HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

June 2, 2007

Why am I writing about gum?

I love gum. It’s chewy, stretchy, and can keep me entertained for hours. I don’t think I could live without it.

Gum became an addiction of mine sometime around seventh grade. I had to have a piece of Winterfresh after lunch. If I didn’t, I’d often find myself chomping on pen caps and pencils during my history class.

My addiction has since grown. I can go through almost half a pack a day. I use it for everything from keeping me amused to an appetite suppressant.

I’ve also tried just about every flavor imaginable.

I’ve breezed my way through all flavors of Orbit, possibly just to see if “Citrus Mint” and “Bubble Mint” really did give my mouth “that good, clean feeling.”

The answer is yes, they do. I’m particularly fond of “Citrus Mint,” despite the fact that the fruit and menthol combination vaguely reminds me of a cough drop.

Lately I’ve been dabbling in Trident and Dentyne, mainly experimenting with their fruitier flavors.

Maybe Winterfresh is a gateway gum. . .

There are certain activities where gum is simply essential.

I have to have a piece of gum in my mouth whenever I play volleyball. This started in high school and has followed me onto the sand courts.

The more frustrated I get, the harder I chew. When I’m really ticked off, I probably look like a cow grinding a corncob between its teeth.

By the end of the game, my gum is completely flavorless, hard, and has the lovely additional texture of sand.

Apparently, I’m not the only person who associates gum with volleyball. One of my teammates was chewing gum during a game in her senior year. When she hit the floor, sprawling after the ball, her gum majestically sailed out of her mouth and landed on the court.

This is the same court that all of our filthy shoes and sweaty bodies had been coming into contact with for the entire evening.

She picked the gum up off of the floor and replaced it in her mouth completely disregarding the unsanitary conditions I described above.

Needless to say, all of us were pretty disgusted. But I can understand her actions. After all, dirty gum is better than no gum.

Gum is also a good thing to keep around when you’re in class. Nothing makes time pass faster in a boring class than having a big wad of gum in your mouth.

Cracking, popping, and blowing bubbles with your gum during class will keep you entertained and your instructor fuming.

I only offer one word of caution to gum chewing enthusiasts everywhere: watch out for the big bubble popper.

This is the jerk who will burst your bubble (both literally and figuratively). Usually, they like to use their whole hand to shove the bubble in your face.

A lot of people find this funny (myself included), but it can be a disaster if you have long hair.

I don’t care what myth you’ve heard. Be it peanut butter, freezing it, or letting it soak in laundry detergent over-night. Nothing gets gum out of hair besides a scissors.

So the next time you’re bored, hungry, or just want to taste an obnoxious flavor combination (like Juicy Fruit’s “Strappleberry”), throw a piece of gum in your mouth. It might just make your day a little bit brighter.