“You had me at hello.” Do you remember that cheesy line from Jerry McGuire? That describes my love affair with spit tobacco to a tee. My first experience with the “wicked weed” was when the Hardin boys across the street produced a pouch of Beechnut Red and proclaimed, “put this in your mouth or we’ll beat your ass.” Ok, I was the youngest and was tired of the ass kicking’s so I complied. WOW! What fun! It had a weird taste and burn. And it was sooooo forbidden as my parents were health nuts. “Now whatever you do don’t swallow the juices! You’ll puke all over your shoes!” This was the only advice I received. I was hooked immediately. I had my “Red Badge of Courage!”
The first few years I was a loose leaf tobacco chewer. We would sneak out in the vast expanses of our neighborhood and enjoy a plug. Better yet, we would sneak outta the house at 1:15 am and meet up at a pre-disclosed location and someone would provide the chew. Somehow we never got busted doing this. I still can’t understand how. I soon discovered I liked the more powerful chews like Redman and Levi Garrett. Then we saw the Skoal commercials with Walt Garrison and Earl Campbell. Earl was one of my heroes so I was gonna do what he did.
Skoal was very attractive because you could hide a baby dip in and not be so obvious. “Just a pinch between your cheek and gum.” Then there was the burn. Soon I had all my friends hooked on the shit. We sailed along blissfully ignorant to the dangers of nicotine. Even when the warnings came out on the labels we just laughed. We are all athletes and this ain’t smoking.
On to the high school years. We discovered movie making! Check out some of these titles: “Corporate Chaw,” “Still Chewin’,” and my personal favorite-“CHAW WARS! The legend of Wildman Willard and Badman Billard!” I was the director and producer of every film. Every movie we made was centered around the shit. Although they are still quite funny today we laugh more at our ignorance than at the films themselves. However, back then we lived to dip. We graduated and went our own way.
During the college years I found myself hanging around dippers and athletes again just like in high school. This is about the time I realized that each time I caught up with one of my buddies from our old “chew clique” another one would declare, “I gave the shit up. You should too.” I just laughed. Suddenly though, I realized I couldn’t quit and my balls were in a vice. One by one my “homies” were getting on the quit bandwagon. I made my first attempt to quit at about age 21. I had no clue on how to quit and failed miserably. I attempted to quit many more times throughout my 20’s and 30’s. Hell, my best man had a dip in during my wedding! Beat that boys! The wife still grills his ass over that one! I put one in right after the ceremony. Later, I had no chance to keep quit even when one of my guys went down with cancer!
Along came the babies. When my first was born I made another attempt. Lasted 3 whole days. I used the usual excuses. “It helps me sleep’. ‘The baby is stressing me out too bad’. ‘Work sucks I can’t.” Two more years passed and baby number 2 came along. I tried again. Yep, same result, same excuses. Meanwhile, my original clan of chewers was down to 3 but one lives in OH and we are in infrequent contact. I’ll work on him later when I’m HOF +. So, better than 8 of my boys were able to quit the “bitch.” It was down to me and my best friend in the whole world (we once built a Skoal can pyramid over our fireplace that eclipsed the sun! thousands of cans). He was my excuse to continue to eat 1 or 2 cans a day.
At the end of March 2008 our worlds came crashing down. His wife came over one night and said the dentist saw something on his x-ray today. They are calling in the oral surgeon for a consultation in 3 days. 3 completely shitty and horrid days for me, imagine my buddy’s emotions. The surgeon came in and declared, “nothing to worry about, just an anomaly on the x-ray but you should quit before you visit me again and the news ain’t so good.” Whew. Wake up dumbasses! We both put the shit down the day of the dentist visit. I made it 45 days and my boy is STILL QUIT! I caved under the stress of a bridge loan on our new house.
Fast forward to August 29th 2008: I’m sitting in the study working on the computer and my 4 year old comes in, hands me my “tooner” full of diahrrea and declares, “Here’s your dirt bottle daddy. We cannot drink this dirt.” Then the kicker, “daddy, why do you eat dirt?” Ok, 43 years old TIME TO GROW THE F UP! I immediately got online and started searching for help. The big guy upstairs led me to KTC. The rest is history! God bless KTC.
ATTN: NEWBIES! The following gentlemen are as responsible for my quit as I am. If you ever feel weak and want to eat the shit again lean on these awesome quitters and wonderful human beings, THEY WILL GET YOU THROUGH! Think you got it bad? Read my speech again. WE DIPPED DURING MY WEDDING! Take advantage of the resources on this Godsend called KTC. The following “Masters of the Quit” mean the world to me and are ready to help you make the HOF: MULE-The reason I kept going. He is 95% of my quit. God Bless you man. Sorry we’re gonna kick your ass with Lane every year now though! IUECHEWIE– “the 100 reasons why it is good to be quit” is hanging on my wall! The most brilliant writing ever. I’ve read it every day for 99 days. No shit! KD4JET– You da man. You made and continue to make chatting a riot! You got me through the rough nights. Big Brother Jack– Danke Bro. Pun intended! Your quotes are the backbone of KTC! Keep your BALLS TO THE WALL MAN! Animal– your energy is brilliant. Keep it up! Avitar wizards: Chewless Jim, Closer, and my buddy Dolomite “Bouncy Bouncy carried me many a cold night! Thank you. Others: Bubblehead, Franpro, Burtonxj, Monty, Jwendell, Navy Chief, 11×4. If I left anyone out…you know the drill. Thanks fellas. I’ll be here to carry on the tradition. RANTEAM 12/08/2008 HOF