeing my voice rise like a little girl sneaking a suck from a helium balloon.
I got through the rest of the call unscathed, but I’m sure all parties – especially Barry – were feeling that THIS was a guy heading nowhere fast in the world.
I talked to Dr. Sal Livalot from the Sputum Place of Information Technology (SPIT) and he confirmed my fear. As we get older, we generate more saliva. He said, and I quote, “As we get older, we generate more saliva.” So there you have it – indisputable testimony from a spittle matter expert (SME).
So the next time you see an old person spit, look knowingly at them and realize that there go I in a few years – if not sooner. Spit happens.