An all around great guy--and he has a book of his sad, witty, and wonderful prose he shares with twitter followers daily. Many mornings he has brought a smile to my face on an otherwise dreary day.
Call him Spit; everyone does, except his mother who still calls him Salvatore. Salvatore Spittell Toon, D.M.D., is a dentist who wants to stop swimming upstream in saliva and to get out of the mouth and into the world. His dreams take him to a special place. Located in a nondescript neighborhood on the other side of town, it gives no signs of warmth or welcome. Peeling paint creates the illusion of a pockmarked exterior, and the unlit neon sign in the window pushes you away, rather than drawing you in. It is the kind of place you discover serendipitously, stumble upon, or happen to be in front of when a sudden deluge of rain forces you through the door. It was on just such a night that he found himself looking through that window and then placing his hand on the doorknob that led him into Spit Toon's Saloon. The saloon is a playground where he recreates the past, embellishes the present, and dreams the future. A quirky, humorous, and poignant picture of a man and his life is revealed through sad songs and funny tales which, as fusion fiction, provides a novel reading experience.
Did you know?
In the late 19th century United States and Australia spittoons became a very common feature of pubs, brothels, saloons, hotels, stores, banks, railway carriages, and other places where people (especially adult men) gathered.
early 20th century toleware spittoonBrass was the most common material for spitoons. Other materials used for mass production of spittoons ranged from basic functional iron to elaborately crafted cut glass and fine porcelain. At higher class places like expensive hotels, spittoons could be elaborately decorated.
Spittoons are flat-bottomed, often weighted to minimize tipping over, and often with an interior "lip" to make spilling less likely if they tip. Some have lids, but most have not. Some have holes, sometimes with a plug, to aid in draining and cleaning.
Use of spittoons was considered an advance of public manners and health, intended to replace previously common spitting on floors, streets, and sidewalks. Many places passed laws against spitting in public other than into a spittoon.
Janitors at the United States Capitol with stack of spittoons, 1914Boy Scout troops organized campaigns to paint "Do not Spit on the Sidewalk" notices on city sidewalks. In 1909 in Cincinnati, Ohio, scout troupes together with members of the Anti-Tuberculosis League painted thousands of such messages in a single night. A mass produced sign seen in saloons read:
If you expect to rate as a gentleman
Do not expectorate on the floor
Spittoons were also useful for people suffering from tuberculosis who would cough up phlegm. Public spittoons would sometimes contain a solution of an antiseptic such as carbolic acid with the aim of limiting transmission of disease. With the start of the 20th century medical doctors urged tuberculosis sufferers to use personal pocket spittoons instead of public ones; these were jars with tight lids which people could carry with them to spit into. Similar devices are still used by some with tuberculosis.
After the 1918 flu epidemic, both hygiene and etiquette advocates began to disparage public use of the spittoon, and use began to decline. Chewing gum replaced tobacco as the favorite chew of the younger generation. Cigarettes were considered more hygienic than spit-inducing chewing tobacco. While it was still not unusual to see spittoons in some public places in parts of the US as late as the 1930s, vast numbers of old brass spittoons met their ends in the scrap drives of World War II.
A large public collection of spittoons can be found at Duke Homestead State Historic Site, Durham, North Carolina. In 2008, the site's tobacco museum added 282 spittoons—claimed to be the world's largest collection—to its holdings of over 100.