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Being dirty means you're a filthy, happy fella

By Paul L. Walker
July 8, 2010 at 7 p.m.

Mind if I dish a little dirt?

Not gossip!

I'm just talking about plain old, everyday dirt. Soil. The stuff you grind into your jeans and socks like it was born to be there.

The number of piles of dirt scattered throughout Longview this summer are good signs. The LISD bond package has helped create quite a bit of dirt flying around the city. Dirt being moved from point A to point B means some dozer operator and his swamper are earning a paycheck. That leads to lots more wage-earning workers busy filling that newly-skinned lot with new construction. All of this dirty work is good for us.

The largest dirt pile I've seen is/was looming behind Fisherman's Market on Johnston Street at Judson Road.

It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Wow! It makes my mouth water. I drove by there one day just to get close to it and fantasize.

Seeing a huge mound of dirt makes me think of playing King of the Mountain.

Surely you've played.

The mountain was often just a pile of dirt a couple of feet high, or maybe concrete sand left after the cement man had poured a new driveway or sidewalk. More than once my buddies and I destroyed a pile of sand that was still to be used for mixing. Oops!

I had a size advantage to crowning myself king. I was husky and built low to the ground. Pushing, shoving, poking, wrasslin', gouging, head butting, grabbing arms and slinging the lightweights off the mountain was tons of dirt-lovin' fun.

When the other guys finally wised up and ran en masse to drive me from my soily throne, well, that was fun too.

Many's the time I was laughing hard when my skull banged into the ground as I was forced to abdicate. Just as fast as I could scramble to my feet, I was charging up the mountain to dislodge the pretender to my throne.

Clod fights were usually part of the battle once the adrenaline began flowing and tempers flaring a wee bit. Naturally enough, the main ingredient of a clod is dirt.

No one ever got their eye "put out" nor did any bones get broken. Well, not too many bones. The most harmful side effects were a few bloody noses, lumps on the noggin, eyes swollen shut with caked-on dirt and enough soil in your ears and underwear to grow potatoes.

There was, and is, something satisfying about getting nasty dirty. I never wanted my children to "play dirty" when participating in sports, but playing in the dirt is another matter.

I don't know the psychology of how men and women think differently, but I do know that most any man you meet at one time had lots and lots of dirt in his life (just ask his mother). That same man is most likely proud of that. I know I am.

The lucky ones still get dirty on a regular basis. We wear our dirt with pride. More than once the women in my life, from the earliest days until now, have taken me to task for wearing dirty clothes, dirty boots, dirty underwear, demanding I change clothes and wash - or else.

I've had the water hose turned on me in the backyard a few times. And on a hot day, that isn't such a bad thing.

Women are, in general, dirt-averse creatures, and that's OK. Dirt might be one of the last male bastions.

Dirt is just fun.

And yes, it's fun to talk dirty, just like I'm doing now.

Paul L. Walker is a high school English teacher and freelance writer. He can be reached at <a href= "mailto:paulleew@sbcglobal.net">paulleew@sbcglobal.net</a>.



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