Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"They Actually Eat That:" Chewing Gum.

"Stop chewing gum in class!" It's bad for your teeth, usually contains aspartame, and so on and so forth. It's also a godsend for those of us who have trouble keeping our mouths shut. Whether you love or hate gum-chewers, one must wonder if they truly know what they are eating. After all, there has to be a reason that chewing gum does not digest.


Chewing gum as we know it originated from chicle, the hardened sap from a certain tree (Manikara chicle) native to Mexico and Central America. After being defeated in Texas, Mexican general Santa Anna moved to New York and shared a bit of chicle with his friend Thomas Adams. Thomas Adams tried to use the substance as rubber for toys, masks, and rain boots, but did not experience any success until he chewed some of the leftover substance in his mouth. Chewing gum, as the product would thereafter be called, was officially invented in 1870. Put things in your mouth, kids - it makes you famous!

The problem with chewing gum is that it is essentially food-grade plastic. Take a break, go outside, and walk to 7-Eleven, a gas station, or a drug store. Pick up your favorite brand of chewing gum. Look for one ingredient in English on the label. You are not chewing chicle anymore - it's 90% chemicals, now.

And if you take the blue-red pill, you can have gum from an ACTUAL TREE!

If you think that sounds bad, bubble gum is chewing gum's mutant cousin. Like chewing gum, the invention of bubble gum was a freak accident: A gum maker named Walter E. Diemer noticed one tiny thing wrong with his latest batch of gum - namely that it produced bubbles - and immediately began to market the stuff. A five-pound wad of Diemer's gum sold out in a single afternoon.

I am not sure what to think about the future of gum. Chances are there will be even more chemicals,  more freak accidents, and, maybe, giant radioactive squirrels who accidentally nibbled the wad. The only part of that which sounds fun are the potential Hulk-squirrels. Have fun chewing gum...but remember where it came from!

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