Lame Adventure 423: Chew on This

Recently, I traveled to the land of my living ancestors: San Francisco. For much of the week before I left Manhattan, I diligently prepared for my getaway. I thoroughly cleaned my sanctum sanctorum, did laundry and made sure all of my bills were paid. I had even placed my Father’s Day card in my duffel bag weeks in advance, so there was no way I would forget to take it.

Hearts and flowers-free sentiment.

Hearts and flowers-free sentiment.

As sentimental as I get.

As sentimental as I get.

The pre-planning for my trip went spectacularly. I even remembered to get gum.

Gum is an issue with me. I am not a gum chewer. I don’t like the taste and I think that chewing it plays Russian roulette with my dental work. But, I always chew gum during take off and landing because the plane’s cabin pressure wreaks havoc with my ears. One of the consequences of not being an aggressive gum chewer is forgetting to pick up gum. As a passive gum chewer I often have to purchase it at the airport and pay more. This time, not only did I remember to pick up gum in advance, I considered where to get it.

Instead of going to my neighborhood everything store, Duane Reade, I decided I would try the guy at my corner newsstand. I was in the mood to bargain. His selection is vast. Instantly, I was overwhelmed. I knew I would prefer a minty flavor, but when I started reading the ingredients, it all looked like a nauseating concoction of chemicals. I have been eating predominantly organic all year to compliment my fitness routine. I didn’t want to put any of this crap in my mouth, but I had no choice due to my ear situation. So, I relented and decided to go with original flavor Trident.

Newstand Seller: A dollar fifty.

Me: Really? Are all of these a dollar fifty?

He pointed at a few packs of bubble gum.

Newstand Seller: These are a dollar.

Me: Well, that’s a drag. I don’t chew bubble gum. In fact, I don’t chew any gum. I’m just getting it because I’m flying on a plane.

I put the Trident back. He reached down and handed me a pack of Stride Sugarfree Sweet Peppermint flavor.

Stride.

Stride.

Newstand Seller: You can have this one for a dollar.

I bought the bargain pack of Stride that reeked of mint and headed over to the laundromat to fold my clothes. As I’m folding I start thinking about my pack of bargain gum. I realize that I’m so unfamiliar with Stride, in my head I’m referring to it as Strive. As I am securing my socks (none went missing this load; I felt victorious over the machine), I wondered:

Me: Did he sell me that pack of Strive for less because it’s made in China? Could a key ingredient be lead?

Suddenly, I feared deplaning with incubating stage three tongue cancer. Is it conceivable that I’ll say hello to my sister upon arrival and goodbye to my sex life upon return?

It appears that Mondelez Global LLC manufactures Stride in East Hanover, New Jersey. Even though every ingredient sounds straight out of a mad scientist’s laboratory, Stride has its own Wikipedia page, which eases my mind considerably.

Ugh.

Ugh.

That makes no sense since Ebola, phenylalanine, and possibly one of my ancestors, (the) Village Idiot, have their own entries, too.

About phenylalanine, that’s in my pack of Stride. But why? It’s an amino acid that’s found naturally in breast milk, but unnaturally in gum for complicated reasons that almost make my head explode. One thing I know for certain: I am not going to put Stride in my pie-hole.

Hey look, a pigeon was on the ferry to Angel Island!

Hey look, a pigeon was on the ferry to Angel Island!

Angel Island with (possibly) pigeon-free sailboats in foreground.

Angel Island with (possibly) pigeon-free sailboats in foreground.

So, I visit the organic department of my market, Fairway, where I unload $2.38 on two packs of made-in-Rhode Island Glee Gum. It’s aspartame free with no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives and “made with Chicle for rainforest conservation”. Excluding the “resinous glaze, beeswax and carnauba wax”, coupled with the sky-high probability that Glee Gum is a frontrunner in the Department of Tooth Decay, it seems like a safe alternative to the oral deathtrap that is Stride. After balking about paying a dollar fifty for a pack of Trident, I end up paying $3.38 total for three packs of gum to chew on the plane.

