Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chewing Gum — Chewing Chewing Gum

I love chewing gum. What I mean to say is, I love chewing gum and I love chewing chewing gum. Bubble gum is OK but it tends to be a little too sweet and my temples get sore after gnawing away at it for a while.

Gum is available in a staggering variety of flavors, from your standard spearmint to piña colada. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a roast chicken variety.

One flavor I've never seen though is chocolate. It’s apparently available, but I’ve never had any and it's not sold in any stores here. I wonder why this isn’t a favorite gum choice. I’d sure give it the ol' chew chew cha boogie.

Cinnamon is a popular gum flavor. Dentyne and Big Red are a couple of examples. Big Red brand was first advertised as a strong, bold, powerful gum suitable for only the manliest and rugged of men, like cowboys. The first time I saw their commercial, I thought it was the Marlboro man trying a Nicorette-like therapy to quit smoking. I believe their slogan was “Kick some ass with Big Red.”

The makers of Big Red soon found that sweaty, manure-crusted cowpunchers don’t lend themselves well to the marketing of a tasty confection. So, they went in an entirely different direction and pitched it as a gum for sweethearts. Thus was born the "Kiss a little longer" campaign.

The only problem with this was the fact that the gum was still awfully strong, as illustrated by the "Big Red Wrapper" trick.

From a Wikipedia article:

“It is known that the cinnamon from the gum leaks into the wrappers. The wrappers can burn skin. The 'trick' is for one to lick the inside of the wrapper, and stick it onto his or her face. It will cause a painful burning sensation.”

If they had originally shown the cowboys in their commercials doing that, then maybe it would have been a hit — at least among thrill seekers, sadists, and the kind of guys who think it's fun to wax the hair from their chest and armpits.

While we're ruminating on gum, I've always wondered about the answer to that age-old question "Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight?"  I never attempted this experiment as a kid because my mother would surely have forbidden it. But now that I'm a full-grown mature adult, I can do whatever the hell I like. So, in that spirit, I will go ahead with this important research and update you on the results when they become available. I wonder if I can get a government grant for this.

I miss some of the old brands of my youth like Beemans and Beech-Nut Fruit Stripe gum  (I actually don’t remember what Fruit Stripe tasted like, but I sure do remember the TV ad).

One of my favorite chewing gums back then was Black Jack. This was a licorice-flavored gum that was great for placing strategically in your mouth to make it look as if you had teeth missing.

Of course there have always been the ubiquitous Wrigley brands with their squeaky-clean ads, full of wholesome words and images. Who could forget the Doublemint commercial with the two hot blonde twins walking toward a couple of identical guys while the song plays "A double pleasure’s waiting for you… " or the Juicy Fruit jingle with its immortal words "Take a sniff, pull it out, the taste is gonna move you when you pop it in your mouth…"

Today I tend to buy the sugarless gums that claim to whiten teeth. With all the coffee I drink, I want to do what I can to combat any enamel staining going on. But I don’t necessarily want to chase that great coffee flavor away with some intense icy-cool mint — spear, winter, pepper, or otherwise.

Come to think of it, for people in a hurry, a coffee-flavored gum with all the caffeine included would be a great way to start the day. I think I’m onto something here. I must remember to call Wrigley.


  1. I also love gum. What about those little purple elongated chiclet-type (or is it chicklet?)gum (gums?)that tasted like soap? (That comment was a spelling/grammar nightmare!)

    1. Hello Pam and thank you for your comments. I believe the soap-flavored gum you are referring to was an oddly popular confection known as Thrills. I should have mentioned them since they were integral to my school day routine. After lunch, I’d head to the corner store and spend some of my hard-earned allowance on candy and gum. I’d put the entire package of that purple soapy chew in my mouth. By the time I made it to school, it had lost all its flavor (the gum, not the school. I never really developed much of a taste for school (illustrated now by the similar grammatical nightmare (as you just encountered) that I’m experiencing)).