My Day With Dipping Tobacco: Not A Good Idea

I have used dip twice in my life and this is the story of the first; it will make you realize I am an idiot for doing it another time.

Dip, not to be confused with chewing tobacco, is a nasty looking mass of tobacco and nicotine delivery systems (read: broken glass) packed inside a container the size of a tuna can. It carries a rather pleasant aroma that reminds one of candy, as if the tobacco industry needed any more reason to be accused of attracting more customers. The method of using dip is to take a pinch of the mass and place it between your bottom lip and teeth while sucking said mass of tobacco and spitting out the black juice produced. Remember, I did this twice.

A friend of mine in the military is an avid consumer of tobacco products. He introduced me to the substance one day playing Frisbee/disc golf. For those of you not in the know, disc golf is exactly what it sounds;instead of a set of clubs and ball with tee, you throw disc towards a target which is a 3ft diameter basket with a metal pole through its center and metal chains connecting the top of the pole with the ridge of the basket in order to halt discs on target.

The terrain of the course was dynamic, varying from hills to wooded obstacles and open clearings. In our group that day were four  with two others taking too long to arrive and as we were close friends, we proceeded without them. My friend in the Marines had a fresh can of apple flavored dip and took a pinch the size of a fun-sized Snickers bar and placed it in his mouth. Offers to take a pinch were presented to the other three of us and we accepted with little reservation at the time though we had all heard stories of mouth cancer patients and baseballs players missing half of their bottom jaw due to the product we were about to indulge in.

Having placed our share in the correct location of our jawline after some considerable struggle with errant pieces of tobacco getting stuck on our tongues and teeth, we began sucking to absorb as much of the active ingredient as possible. When sucking in, the bottom lip presses on the mass of tobacco which, may I remind you, contains materials to pierce the skin to feel the effect more intensely. There is a slight cold sensation as the dip presses against your  tissue to remind you that, yes, the inside of your mouth is being torn asunder microscopically. As I have never been a regular user of tobacco, I was unsure of what to expect of dip, or what exactly is the reason tobacco is consumed so much (other than being legal and addictive). I had never understood why people smoked cigarettes; I have tried before but the smoke of a cigarette is harsh and disgusting to taste and smell. What was different about dip from cigarettes though was there was a feeling almost immediately and it tasted rather good; the apple flavored dip resembled a tart fruity candy.

While sucking on my tobacco candy, I had accumulated enough spit and juice to warrant elimination via spitting. I gathered all the liquid in my mouth and proceeded to eliminate the waste and almost lost the dip in my mouth to gravity. Not wanting to waste, I quickly closed my mouth, choked a little bit, and swallowed absentmindedly. I swallowed the pinch of dip I was enjoying to the laughter of my compatriots who warned me I wouldn’t be feeling so swell in a few minutes.

My friend readily offered me another pinch, and I readily accepted. By this time, we were finished with the first hole and had already teed off on the second. After our initial shots, while walking to where our discs landed, the dip hit me HARD.

I have smoked a few cigarettes before and saw no benefit of tobacco, but could understand how someone would enjoy this legal drug. It was the most light-headed and dizzying effect I had ever felt while “sober.” To get to our discs, we had to walk up a hill; a hill I could not conquer under the condition I was in on one journey. I had to sit down and rest, walking in a straight line was proving to be a challenge. With my head spinning, waiting for the world at large to stop spinning, my Marine buddy laughed through it all and asked me if I liked it.

The disturbing part was that it wasn’t that bad once you got used to it. The only real challenge was expelling the waste juice from the tobacco while not swallowing, and being able to have a drink with the dip in place between the lip and teeth. The buzz was pretty fun when one forgets the cloud of cancer that hovers every can of dip.

Done with the second hole, moving to the third, we were joined by the two laggers, now making a party of 6, and we progressed through the 6 other holes (our course only has 9) rather uneventfully. The four of us that had no will power and tried the dip were having a jolly, dizzy time, and had learned to control the stumbling. At the end of the 9th hole, we spit out our dip and washed our mouths thoroughly to make sure no one would swallow any. My Marine friend made it very clear, you don’t want to swallow any. Previously, I had swallowed quite a bit of dip, I began feeling worried.

Our party had decided to rendezvous at a house, and we split up into two cars, three in each. Walking to the car, on the warm, stagnant, summer day, I began to feel hot and heavy. I began to feel pretty sick.

I sat down and started taking deep breaths to try to calm my stomach. My Marine friend was driving, another in the backseat, I was riding shotgun.I was starting to sweat a bit and could feel my body temperature rise sharply. They laughed at my misfortune telling me I had swallowed a lot more than anyone realistically should their first time without expecting to expel it all later. I fought very hard to get that image out of my head as we pulled out of the parking lot and drove to our friend’s house.

Then, it hit.

I had my first dry heave in the car, frantically begged for a window to be opened, and my friend responded with great timing as a second heave came just as I was able to get my head out. I moaned about needing to vomit badly while I had my head out the window, like a German Shepherd sans the tongue wagging about, trying to cool my face down. No good, I was poisoned, and was going to pay dearly for it.

