"Aw c'mone babe, it ain't that bad." Daring me to take a dip, my husband held out his can of tobacco.
My family's convoy of four cars had just pulled out of the Cracker Barrel parking lot where we'd had pancakes and way too much sweet tea.
We were now following my dad, who was driving the van, trying to find a gas station with an air pump to fix the tire on my brother's car.
As he stops the car at a red light, my husband urges me again. "What happened to that girl I met in high school?" The right side of his bottom lip sticks out a little where he always puts his dip in.
I cross my arms over the seat belt. "One of us had to grow up."
He laughs, "Alright, you chicken." He was starting to put the lid back on the can when I snatch it from his hand.
I peered down into that little round can of black, stinky stuff and swallowed. This was going to be gross.
I looked back over at my husband, who's eyes had grown a bit wide. Apparently, he hadn't expected me to take his dare.
I smile at his shocked face. "Okay, so how d'you do this?"
He laughed. "Are you serious?"
As a heart attack. I wasn't about to be called a chicken. My dad had dipped for as long as I could remember and my husband had for years, so had my brother. I could do this.
I cocked my eyebrows at him. "I ain't no pinchy pollo." I hold the can up. "So how you do this?"
When he stops laughing at my stupid Spanish, he proceeds to show me that you pinch a wad of the tobacco between your fingers and squeeze it tight.
Then, he shows me how to open my lips wide enough to stuff the wad between my cheek and lower teeth and then squeeze my mouth shut and mash the mass of sour mush with my tongue to make it stay in place.
Then, I proceeded to spit into his dip bottle every five seconds.
A few minutes later it tastes really bad. Really bitter. "Ew, is it s'pose to taste like this?"
A few minutes after that, my throat is really starting to burn. "Is my throat s'pose to burn like this?"
"Hay no, cochina!" He looks at me like I have two heads. "You're not s'pose to swallow it!"
I glare at him. "I'm spittin' every five seconds, it's still drainin' down the back of my throat."
"Okay, use your tongue to push it up closer to your lip. Get it away from the back of your mouth."
Easy enough. But that's when the world started spinning. Everything was spinning.
And apparently, I found something very funny. Because all of a sudden I started laughing and couldn't stop.
"Chingado, Mandie! Spit it out. You're too buzzed." He shoves his hand in front of my face.
"Wait!" I'm still laughing. "Is this what happens every time you dip?"
His face wrinkles up for a second and I find it hilarious and can't stop laughing. "No. You get used to it after a while."
I feel as high as a kite and my face it completely numb. My heart feels likes it's beating 200 beats per minute, and I feel like I'm about to faint.
"Alex! Why didn't you tell me about this before? This feels awesome!" I go back to laughing.
"You're not gonna feel so awesome in a little while. You should probably spit that out." He gets all serious.
"What? No way! This is awesome."
By this time, my dad has found a gas station with an air pump and we all pull in. As soon as the car comes to a stop and I see my brother and dad get out of their cars to work on the tire, I open my door.
"Where do you think you're going?" My husband had a death grip on my shoulder.
"Uh, to ask dad why in the world he didn't tell me 'bout this stuff before?" Duh.
"You ain't gonna be able to walk like that."
I shove towards the door and out of his grip. I fall my way out of the SUV and find that, indeed, my husband was right. I could barely put one foot in front of the other.
The concrete was spinning.
I stumble my way over to where my dad and brother were knelt down by the almost flat tire. "Dad, why didn't you tell me 'bout this stuff before?"
My dad looks up at me a little confused.
I sway a little and my brother catches me before I kiss the concrete. I think he smelled the tobacco on my breath. "Amanda, d'you have a dip in?"
I smile, probably with tobacco in my teeth and all. "Sure do."
Standing up, my dad says, "You'd better spit that out. You're gonna hit the ground if you don't. Not to mention you're gonna be sicker'n a dog."
Rolling my eyes, I turn back towards our car and see my husband propped against the bumper watching me.
I pass the van, with my grandmother and step-mom in it, right when I felt the need to spit. I bent over just a little to spit. But it must have been a little too far because I just kept going.
And there I was lying on the concrete, laughing my butt off at myself and how insane I felt, when my grandmother threw her door open. She, very loudly, called me by all three of my names and asked, "Do you have snuff in?!"
This I found even more hysterical. "Sure do."
And this my grandmother found even more hysterical because she nearly fell out of the van laughing. My step-mom had to pull her back in and my husband had to come haul me off the ground and back into the car.
Once he had my seat belt on, he shoved his hand in front of my mouth. "Spit it out."
By now, I didn't feel so good anymore. Sure I still felt like I was flying, but my stomach was churning and burning.
"Fine." And I spit the wad into his hand.
When they had finished fixing my brother's tire, a few minutes later, and started rolling again towards the highway, the worst nausea hit me. I swore I was going to blow pancake chunks everywhere.
My husband felt like it was his fault. "I shouldn't have dared you to do that."
I laid my head against the cold window and breathed slow. "It's okay. It was fun while it lasted."
Forty-five minutes later, somebody needed to use the bathroom and we were getting off the exit heading toward the nearest gas station. I threw up a prayer of gratitude as we pulled in.
I headed straight for the Sprite and a pack of Rolaids.
When I emerged from the gas station with what I hoped was going to cure me of this dip-hangover, my dad was standing outside with my husband and brothers.
And my dad can't resist. "Alex said you turned green but didn't vomit."
I glare at my husband. "No. But I wish I had. All over his interior."
My husband laughs.
My dad does too. "Did I not ever tell you 'bout the first time I dipped?"
No, apparently oh wise father, that is one life lesson you left out.
I shook my head.
He laughs again. "Well, I was on top of the house, fixin' the roof with Chris' pawpaw Bill when he offered me a dip." He nods towards my brother Chris who starts howling with laughter.
Apparently, he'd heard this one before.
My mouth fell open. "On top of the house?"
My dad laughs harder. "Yeah, on top of the house. He knew exactly what he was doin'. After givin' me a dip, he kept lookin' over at me while we're replacin' the shingles. Right about the time I was gettin' ready to ask him what his problem was, that's when the world started spinnin'. And instead of makin' sure I didn't fall off, he fell back on his ass laughin'."
My eyes grow wide. "Did you fall off?"
Dad's still laughing. "No. But I nearly did."
By this time, my family has had a good laugh over my experience and we're all headed back to our cars to continue the road trip.
I had just pulled open my car door when I hear my dad holler as he's about to climb behind the driver's seat, "You sure you don't want another dip?" He pulls his can from his back pocket.
"Hell no!" I yell back.
And then from the back of the van, I hear my grandmother fall into another fit of laughter.