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  • Paul Davidson

I Have A Chewing Gum Problem

Someone not-so-famous once told me, “If you’re not addicted to drugs or alcohol or gambling or sex or washing your hands a thousand times a day or switching the lightswitches on and off and on and off or killing people or making your kids watch those freaky-looking Teletubbies or doing anything resembling a criminal act — anything you do is probably pretty much okay.”

They obviously never met anyone like me, who has a chewing gum problem.

No matter what I do, I cannot convince myself that one piece of gum is enough. The “chewing gum enough-factor” which I have dubbed it for lack of a better one and because I recently axed “the factor that involves chewing gum not being enough just so you know” and C.G.F for short — it keeps my inner-instinct from being satisfied with just one piece, and here is why:

1. Size. Any piece of chewing gum, even the Orbit brand which is longer than previously shrimpy versions of Trident and such, is still not enough. If I can’t fill up the pouch under my lower lip or the area above my teeth against my gums, it is not enough. If a piece of gum, after losing its flavor, seems as small as a piece of food remnant left in my mouth from an earlier meal – it is just not going to work for me.

2. Flavor. One piece of gum has an exponentially low flavor threshhold. One piece of gum’s flavor lasts about as long as it took me to type this sentence.

3. Chew. One piece of gum will not give my chewing muscles the workout they need. Have you ever chewed a whole pack of gum at once for 30 minutes straight, stopped chewing, and then felt the side of your cheeks (the muscles) bulging? That’s a true workout. You’re basically burning off the calories of the piece of gum by giving those muscles a well-needed workout. But with a piece of gum, you might as well be lifting a 5 lb. weight with your tongue, because it’s girly-man stuff.

4. Sarcasm. While chewing one piece of gum, dialogue like “yeah, whatever”, “sure, dude” and “you wish” do not come across as sarcastic. That is because your piece of gum is so small, no one will ever know that you are chewing while talking to them, which is supposed to communicate that you could care less about them. Five pieces in a massive chewy ball in the side of your cheek, while you say the above statements, well — that works. One piece? You’re selling yourself short.

5. Intelligence. If someone asks you a question while chewing ONE piece of gum, while in mid-chew, it takes very little to stop chewing, move the gum to inside your cheek, and answer. But what if you’re chewing a whole big ball of the stuff? And THEN someone asks you a question? It will take you a good 30 seconds to get your mouth free of gum (whilest moving it to the side) to answer the question vocally. This will make you appear smarter. Why? Because you’re taking 30 seconds to think of the answer. If you are chewing one piece of gum and you answer quickly, whether you’re right or wrong — the asker will think you are wrong.

Like I said, I have a chewing gum problem.

I can go through a pack of gum (and not a 5 piece pack but a 14-pack Orbit extended-length pack) in about 20 minutes by chewing at least 2-3 pieces at a time. Sometimes, when I’m going on a very long drive I may actually pack about 6-7 in my mouth for an extra burst of flavorful-excitement. The more gum I can pack in and chew with skill — the more confident I am in myself, my chewing skillz and my bulging cheek-muscles’ ability to handle the job.

Sure, some people have called it a compulsion. But a compulsion is only a compulsion when very few people share the same compulsion. This world is a world where people are obsessed with chewing gum. They eat it all day long. They eat in inbetween meals. They eat it on the phone, in the car, at the gym, while laying in bed, in school, at depositions and while they’re having sex.

Chewing gum is not just my problem. It is everyone’s problem.

So, find me a person who chews one piece of gum at a time and I’ll give you someone who is cut-off, isolated, considered to be a flat-cheek muscled fast-answerer who is often answering questions they don’t know the answers to and looked down upon because of it.

For the reality is this — what some people may consider a problem…may in fact be, a blessing.

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