#835 Saliva

Does a body good

You know what’s cheap? Entertaining kids, man.

Honestly, forget the high-def TVs, lower bowl tickets to the big game, or exotic dream vacations to the other side of the rock. Ditch those in favor of an afternoon playing Tag in the backyard, pillow fighting at slumber parties, or skirting death on the playground, and now we’re talking.

Plus, it seems like a lot of kids figure out how to entertain themselves on the cheap, too. I’m not talking Solitaire on the computer, either. I mean those tiny, weird little head games or counting games or pattern games that you see little kids play. You know what I mean? These days it’s referred to as Acute Juvenile-Onset OC-ADHD, but it used to be that kids were just, you know, kind of strange.

When I was younger, I had a few of my own little games — or tics, if you prefer. I put my fingertips together every time I saw a red car, liked to spin around in circles and walk around dizzily, and was always trying to whistle with blades of grass in my mouth, just for fun.

trying-to-whistle-grassThere’s a lot more, but my favorite was this: when I was about six or seven, I used to look down at my shoes and slowly let a thin strand of spit slip slowly from my mouth, as low as it would go, as slow as it would go. And when that bottom-heavy glob of slippery spit looked like it was nearing the breaking point, I sucked real fast, yanking the Air-Chilled Mouth Dangle up in one soaring, majestic move.

It was an art, really.

Of course, back then I had no idea what I was messing with. To me, I was just playing some safe and harmless Spit Games — sometimes even a little Mouth Triathlon happened when I started blowing spit bubbles and gleeking. But the point is I didn’t yet appreciate the powers of the spit I was so mindlessly tossing around. See, it turns out that spit — or saliva, for those in the biz — deserves some serious props. Props I never considered. Check out what it’s got going on:

1. Wets your appetite. Saliva pours out of a few tiny little glands in your mouth at a rate of about 1-2 liters a day. When you’re eating, the saliva tides rise and lather your food to help work it down the dark cavern of your throat. Think of it as food lube.

turn-the-lights-on2. Get your taste on. Now, for all the powers your mighty tongue has, get this: that poor, pink sucker can’t taste a thing when it’s dry. Now, I know this feels like finding out Superman can’t fly when it’s cold out or Darth Vader is afraid of the dark, but it’s true. Dry tongue = tasteless food. So give it up to saliva for keeping everything moist and delicious in there. Way to go, Tastebud Grease.

3. Break it down. Even though over 99.5% of your saliva is just water, there’s some funny business swimming around in the other 0.5%. Yeah, I’m talking about electrolytes, mucus, antibacterial compounds, and enzymes. What’s all that junk for? Dude, enzymes totally swim up into your food and start wrestling it to bits. They tear starch and fat molecules to smithereens, and give them the what’s what. Sure, the job finishes way down south, but it’s gotta start somewhere.

4. Mouth guards. Even though you only eat every so often, saliva flushes your mouth all day. Well, that’s because our slick friend is busy cleaning house. Yup, the antibacterial compounds chip away at the food stuck in your teeth and the slippery stuff coats and protects your teeth from decay. Not a bad deal.

Now, saliva tends to stay out of your way. You can barely taste it, you forget it’s there, and you don’t have to think about it to get it to work. Brother, it just happens.

It just happens.

It’s just saliva.


spitting-babyPhotos from: here, here, here, and here

26 thoughts on “#835 Saliva

  1. Yesterday on my school bus ride home, my friend took a nap and started drooling. I was not aware of it until I smacked him right in the face and recived a nice handful of saliva.
    Spit=defense mechanism.

    1. Also not fun when you’ve just had teeth pulled and the whole bottom half of your face is completely numb so you don’t know you’re drooling until it’s all over your t-shirt.

  2. Kids are highly over-rated, but they do have their redeeming qualities, and you’ve certainly highlighted one here: Free Entertainment. It’d be a hot-selling new benefit of having kids, if it wasn’t for the other 17 years and 11.5 months associated with raising them.

  3. I agree with bad parent here, and everything on his website is freakin’ genius!

    The only redeeming quality of visiting my in-laws is that I can mess with my 4 year old nephew’s head. I’ve convinced him that, due to his recessive red hair, his parents are actually a tomato and a carrot, and they gave him up for adoption at birth, because they were being cooked in a stew in a couple hours. He didn’t believe me at first, but I pressed at it. I told him I was going to cover him in butter and cook/eat him. He one day got up the nerve to lisp “No you won’t!” So I picked his little redneck-ass up and threw him in the oven. He believes it all now. I cannot wait for him to start kindergarten.

  4. You don’t realize how awesome saliva is until you don’t have any. Radiation treatments for cancer left me with ‘xerostomia’ or persistent dry mouth … this really, really sucks!

  5. my littlest cousin blew some spit bubs at me gross but super cute and AWESOME

  6. Neat thoughts here on this site and I like your take on things. One thing I’ve experienced is what we think about is 100% what we receive. We create our own reality.

  7. Awesome article. I got to your site via google while i was looking for job search. I will forward your site to our clients and I am sure they will think the same about your article on this site.Cheers

  8. When I was driving in the car as a kid I’d have a game where my finger was a superhero/thing that would jump over trees/powerlines/malboxes/etc. as we passed them by. He’d slam into the surfaces if he didn’t make it (or more cruely, impale himself) That’s childhood entertainment for you.

  9. I love how “Peek-a-boo” never gets old with a baby, and they laugh and laugh so hard you can’t help but feel so good and laugh too!

    Sometimes I have a lisp and a Jimminy Cricket whistle. My dentist says I have an over active saliva gland. These things seem to go hand-in-hand.
    I couldn’t be friends with liddle bum, but if I could I would sure help MJG.

    1. just the other day I lifted my grandson up in the air and di the old, “Woo-hoo!” and got a mouth full of sweet saliva and salty snot at the same time,
      now I have his cold…but the memory~ awesome=)

    1. You just reminded me of these three “bro’s” I had in my teens. They loved to pin people down, (me included), then from deep within their throats they’d bring up a big fat loogie…then sloosh and slide it through their front teeth, up/down/up/down, threateningly, just inches from tightly pursed lips while by-standers roared! Sometimes it “accidentally” slip-slided away on them and made contact with pinned person’s face, ear or hair! It was most disgusting and kind of endearing at the same time…if you can imagine that!

Comments are closed.