Watching the Chicago Cubs defeat the LA Dodgers last night, playing at Wrigley Field, was a delight, EXCEPT for one glaring, disgusting thing — the constant spitting by the players captured in slimy TV close-ups throughout the game. For modern people, the sight of curling up globs of spit is about tantamount to watching these young super-heroes urinate on the ground.
I’m occasionally reminded of the days of cuspidors (do you even remember that word?) by a quirky brass antique that I inherited from my acquisitory aunt, that sits aside my oak desk at Applewood Lodge. I doubt that it’s been used in at least 100 years, and the only thing in it is a page from Country Living magazine of March 1991 titled “What is it? What is it worth?”
The back of the turtle cuspidor opens when you step on the head to reveal a removable brass container, probably not large enough to contain one innings-worth of spittle from the Cubs game. They say there is a prime example of such a cute spittoon on display at Thomas Edison’s home in Ft. Myers, Florida. I’ve been there but we must have somehow missed it among all the other cherished mementos of Edison’s life.
The story tucked inside our the cuspidor says it was probably manufactured in England in the early 20th century, a time when such grotesque dribbling behavior was perhaps more in vogue. The article indicates that my aunt’s spittoon might have been worth up to $750, even 25 years ago!
If we took up a collection among the TV viewers of last night’s Cubs triumph, I bet we might have raised enough to either buy one of those cuspidor’s for each spitting player at Wrigley Field, or perhaps raised even more to pay them to keep their torrid excretions to themselves.