Tuesday, June 17, 2008


There seems to be a how-to manual for everything these days. Need to create a spreadsheet? Sure, the internet can teach you how. Need to know how to hook up your DVD player and the instructions are in French? The internet. Building a pergola? I hear there are some good looking pergolas out there and plenty of people to give you some tips. The internet is limitless when it comes to learning how to do something.

Still don't believe me? Typed in "bubblegum addiction" earlier today and sure enough, up popped "How to Give Up Bubble Gum" via the WikiHow website. Dead serious.

Turns out the trick to giving up bubblegum is finding a replacement. So says the internet. Who am I to dispute that? Wonder what advice they'd give to people who started chewing bubblegum as a way of stopping chewing on other things. I mean, really, what about the straw chewers of the world who have turned to bubblegum as a safe replacement? Bubblegum is better than straws, toothpicks, pens, fingernails, etc. At least I think so. What about those chewers? How do they quit all of the above?

WikiHow says carrots. Carrots, radishes, dry fruits. The problem with this is, they are a short-term chew. A couple bites and they're gone. WikiHow says 'do something else.' They suggest reading, walking, shopping. Okay, but what about the people who need the gum to chew for those activities? What about the people who need the bubblegum to keep them focused? The people who can't accomplish a damn thing without the gum to chew on? Tell me WikiHow!

You laugh now, but when you start chewing gum there is no end to it. One piece isn't enough. You need two or three--at once. It isn't about the size of the piece either. The author of Words For My Enjoyment pointed this out some time ago when he addressed the issue of gum size. With Orbit you need at least two pieces. Trident requires about four. Bubblicious requires only one at a time, but you can easily go through five pieces because the flavor disappears after a good, hearty five-minute chewing. And then there is Big League Chew. That gum is wonderful for those of us who like having the power of choosing how much gum we want in our mouth at once, but again with the flavor. Gone as quickly as you get the gum workable. Before you know it, you've picked up a multi-pack-a-day habit.

Of course like any other product, they are constantly trying to offer you something more with a stick of gum. Jolt and Mad-Croc both offer products that offer gum with the added bonus of caffeine. Personally I don't see the need for this. Who says you can't have a caffeinated soda while you're chewing gum? I don't know about Jolt, but Mad-Croc has a nasty after taste that lasts much longer than the original flavor. The added caffeine isn't a draw for me, either. Too Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for my liking. You don't need a meal in a piece of gum. It's a piece of gum. You just need that, nothing more.

All of this said, today I had a simple piece of Dubble Bubble. You know, the gum that barrel-shaped gum with the twisted wrapper ends. Simple, original, perfect.

They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. And WikiHow says you shouldn't quit cold turkey and refuse yourself the stuff 100%. Now they tell me. Where were they when I gave up gum entirely? They could have prevented my Sunday afternoon binge--the whole Orbit pack in less than two hours. One piece every now and then won't hurt anybody. Oh, what a slippery slope...

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