Written by Dave Henry

Saturday, 21 April 2018

image for How Train Watching Replaced Spitting as America's Pastime

Back in the late 19th and early 20th Century, when people said things like pastime, simply passing the time and getting though the day were very important. People needed pastimes that took up huge chunks of their day, otherwise, there was very little to do. If they didn’t have pastimes, people would go home and stare at each other, or worse yet, read.

One of the most popular activities in the late 1800s was spitting. People would waste away the days spitting until they ran out of phlegm. It was something that everyone could do and they could do it pretty much anywhere, as spitting was allowed in most schools, churches, and stores. People would spit everywhere -- off bridges, into puddles, on their shoes, and into their hands before they clapped. They would even use spit to clean their face like a cat.

Another favorite pastime in America back in the late 19th Century was train-watching. The train watching craze gripped the nation for several years. People loved the fact that trains were so long. You could easily kill an hour or more by watching one train and all its cars go by. People would line the tracks 10 deep whenever a train came through their town. Then they would come back later in the day when it came back through. Every day, people could literally kill 2 to 4 hours watching trains.

Eventually, train watching fizzled out as kids gravitated to the pastime that would pass even more time, baseball. Baseball was a great pastime for a very long time because it could take up to half the day – literally six hours -- to play one game.

Kids also played a variation of baseball called stickball. But this was a problem in places where there weren’t many sticks, like Brooklyn, New York, where there is only one tree. To play stickball, the kids had to tear that one tree apart until, eventually, the tree was gone. After that, since there were a lot of pianos, kids started playing baseball with piano legs. However, when the legs were torn off, pianos would start falling out of windows and rolling down streets like they did in Laurel and Hardy movies. Ultimately, piano ball was outlawed as several people were crushed by rolling pianos.

For a short while after piano ball was outlawed, train watching came back into vogue, but soon TV was invented and that became America’s pastime. TV was the dominant American pastime until Al Gore came along and invented Internet porn. Now, smart phone porn is America’s pastime and will remain as such until virtual reality porn takes over.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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