OK, I’m weird and vulnerable…I’m doing NaNoWriMo and I wrote this which made me laugh as I remembered it. I’m putting it here so you know, I’m doing the thing I said I would do. Do not judge me! OK, really I’ve just reread it and judgement is unavoidable…it happened…but I’m an older and wiser person now. Plus it was the 70’s. And I was, like, 7.
We were banned from having gum because Mum didn’t know how to have nice things when she was a girl, and as it turned out, neither did we. Plus my hair was cut to short-back-and-sides to rescue the damage caused by my mum with the scissors after I’d inflicted damage to myself by falling asleep with gum in my mouth. We were SO banned from having gum. Banning things from kids of a certain age and lack of standards just makes them become lateral thinkers. If we were not being overly supervised when spending our silver at the newsagents or lolly shop then we would ask the newsagent, in a whisper, for a couple of pieces of the Black Cat gum that cost 5 cents and was black and licorice-y and chalky to start with in little 2 centimetre squares…it also had a transfer tattoo in the wrapper making it worth the extravagant 5 cents in amongst the 2 cent lolly window. If we had a piece, we had to make it last because as we kids knew (the hard way), if we threw that piece away, we never knew when we would get another piece of blessed gum again! So it would be hidden…we’d learned that putting it in our pockets or shoes was really not the way to go; funnily enough, it only reinforced the gum ban. But sticking the gum lump underneath our beds was perfect! Sure the gum lump was a little hard to get going again, but it got there eventually, as I have the jaw to prove, plus it was totally better than scraping it surreptitiously from where it had been spat (or lost as we preferred to imagine) on a path or the road. But, in the interest of full transparency (because, really, I think you’ve all underestimated me and you need to know what you’re dealing with) this did happen.
If we’d been particularly eagle eyed and gotten it fresh, it still often had the desirable pinkness to it of ‘expensive’ bubble gum and hadn’t yet gotten the black coating of, well I’ll call it life, over the top. I’m pretty sure we justified the black coating as being from the cars that drove all over it…(and that was OK….(not OK))….and not from everything. It was quite a project scraping your nail into a wad of smoothed gum on the road. If you were lucky, the weather was warm which facilitated the whole endeavour and then it was just a matter of scraping determinedly until you’d gotten together a small cohesive ball of gum. Sometimes, it still had its original flavour still attached, mixed with Goodyear. Occasionally as you chewed it back to life, you came across a bit of grit or asphalt that could chip your milk teeth and then it was just a matter of trying to fish the grit out…or accepting that you had scraped GUM OFF THE ROAD and were now chewing someone else’s gum. It was a small price to pay, dammit – we had gum!
I know how this all sounds; do NOT judge me…I’ve hardly ever been sick a day in my life…like you were so perfect….(probably)…