You’re Gonna Have To Face It You’re Addicted To Gum

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I’m a smoker—and no, I don’t smoke cigarettes. I smoke gum. Two packs a day. Well, no; but about four pieces a day. And ok, so maybe I don’t smoke: I chew. But I chew hard. And it’s getting tiresome.

What will it take to get me to quit? TMJ? An invervention? How did all of this begin?

I know how all of this began. A certain high school friend who reads this site got me on the habit. Her whole family chews gum. The idea is that it keeps your mouth minty fresh after every meal; no offensive odors to sabotage your job interview or ruin that date. Gum makes you ready to face the world.

My gum of choice, these days, is Orbitz. Opening a pack of Orbitz is very much like opening a pack of cigarettes. You have to peel off the plastic. Then you flip a lid to reveal two parallel rows of perfectly set sticks—in one case cancer sticks, in the other chew sticks.

But maybe the chew sticks ARE cancer sticks. That’s part of my worry.

Looking at the label, it reads: “Made of: Sorbitol, Gum Base, Glycerol, Mannitol, Natural and Artificial Flavors…”

I always think that’s funny when the side of a box says “natural and artificial flavors” as if distinguishing the two matters in a product as unnatural as gum. “Oh thank God!” wails an imaginary customer, “This gum has NATURAL flavors too!”

Continuing on: “…Xylitol, Aspartame, Acesulfame K, Lecithin, Blue 1 Lake, BHT (to maintain freshness), Color Added.”

Then, beneath: “Phenylketonurics: contains phenylalanine.”

I’m a firm believer in only consuming products that you can pronounce. True, I don’t consume gum, but at the level I chew it there’s an awful lot of Xylitol and Acesulfame K going into my body…not to mention the phenylketonurics! Thank God for the natural flavors or I’d be really screwed.

But seriously, I have to quit.

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