As I was watching speeches last Sunday night on the floor of the House of Representatives, someone other than the congressman speaking caught my attention and distracted me for a few moments.
Bubblegum. A sharply dressed, professional woman, notebook in hand, intent on the person at the podium, an aide I assumed to the speaker of the moment, was right in the eye of cameras from around the world, fervently chewing gum! Gum!
Gum chewing is a pet peeve of mine. I’m not a gum chewer, though I have been known to blow a big bubble or two in my time, and I recognize that there are people who chew gum for any number of medical or dental reasons.
Mrs. B was the girls’ health teacher in my high school. She was a nurse who taught us health as part of the physical education curriculum. She taught all the sex education classes, which was considered health, which was considered physical education. Mrs. B was stern, but often very funny. I can still see her fully attired in her nurse’s uniform, a starched white hat stiff on her auburn head, her daily uniform. She was the only adult dressed in stark white every single day of high school. She stood one morning in class, demonstrating what a girl looked like chewing gum, rotating her jaw in an exaggerated way on a pretend wad of gum, and saying in a very firm voice “I just hate to see a pretty young girl chewing her gum like a cow chews her cud!“. This image always stuck with me (pun intended) and the woman on the television, whom I’m sure was quite professional, looked at that moment like Mrs. B’s cow chewing her cud.
Men do the same thing, in case anyone thinks they are exempt here.
I am the one who gets gum stuck on the bottom of my sandals on a 90° + day while at the zoo, trailing a sticky string of someone else’s taste for a yard or so before realizing that it I was sticking to sticky tar, and I was the kid who was the recipient of a wad from the prankster in the seat behind me in 4th grade and had to have it cut out of my long, pretty hair, and I was the one who one day sat in a piece of “abc” gum at a high school assembly . . . you get the drift.
Jennifer came over to give us a massage this week. She will be certified as a massage therapist after a very intensive and long course of study, and she eagerly practices on us. I might add that we are more than willing to succumb to the wonders she performs on our aching, aging muscles. Not a hard sacrifice, to say the least.
This week’s massage was the best ever and I was as mellow as could be when she and her magic touch left. I was relaxed and re-hydrating and watching the news when the gum chewer of Sunday evening popped up briefly on the television. Chomp, chomp, chomp! I turned it off and picked up a magazine and there, right in front of me, was an article on gum with an image of bubble gum ice cream. Bubble gum – ice cream – and it all came back. My worst gum experience of all. The afternoon I took the girls out for ice cream. Katy, I’m sure, had something chocolate. Jennifer and friend Laura convinced me that they would eat it all and not make a mess and be silly if I let them each have a scoop of bubble gum ice cream.
Nothing is sillier than two little girls who promised not to be silly.
What was I thinking? What do you do with the bubble gum in ice cream, especially when you are 10 years old? There was too much gum, cold gum, for the girls’ mouths, especially chewed in with a giggle. They put it on napkins and the rim of a cup and I’m sure slipped it somewhere unseen when my head was turned . What do you do if you are on tv and all the world is watching?
I wondered if Mrs. B was.
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