I work on a college campus that is designated “Tobacco Free”.  That means not just smoke free, but free of  all tobacco products.  It is hard to enforce. My agency provides a variety of addiction and mental health services, and many of our clients smoke.  Most are pretty good about not smoking,  but a few disregard the  rules.  It is pretty common to see clients (and some staff)  smoking in secluded spots outside the building, or sitting in their vehicles with the windows rolled up, puffing away.  As long as I can’t smell it, I don’t have much of an issue.

I  have problems with folks who chew, though.  I imagine smokeless tobacco is more a problem out here than in urban areas.  It is pretty common in the oilfield and in the rodeo community.  I usually have a pretty iron stomach, but just knowing that someone chews and has a wad under their lip makes me feel nauseous. The other day I saw a guy in the waiting room with a little cup full of  brown spittle that he kept emptying in the water fountain. I knew he was about to leave soon, and the circumstances were such that I didn’t want to make an issue of it. I had to ride the elevator with him to the first floor, and it was hard not to gag.

A local entrepreneur has started a company that sells tobacco-free chew made mainly with caffeine. I am dismayed, since it would be perfectly legal to have in our building. I will not allow myself to be thwarted  by a technicality, and anyone who comes to see me will leave their tobacco-free chew in the parking lot.

When have you been vexed by a technicality?

38 thoughts on “Chew”

  1. I’ll get back to you on the technicality question, but this reminds me of an old story from my school days.

    Back then chewing gum was not allowed​, let alone tobacco. The song “Smokin’in the Boy’s Room” is of the period and the teacher’s lounge was a haze of smoke whenever that door opened.

    There was a guy who chewed tobacco and the addiction must have been strong with him, as he felt the need to do it in Speech class one day. He was pretty discreet, and kept a little paper cup on the floor by his desk.

    The teacher was aware this was happening.

    She could have sent him to the office. I’m sure there was a whole protocol for dealing with the offense and a good chunk of class time could have been chewed through that way.

    She didn’t bother. She just walked past the desk, whisked the paper cup off the floor and into the wastebasket and said not a word.

    But she did enjoy watching the kid turn green for the rest of class.

    It was a simpler time.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Technicalities often give me trouble. I am not a detail -oriented soul for whom a technicality means much, although for many folks those details are meaningful. I just don’t get it.

    My Great-Uncle Bob, a troubled, erratic trouble-maker who chewed tobacco, always had a dribble of juice running down his chin. I found him to be disgusting and smelly. He left a swath of misery behind him. I associate his residual misery with chew, which is not fair to the rest of humanity, but there it is.

    I am with you Renee. Yuck.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I read this book when I was about 16. One of my older siblings had it. Mom was not happy I was reading it because there’s a fair amount of adult language and situations in it. course that means I just hid it from Mom.
      It made a big influence on me. Characters like Milo Minderbinder; I work with people like him! Most don’t know who Milo is anymore…

      Liked by 3 people

  3. My campus is also ‘Tobacco free’; amended to include E-cigarettes and those other puffer things… I’m not up on all of it.

    Last year I had a guest director. He didn’t have a car, but he had a serious cigarette addition. The only legal place to smoke on campus is inside your car. But as Renee says, people are often seen standing on the edge of the parking lot having a smoke. This morning, I’m shoving off my loading dock and I can smell smoke. 100′ away there’s a kid smoking. How in the word that smell can carry that far outside is a mystery to me.

    This director last year. He’d go out on the main loading doc. Security or some other big-shot would tell him he couldn’t smoke there. He’d move to the parking lot. Someone would chase him off. He’d ask ‘Where can I smoke?’ Your car. “I don’t drive and I don’t have a car!” and they’d shrug and walk away. He’d get frustrated. Course, being an actor type, he’d channel all that into some type of “Rage-Against-the-Establishment” when in the next class period. The kids actually loved him. Admin, not so much.
    So kick the habit, right? All he lived on was coffee and cigarettes.

    Technicalities: Remember that old computer programming tidbit: garbage in, garbage out?
    Same with programming lights. I get so frustrated sometimes the light isn’t doing what I want. It’s doing exactly what I told it to do, but that’s just not what I meant.

    A combine last fall and trying to combine soybeans. A sensor went bad so the combine quit. Everything was working, it would have been OK to keep going. Except a faulty sensor said it wasn’t. So they didn’t. Grrrr.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Reason number 1 I have no interest in a computerised sewing machine. Sure, they do all kinds of nifty things, but I don’t need to do those things. I do need the machine to start up and do the basics every single time I sit down to it.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I had a similar boiler failure a few years back. I had no heat because the boiler had a sensor that failed, and because it could not sense that it was safe to ignite it would not ignite. At the time I desperately wanted it to be a little less concerned about my safety and more concerned about my comfort.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. i have a guy who was my chiropractor and became a friend over the years
        he had a massive out of the blue stroke and was in the hospital for a long time
        he finally got out, tried to restart his practice but walking like frankenstein and talking with a thick tongue were bad but what made it a no go evidentially was the fact that he couldn’t swallow. he had to spit every minute or two. everyone was grossed out by it
        it took another year after initial rehab to get to the point where he could swallow a protein shake but it was very focused and he still needed to spit in his daily routine
        then tried coming back but his following didn’t follow


