My purse is packed with three different flavors of gum. My pantry bulges with wintermint, spearmint, and citrusmint. My gym bag has its own package of gum. Heck, my bathroom has a stash of gum, right in the medicine cabinet.
I just can’t help myself. The bizarre, silly-putty texture fascinates me when I draw it over my tongue and blow bubbles. And the flavors! Strawberry-Lemonade, Mint Mojito, Piña Colada — it’s like dessert without any guilt.
Besides, chewing gum is a great way to keep from snacking when I’m not really hungry. I need something to do with my mouth other than eat; I swear if I didn’t chew, I’d smoke a pack a day.
The attraction to gum started in childhood, with my very first package of Bubblicious. I was five, and was allowed, for the very first time, to choose my candy at the store. I picked gum, because I wanted to learn to blow bubbles.
That first bite full of had me hooked. I chomped my way through packs of blue raspberry, strawberry and watermelon, before settling on my favorite, Dr Pepper.
My parents never complained about my habit, but apparently I was a bit more Violet Beauregard than I realized.
When I was eight, my neighbor Mrs. Hopkins was driving me to the movies. I was in the backseat of the jeep with her son, Brian. She glanced in her rearview mirror and told me to stop chomping my gum like a cow.
Now, I’m the mom in the front seat; from the seat behind me I hear snap, snap, smack. My 2-year-old is chomping gum as we drive to the library.
He chews thoughtfully — and loudly — for a while, before he asks for a second piece. I fish around in my purse and pass a piece back.
I am a gum addict, and it’s catching.