I found my Thrills …. on the nightstand. Next to my temporary bed. Thanks to my sister. She put them there for my chewing pleasure. She knows I love Thrills.

Gum has been a love hate relationship in my life.

When I was chewing with abandon, my mom used to call me Pat Quinn. Apparently he was an aggressive open mouth chewer. Gum is a stress reliever. I’m no NHL coach but I can imagine the anxiety and pressure. Gum helps.

It’s also a status symbol. Well it was in grade 8. Hubba Bubba was a thing. If you had the flavours you were all that. Daily fruit intake via gum. But science teacher Mr Pethic (nickname “pathetic”) was a stickler for the anti gum rules. Hence my punishment for getting caught with a mouthful wad: writing “I will not chew gum ” to fill the chalk board. A bit embarrassing albeit, but a huge reprieve from boring science and, better yet, a chance to write on the chalkboard. I firmly believe that pathetic had no idea he was making my day.

My brother and sister had other (strange) ideas about Hubba Bubba. Teachers used to have a zillion reasons why gum was horrible. Among the top five was that if you swallowed it you wouldn’t digest it and it would clog your innards. This was like a challenge to my sibs. There were a bit nerdy and inquisitive. Hence the gum digestion challenge. Eat an entire pack and swallow after chewing. Then assemble around the toilet the next day after a BM to see the results. Thanks to the experiment we never worried about swallowing gum again. It’s just like corn after all.

Going on a date without gum is like wearing dirty underwear. It’s not cool. Minty (or watermelon or strawberry for that matter) breath is essential. A mega smooch session requires gum breath. Period.

Going to court, however, is a gum restricted activity. In fact, there’s gum police. If you’re caught chewing gum in court (guilty your honour) the court clerk gum control person confronts you and chastises you. It’s verboten and enforced. Rationale?? Who knows. But it’s perfectly okay to dis the judge and process with lewd behaviour. Hmmm … whatever.

If you go on holiday to a poor area (third world Caribbean nation for example) they tell you the kids love gum. Pack extra to hand out. What they don’t tell you is you get swarmed. And yelled at. They don’t want gum per se. They want money!!

One of my all time favourite gum brands is Thrills. I have never chewed soap but apparently it’s what soap tastes like. It’s hard to find but my sister has found a supplier. I’m grateful. It’s been too long since I’ve had some Thrills.

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