Here’s the deal. In various forms, gum has been around for thousands of years. It wasn’t until 1848, however, that the first commercial gum brand was created and gum became a marketable product. Some thirty years later, a man named John Colgan invented a way to make gum taste better for longer periods of time. Apparently, he never shared his invention with the world.
In my experience, gum tastes good for forty-seven seconds. After that, you’re just chewing a wad of tasteless rubber. Yep. Originally, gum came from natural sources, but now what the companies call “gum base” is synthetic rubber. You might as well sprinkle some sugar on an old tire and gnaw away.
And gumballs are so darn tricky. With their deceptive, festive coloring, I’m constantly fooled into thinking they’ll be delicious. But they’re not. Gumballs were invented in the early 1900’s by a German grocer. Interesting fact – most of the gumballs you find in machines today still come from that first batch. Gumballs, all of the allure of a Willy Wonka wonderland with the chewability of a marble.
And what’s the point? Is it all about the bubbles? Let me tell you something, on a scale of “Not at all fun” to “Ridiculously enjoyable”, blowing a bubble falls squarely on “Looks as though it might be a tremendous diversion until one actually tries it and realizes that the novelty wears off about a third of a way through the first bubble.” It’s just exhaling through a thin layer of rubber. If this is your thing, why not get a balloon? Then, at least you can play with it afterwards….as opposed to scraping it off your face when it pops.
But all of this is not the real problem with gum. If you enjoy gum, I understand, who can resist the allure? There’s no better way to practice your chewing. The real problem lies in gum’s disposal. I don’t know why 89% of our population has decided that the appropriate form of gum disposal is to stick it to the bottom of the nearest flat surface. But, as a result, every school desk in America is a disgusting mastication museum. These salivary stalactites are a revolting reminder of the person who used the desk before us…and what they had in their mouth at the time.
Or, even worse, there are the 7% who simply spit their gum out on the ground (the remaining 4% actually throw their gum in the trash – how novel). We’ve all, at some point in our lives, stepped in gum. And it is not pleasant. At first, one thinks, “Why the sudden increase in gravity under my left shoe?” Then, the horrible realization sets in…this is not a blatant defiance of one of Newton’s laws, this is somebody’s spat out candy stuck to my sole. Thank you. Thank you, random spitter, for the opportunity to grab a twig and dig out the gooey contents of your mouth from the tread in my sneaker. Yes, you’re truly making the world a better place.
So, how am I going to do it? How will I rid our planet of gum? Look, I have the utmost respect for Bazooka Joe and his impeccable comic timing…I just wish he’d take those classic one-liners and peddle a less destructive product. Come on, how many times, throughout history, have guilty school kids spat their half-chewed gum into the waiting hands of disappointed teachers? (And, by the way, how is it that elementary school teachers have such a comfort level handling other people’s used gum? That’s weird, right?) Where was I? Oh, yeah, getting rid of the gum. It’s quite an undertaking…I can’t rush into this project…let me get back to you guys….I need to chew this over for awhile…