Walking and Chewing Gum

My favorite but I'm giving it up.

My favorite but I’m giving it up.

My “drug” of choice is gum. My favorite is Extra Smooth Mint. I am addicted to the popping sound as I chew, chomp and munch the beautiful pale blue.

I remember when I was a little girl how jealous I was that other people could manipulate their Hubba Bubba or Bubblicious into that musical sound. So it became my mission to learn this marvelous skill. Which I did.

Then I was accused of horrible things like: looking like a cow chewing her cud. Presumably this is because my mouth never quite closed to conceal the pop-pop-pop.

You could have called me Violet Beauregarde from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory story and movies. For me I think of the song the Oompa Loompa sang for Violet from the 1971 movie version; Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (see the clip here):

Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-do
I have another puzzle for you
Oompa Loompa doom-pa-da-dee
If you are wise, you’ll listen to me
Gum chewing’s fine when it’s once in a while
It stops you from smoking and brightens your smile
But it’s repulsive, revolting, and wrong
Chewing and chewing all day long
The way that a cow does
Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-da
Given good manners, you will go far
You will live in happiness too
Like the Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-do”

The teasing and tormenting continued for a long time and then I got tired of it. And one day I stopped. Quit chewing gum altogether; cold turkey.

But as with other addictions, there’s the chance of relapse. I fell of my wagon and started using again. You see, there isn’t a support group for this one. And I wasn’t starting over; I picked up where I left off. Smack, munch, pop. And it’s worse.

For the past 4 years, I’ve made an art form out of making the most noise possible with a single stick of sugar free gum. I am so embarrassed to admit this, because I’ve been in denial most of this time. Blissful ignorance. I mean really, I’ve had moments where I’ve glimpsed the annoyance of others but didn’t care.

I wouldn’t admit or acknowledge that I had a problem. That this vice of mine was a habit that I again needed to shake.

The moment of clarity came two weeks ago as I watched my youngest perform in his class play: The Three Nanny Goats Gruff.

My husband couldn’t make the performance because of work so my oldest filmed it on his iPad. It was beautiful. All of the children sang, projecting their voices; said their lines; did the movements. But the piano wasn’t their only accompaniment.

When we played back the video there’s this consistent lip-smacking going on and it’s me (and my oldest but you would expect this of an 8 year old).

Oh My Goodness! 

Hello! My name is Gail, and I can’t chew gum without popping it to infuriate the general population. My behavior is reckless and disrespectful to all gum lovers.

My new vice? Sound free.

My new vice? Sound free.

There! I’ve taken the first step. I’ve admitted I have a problem. Now that I have evidence an intervention is not necessary. I will give up gum until I can better control the urge to make it come alive with unnatural sounds.

Walking and chewing gum at the same time is dangerous business. I choose safety. I will switch to mints so I can avoid stinky breath … I am a work in progress.

Some people in my life will be so grateful I’ve come to my senses.

As of the drafting of this post, I have been chewing gum free for 12 days. It’s not easy. I crave it. I miss it. This too shall pass.

What about you? Any irritating ~isms of your own? Feel free to share. 


  1. I, too, am a gum popper. It’s a social disability of the irreverently impolite. Fortunately, I’ve learned over the years to limit my gum popping to while driving, alone.

    Great post!

  2. You are so funny, Gail! I remember chewing gum as a child and adding pieces in as the previous piece lost its flavor until I had a HUGE piece in my mouth (how horrible is that?!). I don’t chew gum anymore but I’m sure I do other annoying things – I just need to ask my family and I’m sure they would give me a list 🙂

    • Oh Letizia, thankfully our families love us despite our annoying habits. And I did the same thing with my gum as a kid. Hubba Bubba and Bubblicious didn’t hold flavor long … Thanks for reading.

  3. It’s brave of you to come clean, Gail. No disrespect to you, but I do find the gum popping habit annoying. 😉 It’s great that you’re doing something about it!

    As for me, I tend to play with my hair a lot. It’s curly, so I like twisting it around my fingers. I do that even without noticing and in the company of most people, and I’ve been told that it’s unbecoming. If I catch myself doing it, I try to stop, but most of the time I only notice when I stop. For that reason I keep my hair twisted up.

  4. Gosh, do people still chew gum? I’ve got this vision of you as Frenchy in ‘Grease’ 🙂

    • HAHA. Yes, something like Frenchy sans the bubble gum pink hair or the pineapple blonde up do. Not many bubbles though. Just popping. Some people still chew gum. Unfortunately, I will no longer be one of them. Thanks for reading.

  5. Phil Hanson says:

    Gail- I love this!! You’re painfully honest! And funny! Remember- there are worse addictions.

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