As a child I was a drooler. Severely. I don’t remember myself as an infant (because even with the perspective ageing brings, it’s hard to widen your scope that much), but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn I’d constantly been blowing big bubbles of spit. Forget hubba bubba, I’d been home brewing. I chewed a lot too. Most of my baby toys bore the brunt of my gummy maw. My blankey was akin to a wonka style everlasting beef jerkey. More telling is my old plush Richard Scarry choo choo train, which, for reasons of fading print, became eventually dubbed the “oo choo train”. Passengers mysteriously faded from their eternal voyage along with the locomotive’s branding. Whatever crazy intention (get it? Loco-motive? Okay, that was reaching a bit far) I had for chewing everything that moved, it meant that streams of spit flowed freely whenever I didn’t dam the falls with an appropriate pacifier.
One of my favourite stories involved a kindergarten photo. A fellow classmate decided she had a thing for me and took the posed moment of the photo as a chance to spring at me. I bolted and the photographer caught us mid-chase, a line of drool suspended from my lips. Gross, but adorably so within the right frame. A photo frame perhaps? I actually have no idea if it actually happened. She told me the story a few years later when we were in primary school and I liked it so much I wanted to believe her. I think I’ve deigned to hold it as truth regardless, just because I want to believe.
I got better as I aged, but slowly. Speech therapy helped a bunch, but apart from my totally solvable lisp (which I solved myself years later), I also spat when I got excited and attempted talking. It took me quite some time to shake this habit, but as with most of my undesirable proclivities, I made an effort to move past it. I kept the overly excitable demeanour, which usually resurfaces after a drink or two, but I think the front rows don’t get quite so drenched anymore.
Ever so often when I get to a totally safe, comfortable place, this habit will resurface a little. Spitting isn’t on the radar any more, but after an exceptional massage I’ve been known to leave a little wet patch by the side of my mouth. When I snooze in a room that’s a little too warm, I think I’ve got a propensity to mouth-breathe a little, judging by the occasional puddle on a pillow. It feels a tad gross, but moreso it sends me back to an earlier time in my life. Like so many nostalgia trips, it puts me in a place of comfort, of innocence. Transporting me to a time before troubles and worries became truly realised, when I felt uninhibited by so many social graces. I gripped the world with an ardent intensity I rarely regain. It felt amazing to be so involved, so passionate and captivated that I didn’t think to hold myself back. I miss that, and while it may seem odd to connect myself to that ardour by a line of spittle, it’s certainly difficult to look back along that stream and not see a tangible connection.
Then again, there are certainly adult ways of showing passion where good lubrication comes in handy. So maybe all isn’t lost.
By the way, after yesterday’s emotional clusterfuck I promised you guys a poo joke. Not being one to renege on a pledge, here’s one I thought of on the fly:
Q. What did the gunslinger give to his doctor?
A. A pistool sample.
Told you I’d give it a shot.