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GOBBIN' OFF

24-02-2007

Remember those signs which used to say “No Spitting On The Bus.” Lynn Hawthorne clears her throat, and reckons we ought to bring them back - and in a few more places too.

Walking home the other night after a pleasant evening carousing with friends, I calculated that I'd have been home a darned sight quicker if it hadn't been for the perilous task of meandering round the concentrations of SPIT on the ground.

Now, weaving across the pavement because of a glass or two of vino too many is my own fault, but I'm beggared if I should do it because somebody else couldn't keep their gob shut.

Why do people do it? There was a time when footballers were blamed (wasn't it Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones who satirised this with their ‘Gob of the Month' competition?) for setting a bad example for young lads. Can we still go along that route? I don't think so.

It seems commonplace. I was standing at a bus stop recently when an elderly lady appeared over the road, accompanied by a young couple I took to be relatives. The young lad bent over and spat near this poor lady's feet - and she never batted an eyelid! Disgusting!

I'm used to the slime trails left by perishing slugs, the bane of my life in my garden, but the glistening of saliva on the pavement I find absolutely revolting.

Every town centre, every residential street I visit at the moment seems plagued by this phenomenon and I can't work out for the life of me why. If someone spits near me, I either glare or ask if they had to do that.

The answer, usually delivered amidst a tirade of Anglo-Saxon, is ‘yes.' Again, I ask why?

Tuberculosis was once the scourge of this country. Only the rich could afford the luxury of a Swiss sanatorium, sitting out in the fresh, open air swathed in blankets and sleeping with the windows open. Even then, a cure was not guaranteed.

Pity the poor devils left behind to rack their bodies and cough their guts up in unsanitary conditions. But we thought we'd eradicated that vile disease, along with many others, when our health and sanitation systems were the envy of the world.But now, in the 21st century, TB is back and it's still a killer.

What can we do to stop this horrible process? Education seems the obvious answer and I've always done what I can along those lines. But the main area of concern, the hardest area to tackle seems to be that of culture: modern society seems not to care for fellow man.

Better out than in? Only if it's in a hanky, please……

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