Saturday, June 30, 2007
Recently, I was approached by a gentleman who was looking at my ass. Since I live in Massachusetts, I was not that surprised, being that The Commonwealth is the home of gay marriage and Provincetown, the self-proclaimed "Gayest Town in America."
At first, I was concerned, then I was flattered, then it all became crystal clear.
Him: "Hey, I was looking at your Levi's and I noticed your...um...Skoal Ring."
Me: "Yeah, so?"
Him: "My wife (motioning to a smoking hot blonde) won't let me buy dip, and I hoped that you might spare one."
Me: "Berry Blend Long Cut okay with you?"
Like secret societies, such as the Masons, the Order of the Ring binds cowboys, rednecks, doctors and lawyers who have embraced the gross and disgusting habit known as "dipping." Identified by the white ring worn into the back pocket of their blue jeans, the bulging lower lip, or the cup or water bottle filled with a foul-smelling brown liquid, the Order of the Ring lives in the shadows, not accepted by polite society.
And even though the Order of the Ring has an anthem (Gretchen Wilson's "Skoal Ring") and a large membership--encompassing both sexes--the membership must hide their habit from the public, their loved ones, and employers and co-workers. They risk scorn and ridicule, and horribly disfiguring surgery, in the event of mouth or throat cancer. It is not a safe alternative to cigarettes, and disposing of a spitter (the cup or bottle into which one spits) is sometimes difficult.
And while the habit, for me, is occasional--playing golf, working in the fields, or playing baseball--some people are hooked on the ground tobacco. They just can not quit.
Minor league baseball has banned the use of tobacco products (which is ridiculous, since Major League Baseball has not). College and high school sports have also banned the use of such products. There is, however, a resurgence in the use of smokeless tobacco products as smoking cigarettes is banned in ever more places. I note that Spring Break 2007 was sponsored, in part, by Skoal Citrus; and, even though tobacco companies can no longer sponsor sporting events, just take a look at the fans at any NASCAR race and one will see spitters galore. The use of smokeless tobacco is here to stay, even if it must remain in the shadows.
Oh, and by the way, the guy really was looking at my ass. And the blonde wife? A dude.