Don’t Spit on My Street



Forget the global warming crisis; pay no mind to unabated fundamentalism smeared across the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and American heartland; don’t worry about withering civil rights under Bush and Obama. No, America, we have a much more pressing concern: mucus.

Saliva. Phlegm. Big, slimy loogies. Spit.

The world can be an ugly place, so might as well not be forced to shuffle through it stepping on each other’s snot. That’s why John Metcalfe wrote a breezy defense of anti-spitting laws for the urban planning and design blog The Atlantic Cities.

Archaic spitting laws that restrict the public discharge of fluids from your face, many passed in the “tuberculosis-ridden 1800s,” are still on the books across the country—and even enforced. “After seeing the 18-year-old discharge a glob of saliva onto the street,” Metcalfe summarizes a recent Florida news story, “a pair of local cops took him to jail and stuck him with a $100 fine.” But that’s not quite satisfying for Metcalfe, who claims he would “personally rather run across an angry drug addict peeing on a dumpster than one more man launching a snot rocket over the subway tracks.”

The Florida adolescent didn’t even receive the maximum penalty for spitting. According to Metcalfe, “Violators can incur fines of up to $500 and a 60-day jail sentence, where presumably they can spit their hearts out into a metal toilet.”

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