My friend, finding this absolutely hysterical, but being genuinely concerned, kept asking if I wanted to stop on a curb somewhere to expel all my innards. The only areas we passed were residential areas in our suburb and would not feel to comfortable throwing up on someone’s freshly mowed lawn. I heaved again as we passed a youth soccer tournament, complete with hundreds of players and adults all walking to their respective fields when a car passed them with my body dangling over the side of the passenger side window, begging the driver to get to our friend’s house as quick as possible so I could hurl. I had no concern of the display I was putting on to these young, impressionable athlete; I was thinking about spending some quality time in the bathroom praying to the porcelain gods.

My friend in the backseat called early to make sure the garage would be opened and door unlocked so I could run in to the bathroom as soon as we got there. That was exactly what I did, saying my hellos as I darted towards the bathroom in the den usually reserved for my friend’s cat. I ran in, closed the door, saw the cat was in there, had mercy on the little creature and let him out lest he witness the destruction I was about to wreak upon the toilet he would regularly drink out of.

On my knees, hunched over, lid lifted, I commenced my grand purging. I purged, and purged until I could purge no longer; then I purged some more. I was choking from heaving so frequently, pausing to take a breath was presenting itself to be a challenge. Once my stomach no longer had contents to get rid of, and the dry heaving subsided, I had realized I was in the bathroom for 45 minutes. I collapsed on the floor to rest a bit and ponder the terrible drug I had tried with great conflict between my mind, body and conscience. My friends were rather worried about me and apparently had been knocking on the door for quite some time asking if I’d like to eat something to settle my stomach. After declining their offers of aide three times, I caved in and accepted a piece of bread and a chocolate chip cookie. I closed the door and went back to my quiet meditation on the bathroom floor.

Laughter came from beyond the door as I overheard phone conversations of how I had swallowed a grand sum of dip and was paying the price for it. I ate the bread, and was about to yell at the punks for making light of my woeful situation when I threw up once again. Vomiting isn’t all bad; many times right after the process is over, one will feel much more at ease. The coolness of the bathroom floor definitely helped calm my system for a while, but the bread I ate to settle my stomach reminded me rather quickly that my stomach was anything but settled. As mentioned before, I had been forcefully removed of all matter in my tummy, and now had chewed up bread wanting to go back up the way it came down. There was a problem: when you vomit, you use the liquid in your stomach as lubrication to move the solids through your esophagus; I did not have said luxury of liquid to make the passing of the bread any easier.

I vomited and started choking as a chunk of bread that had no moisture going down was being throttled back upward with the same amount of moisture. It was as if someone was shoving a dry loaf through me, and I couldn’t breathe, so I did the only thing I could: I yelled for some water while I used the sink as a water fountain to try to alleviate the pain of dry food scraping at my throat. A glass of water quickly came, and with the bread now in the toilet, my thought process was to drink some water so this scenario would not happen again if I had to vomit once more. As soon as the water hit the bottom of my stomach, it made a rumble, and shot right back up. It didn’t even taste like vomit, it was pure water going in and out. There was nothing I could do to ease the eruptions, so I took my place once again on the cold bathroom floor.

Remember, once again, I did dip two times. This was the first.

After having spent an hour in the closed bathroom, I was feeling well enough to make the next step towards full recovery; I opened the door, and sprawled myself out between the threshold of bathroom and den. I was now able to chat with my friends whom were very curious as to whether I was done being a little bitch puking all over the place. I was not amused, but had no energy to yell back, so I played with the cat that had come back to inspect what havoc I had wreaked upon his home.

A friend handed me my phone, saying it was ringing off the hook for almost the entire hour and a half I was catatonic, but he wasn’t sure who the name was. He told me it was a female name so I got curiously excited and with a new wind was able sit up for periods of time longer than a few seconds. I fumbled through my phone’s recent calls list and saw no less than 22 calls and eight voice mail messages. The only call I missed was from my mother. I pondered why she would have had to call me so many times seeing as she was working downtown and it would take her an hour to get back. There shouldn’t be any problem that would warrant such frantic dialing unless there was something wrong with my sister, but I was going to get her at 5:30pm from her after school activities and bring her home.

Oh wait, it was 6:00pm.

Oh wait, my mother had reminded me with great Italian emphasis that I would undergo a wrath of which I had not seen if I ever forgot to pick up my young sister. We had worked out sort of a deal in which I would pick her up from school and make sure she was safe until my mother got home and in return my mother would start treating me more like the adult I was trying to become at age 18. It was too evil of a thought to try to play in my head what my mother would have done to me if she knew the reason I didn’t pick up my sister on time was because I was essentially in a drugged out stupor.

Saying my goodbyes, I darted to my house which was eight suburban blocks away so I could get my car to bring home the little one. I listened to the messages, in each one my mother’s voice booming exponentially with rage and threats of a severely diminished social life in the coming month if my sister was dropped from the program because I had neglected to arrive at the correct time.

I managed to get my sister in time.

She told my mother my breath smelled funny. This did not bode well considering how my mother is with my use of happy-happy substances

My mother, to say she was furious would be an understatement, gave me the talking to of my life, but through it all I was just thankful that my father was on a business trip out of the country at the time so I would be able to survive for another day.

I threw up three more times that evening.

I had the grand wisdom and insight to convince myself, “Hey, this wasn’t so bad,” and used dip a few weeks later.

I am an idiot. Don’t do this.

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