Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gum Chewers and Knuckle Draggers

There are some things in life that are truly defining: a Quasimodo-type hump, an eardrum-piercing laugh, an eye patch combined with a parrot on your shoulder and a peg leg. But most physical characteristics are not so black and white. There’s a massive gray area, where these things are nuanced.

This brings me to my point.

Chewing gum.

From the time I was a kid, I was taught that if you chew gum, you chew a small piece, you conceal it discreetly in the side of your cheek, and you never let your mastication show. And that was the norm—you didn’t see a lot of people (beyond the schoolyard age) chomping away on a wad of gum.

Recently, plagued as I am by seasonal allergies, I’ve been experiencing a dry mouth as the result of my antihistamine use. It has pushed me to chew the occasional piece of gum. Discreetly. I was at a meeting, and I tilted my pack o’ Trident to the woman next to me, and said, “Gum?”

She looked at me with disdain and said, “I’m not a gum chewer.” ZING!!!! A gum chewer… it sounds a lot like an axe murderer, or a knuckle dragger, doesn’t it? Cuts me like a knife! The irony here being that this woman could clearly benefit from a course in personal hygiene—one that teaches people how to shower, wash their hair and launder their clothes. Seriously, when you have this woman looking down her nose at you, you have to take a real serious look at yourself.

So I did. Take a look at myself, that is. My gum is quietly resting between my cheek and my back molars, just slightly keeping my mouth moist. No popping, cracking, or blowing of bubbles. You wouldn’t even know I’ve got it in my mouth. But now that I’ve been deemed unfit for social contact by virtue of this faux pas, I’ll have to put my axe away and bandage my knuckles.


  1. Hi Leah! Watching people openly (by which I mean open-mouthed) chewing gum is a modern affliction. But no matter how discrete it is, I can't stand anyone in a customer service role to be chewing gum. It looks unprofessional. One of the supermarket chains in the UK banned its staff from chewing on company time, and I applauded. Wow, I'm ranting. Indigo

  2. Like you, I was taught to chew discreetly. The open mouth smacking would get the gum in the trash! But boy that lady was a little ruff on you, I think!

    Hope you didn't mess you knuckles up too terribly bad!! =0)

  3. I have mastered the art of gum chewing discreetly. I remember in high school, I could cheer at an entire ball game with it in my mouth, and nobody would see it. I have noticed sometimes when I'm giving presentations recently, that it slides about unprofessionally (must be old age!), but I figure fresh breath is more important. Drag your knuckles all you want, but at least you smell good!

  4. I chew gum now and then. But when I do, I don't chew like a cow like some people I've encountered.

  5. HAHA...I snapped my gum once as a kid and my Mom gave me a quick lesson. LOL

    You should have offered her some Hubba knuckle dragger you.

  6. It is always the ones with the least room to complain that make the loudest noise. Aren't you ever tempted to turn to her and say "I'll spit out my gum if you will take a shower?". I know, you wouldn't but sometimes it seems like a good idea.

  7. LMBO!
    What an AWESOME blog!
    Better yet...what SUPERCALIFRAGILISTIC acerbic wit!!!!
    To quote Jerry, You had me at, "Hello"" the newest "follower"!
    LOVE the heading and accompanying pic and "explanation"...or is it an "excuse" for all that follows??? LOL! ;) Sorry...just throwing back a bit of dry humor!
    Am with you on the allergies. We live in the semi-deep south (SC) and the pollen is H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E here!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog...will be keeping up with you now. :)

  8. You know... I just hate it when things like this happen.

    This is a very funny post! I really enjoyed it :)


  9. You have a neat blog too Leah. Thanks for stopping by!