During summer reading clinic this week, I was reading aloud a section from a book when a little bit of spit from my mouth flew out and hit the student’s cheek.
“EWWW!!” he shrieked, “You SPIT on me!”
I was immediately apologized, “Oh, I’m so sorry…you are sitting so close…”
“YEUCH!” he vigorously rubbed his face.
I know how he felt. I have a clear recollection of being spat on by Sister Francina in sixth grade. Foul-breathed and foul-tempered. She was a nun that gave Catholic schools a bad name. Her spit flew everywhere, spraying students who came within what we termed the “circle of doom.” She was not beyond whacking a student on the back of the head or hand. Sixth grade was a miserable experience.
Now, this student would remember my spit. I will be his Sr. Francina….minus the foul breath and, of course, the whacking.Unfortunately, spit or spittle when public speaking is inevitable, and there are far more egregious examples than mine.
A few years ago, I took a class to see Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at Yale Rep, and we were seated in the front three rows.Those tricky passages from Shakespeare resulted in unfortunate build-ups of saliva that were released at the most inconvenient moments. The Montague/Capulet feud unleashed a faucet….stage lighting illuminated the spray.
Later, the students had a chance to ask questions during a “talkback.”
“How do you feel about all that spit flying?” asked a student to the actor who had played Mercutio.
“Oh, honey,” replied the actor said casually, “this is theatre…. Spit happens.”