Something to Chew On…


As we stumble forward in the “World of COVID19”, more and more I observe some intriguing “issues”.

“Mask up”, “maintain proper social distancing” and “frequent handwashing” is the chant we’ve all learned in the past year.

Yet, I’m trying to figure out how the “sterile, mask-free zone” was discovered in the restaurant at the table my wife and I sat at this morning.

Now, maybe my wife and I aren’t good “guinea pigs” anymore since we’ve both had the first coronavirus vaccination already.

Maybe we also had some genetic immunity we were unaware of; a little “herd thing”.

Maybe all those years of tent-camping exposed us to things lots of folks today have never encountered.

Primitive camping on a Lake Erie island for several summers and using a slit trench toilet might have done it.

Washing dishes in the lake water and using sand to scour iron skillets was accepted.

Maybe my youngest sister, Jerry, is “covered” because of that bubble gum she chewed after picking it off the bottom of a table we were sitting at many, many years ago.

Worse yet, it was grape bubble gum.

A distinctive aroma, even for the “ABC” kind.

“Already Been Chewed”.

Funny thing, bubble gum.

Kids chew a half billion dollars worth of it each year.

Thatt translates to 100,000 tons chewed worldwide every year.

You’re surprised you sometimes step on a wad of it in the parking lot?

Not sure how you get that out of the sole design of those shoes.

However, if you get bubble gum in your hair, peanut butter is supposed to be the answer.

Creamy or crunchy?

I’ve enjoyed bubble gum since my youth.

I started out on “Dubble Bubble” and then grew fond of the Bazooka brand.

Both were better than the first marketed bubble gum, “Blibber Blubber” in 1906.

It was too sticky.

In 1928, the Fleer Company created “Dubble Bubble”, the first commercial formula for bubble gum.

I think the guy who perfected it was actually 23 year old accountant for the company.

Why is bubble gum pink?

It was the only color the inventor had left.

Glad he wasn’t down to brown!

I also experienced a lot of bubble gum from the Topps baseball cards I collected as a youth.

Those pink slabs of cardboard-consistency gum were the absolute worst.

But I gnawed on it as I rifled through my cards that left sweet, white dust on my fingertips as I frantically searched for my favorite Cleveland Indians.

I think I had at least 12 Woodie Held cards.

Woodson George “Woodie” Held might have had his best seasons with the Tribe.

He came to old Cleveland Municipal Stadium in a trade with the Yankees that also brought Vic Power while Roger Maris, Dick Tomanek and Preston Ward went to the “Big Apple” before it was called the “Big Apple”.

The career .240 batter played mostly shortstop for the Indians from 1958-1964.

Woodie had 3 consecutive seasons (1959-1961) with at least 20 home runs.

Topps actually started with taffy in 1951 before switching to that lousy, next-to-impossible-to-chew bubble gum in 1952.

Mercifully, the Topps bubble gum went away 1991.

But I still chewed on that piece of pink wood, while I searched for the highly-desired team photos of my beloved Indians.

I read that the energy expended by bubble gum chewers is sufficient enough provide lighting for a city of 10 million.

If it was that Topps bubble gum stuff, it’s no wonder.

It also probably did more for the dental business than playing sports without a mouth guard.

The biggest recorded bubble gum bubble had a diameter of 23 inches.

I doubt that was done with Topps baseball cards gum!

(BTW, the bubble gum record holder is Susan Montgomery Wilson. Shouldn’t that be “Mont-GUM-ery”?)

Bubble Yum, on the scene since 1975, has been chewed enough that the pieces would circle the Earth at the equator 7+ times.

Big League Chew, in those nifty little pouches, came out in 1980 so we could pretend we were stuffing a plug of tobacco in our mouths.

Definitely better than the unfiltered Camel I borrowed from my Dad and unwrapped and pinched off in my mouth to emulate my baseball stars.

I didn’t look good in green.

And, in parts of the world, bubble gum holds high value.

Some African tribes would accept a large amount of the treat for wives, in lieu of cattle or other valuables.

As I think back, perhaps that awful Topps baseball card bubble gum, combined with Camel cigarette tobacco and drinking water from a cheap, plastic garden hose in my youth made it possible for me to eat in restaurants today.

We always thought Jerry was pretty gross with that big wad of grape bubble gum she discovered but she was actually an early advocate of recycling and alternative health practices.

Just maybe.

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