Do you remember in high school, when that one kid in class would pull out a pack of gum? Oh yeah, that kid. Suddenly everyone in class ‘knew you like that’ and perked up to ask for a piece. It sucked to be that person because, well, you didn’t want to get rid of that whole pack of gum, and you knew that the second you gave one piece away, you’d end up feeling obligated to give another..and another…and another. And even if it was easy for you to say no, you then had to deal with glares from all different angles of the classroom.
Well, I want to let you guys in on a little secret: I loved being that person. Yes, it was kind of nerve-wracking to be poked or tapped on the shoulder every thirty-seven seconds after the gum’s appearance, but there was something so enticing, so fulfilling, about having something that everyone wanted. Even the people throwing the “stank face” at you were only proof of how valuable that piece of gum was to them. Plus, luck was on your side if you, like I was, didn’t have a large social group – I always envisioned my image for them brightening a little, going from “Yeah, that girl, the one that asks all the questions” to “Oh yeah! That girl – she gave me some gum the other week, she’s chill.” Having gum was as good as fame.
Unfortunately for me, though, I was never much of a chewer. From time to time I had sour punch straws, cheez its, or chocolate chip cookies, but rare was the day I felt like the sage that was the holder of gum. I ponder: what made gum so very special? What made gum the epitomy of desires in the classroom? Was it just that somebody had a sloppy sauer-kraut hot dog, and needed to get rid of the bad taste in their mouth? Or that someone wanted their breath to be extra fresh for the possible make-out session after class? Maybe it was the coke-stained teeth that needed a little brightening (although, honey, you need an appointment at the dentist). Perhaps, too, it could have been that somebody needed a vent for their hyperactive tendencies. Or simply that someone saw a piece and wanted one. Damn near everyone else did.
I thought about this position, today, as I pondered the things I wanted. I thought about money, of course, for the means of doing the things that money could buy: free time namely, but also travelling, having a horse and a place of my own, upgrading my car, etc. Money pretty much covers all of the tangible things. Love is a want, too… I’m a sucker for it, as any of you who may have read my writings before well know. Most of all, though – more than anything …in fact, above and beyond anything…
I want to be that gum holder.
No, not an actual holder of gum. I mean it symbolically. I want to be a holder of answers, of ways, a true sage to people. I want for people to come to me with their bad memories and their future plans. I want people to come with their stained lives and their need to refocus, and I want people to come because they’ve seen other people doing so, beause they’ve seen people leaving, happily smacking away and blowing bubbles.
I want to show people the way that I’ve found; I want to show them my ultimate, self-refilling, pack of gum, and where they can get their very own, just like it. The best part: there’s one for each of us, all you have to do is show up.
On the side, though.. I think I’m gonna call myself Gum Gal.
Or maybe Mint Mama.
Gum Gal sounds more like a superhero – I like it.