A Sticky Situation

Head of a cartoon boy with a cap and patch over his eye blowing a big pink bubble-gum bubble that states "Sticky Situation".

Yesterday as I was standing in line at the grocery store, I couldn’t help but notice all the gum on both sides of the checkout aisle. This, while the person ahead of me piled more and more groceries on the conveyor belt. (I never knew a shopping cart could hold so many items!)

Instead of becoming frustrated that I’d gotten in the wrong line, I focused on all the colorful varieties of gum on both sides of me. This also kept me from getting engrossed in Kardashian-related tabloid headlines.

A visual scan revealed at least 30 different kinds of gum, if not more. That’s when it occurred to me: Gum is big business because legions of people are passionate about chewing it!

For most of us, our adoration starts when we’re kids, and is probably an extension of our pacifier, which we were completely attached to when, one day, Mommy and Daddy took it away and hid it forever.

Unlike hard candy, however, gum had a lot more rules associated with it:

  • We were never to swallow it because it did not digest like regular food, and

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    someday we would bankrupt our family with an expensive surgery to remove the huge wad of gum blocking our small intestine.
  • We could not chew gum in school.
  • We could not chew gum in bed.
  • We were not to stick it underneath our desk.
  • We could not throw it out a car window.
  • We could not chew it in church.
  • We were not to use it to hang posters.
  • We were not to crack it.
  • We were not to chew the whole pack at once.

These straitjacket-like rules seemed endless, and yet we still loved our gum! I personally loved Bazooka bubble gum the most because—in addition to blowing awesome bubbles—I got a comic-strip wrapper featuring the adventures of Bazooka Joe, along with my fortune at the bottom!

These days we have sugar-free gums, gums that whiten our teeth, and gums that freshen our breath. I mean, why do we even need a toothbrush or mouthwash or even a trip to the dentist for a cleaning? Apparently all we have to do is chew the right stuff!

I will be sticking with gum forever. Fortunately for us billions of gum lovers, the surgeon general hasn’t come out with a warning that chewing it is hazardous to our health. In fact, many give up the deadly habit of smoking by switching to gum instead. See what I mean about the pacifier theory? We always have to have something in our mouths! (Get your mind out of the gutter; I made no reference to that. You went there yourself!)

In any case, as I scanned all the rows of gum at the checkout counter, I looked for my beloved Bazooka and determined that gum has something wise to impart to us:

One should only chew one piece at a time, and toss it once it becomes old and tasteless.

Don’t live in the past by chewing old gum, and don’t harbor it inside of you either.

Stick to your dreams, and never let anyone else burst your bubbles!

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by Geri Jewell


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