      2. i think i’ve relayed the story before about my dads childhood friend who sat in the back seat of his tobacco chewing fathers car and was 12 before he realized he didn’t really have freckles

        Liked by 3 people

  4. back in the day no shirt no shoes no service was a new saying but we knew restaurants required shoes

    we were out one night in a no shoes state and decided to go get something to eat

    we were seated but the manager busted us
    i went out to the car and found cardboard and twine and made a pair of roman greco sandels that really pissed the manager off
    she said we couldn’t come in
    i told her to call the cops
    my eggs were undercooked

    Liked by 3 people

  5. my people are from north dakota
    it was and likely still is the copenhagen capitol of the world
    more snooce chewed there than anywhere

    you could always tell a gentleman snooce chewer
    he only used two fingers and a thumb

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Let’s see, there’s two technicalities that totally pissed me off and changed the world. The elections involving the Democratic candidate winning the popular vote, but the Republican winning the electoral college. Count ’em, two — two Republican presidents in my lifetime who should not have been there IMHO. OK, so they’re not *really* technicalities, it is Constitutional law — but a stupid and backward law.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. As a writer I often found myself at war with the sort of editor who lived by a style sheet and could see no greater virtue in a piece of writing than consistency to the house style. To my mind, writing that strove to meet rules was as much fun to experience as zombies trying to dance. I would break all the rules on the style sheet if it produced writing that connected with readers and made them smile.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. How the heck did it ever get started? I try and imagine what could entice someone to start chewing. And I lament the horrible role models the professional baseball players are for kids who idolize them..

    I hate it when my gas or pizza coupons expire before I get to use them. Have found one place where I can slip one through after the expired date…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was in Jr high drafting class when some kid bought chew and was sharing. I don’t exactly recall if I was pressured into trying it or I was just showing off, but I took a bunch. I really didn’t want it so first opportunity I spit the whole thing out ‘by accident’ when I spit. Course they made fun of me for doing that.
      The next day I decided I could do better and besides, I think it was cinnamon flavored and I liked that. I took a zip lock bag with me to get more and my ‘dealer’ didn’t have any that day.
      And that’s probably the only reason I don’t chew today. Plain dumb luck.
      I know my wife wouldn’t have dated me if I did chew. And I’m sure my parents wouldn’t have liked it. (see above; I’d have probably hid it from them). I also feel like I would have had to like country music more. And I’ve never seen anyone in the theater with it. A whole different career path, I’m telling ya!

      Liked by 3 people

  9. I’m a “big picture” person and don’t often pay attention to the details wherein the devil is reported found. That said, it’s amazing how often it’s the technical details that have tripped me up. I’ve learned that a lot of the “technical details” are found in the “small print,” and that, of course, I can no longer read. I’m wondering if that gives me dispensation from them?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. When I was in college at the University of Minnesota, registration for classes was by punch card. Students were assigned a time by lottery when they could show up to collect punch cards for the classes they wished to take. If you were unlucky and got one of the late slots for registering, chances were good that the cards for all the desirable classes would be gone. Before showing up to collect one’s cards, students were expected to visit an advisor, who would review one’s carefully arranged choices and sign off on the schedule. The line for the counselors, as well as the line for collecting the cards went out the door and across the plaza.

    Once the student obtained the signature of the advisor and waited in line to collect one’s cards, invariably the cards would be gone and the student would have to rejigger next quarter’s schedule on the spot, selecting classes from whatever was still available regardless of the advisor-approved schedule.

    After going through that once or twice, I started skipping the advisor part, just having a friend sign the planned schedule. That went smoothly for several quarters until something came up where I really did need to see an advisor. I think I was running out of flexibility as to classes I could substitute for the ones I needed. The advisor looked at my schedule plan and didn’t recognize the signature in place there. He questioned me about it and I told him the truth. He accused me of forgery and I pointed out that the signature was genuine, just not one of the official advisors.

    As a punishment for my infraction, I had to visit the head of the art department to be reprimanded. It wasn’t very traumatic. I think I agreed not to do that anymore.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I used to do something similar because my advisor was constantly “out-of-office,” even during posted office hours. Only I never got caught.

      Do you supposed someone will see this online and take away my degree, now that my crime is exposed?

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Here’s a technicality, sort of. Three weeks from now I’ll be driving somewhere and will come up with the perfect vignette to answer today’s question. I will remember it long enough to get across town to my next commitment, and then it will be lost in the ethers again. Just yesterday I heard two of those verbs that drive you crazy (that we talked about on the Trail weeks ago), and now they’re gone.

    Liked by 3 people

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