Glee gum with little guy who does not look glum like purchaser.

Glee Gum with happy dancing little guy who does not look glum like Glee Gum purchaser.

Appropriately, I have no idea what I did with that pack of Stride. Hopefully, it did not fall behind a chair and is now in the process of burning a mint-scented hole in my carpet.

Thurber the family dog, "Your gum problems are so first world."

Thurber the family dog, “Your gum problems are so first world.”

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58 responses to “Lame Adventure 423: Chew on This

  1. The epitome of a lame adventure. Back to your roots on this (both literally and literately).

    Hope your dad is doing well.

    Looking forward to your Pride presentation next week.

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  2. “…balking about paying a dollar fifty for a pack of Trident, I end up paying $3.38 total…”

    I’ve done similar cost-saving moves ending up paying primo for something because of my second-third-or fourth-thoughts.

    Next time you fly, squeeze your nose and either swallow or try to gently blow. You will hear a loud screechy noise and feel better. Careful not to pop your drums.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad you had a good trip to visit the family. And sorry you spent that dollar on Strive or Stribe or whatever it’s called. But, gosh, 3 something for gum sounds insane. Thurber is right–so first world, my friend. LOL

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

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    • It was far from my initial intention to pay $3.38 for gum, Kathy. It just ended up that way when I realized that Strive (or is it Stride?) is a purse-pack sized Dow chemical plant. No thanks!

      The overall visit West was quite pleasant.

      Hugs back from the Big Apple,
      V

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  4. Very funny, glum glee gum…

    R.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thurber’s take on the whole matter is perfect, V. And thank you for including a shot of him. I was hoping you would do so. Along with my sister’s dog, Mojo, he’s right up there as one of the cutest dogs on the planet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A trip West without a shot of the Lame Adventures dog of dogs would be an aberration, Cathy! I even took several shots of Fred the Goldfish — who turns 9 next month! Fred’s over a year older than Thurber! He’s also shed almost all of his gold and is now almost completely silver. If they make body dye for fish, I don’t think my sister is going to invest in it for Fred though. He seems content to live alone. I would love to see a picture of Mojo. What a great name!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I just type a long comment. It’s gone. Hello. And I’m keeping this one short.

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  7. Funny you should mention first world problems with your gum dilemma – how very true. I first heard that phrase just a couple of weeks ago when I was complaining about how inconvenient it was to have to take the winter tires off both of my cars… Yes, I feel pretty bad about that. I’m glad to know there is someone else who doesn’t chew gum. (I can’t even do it on a plane.) I see too many people – often women – who look like cows chewing their cud. I’m so terrified of that look that I just say no. I take candy or dried fruit on the plane and they seem to work for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If I had two cars, lived where you live and had to remove eight tires, you would hear my grousing all the way to Mars, Terri. I am a subway rider who feels your first world problem pain. I don’t find gum chewing attractive, either, and now, whenever I notice a gum chewer (gender is a non-issue with me) I find myself wondering if this person is a contributor to the many black gum blots dotting every sidewalk in New York. I refrain from vocalizing that query because I prefer to keep my teeth in my head, not scattered around me on the floor.

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      • Good idea. Two weeks ago my brother got smashed in the face for a “perceived” slight against someone’s vehicle. Broken nose, 6 stitches and an assault charge later… I also refrain from passing comments!

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        • Whoa! And ow! What a rage-filled dunderhead! Your poor brother! I used to work with a guy who was so thin-skinned, Terri, my friend, Martini Max, called him “no skinned”. And yes, Max didn’t say that to that guy’s face.

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  8. Hmmm…the guy on the package of Glee Gum doesn’t appear to have any teeth. A subliminal warning, perhaps?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Did you take extra to offer babies in arms so they wouldn’t scream during landing?

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    • I did, but I didn’t think to offer. And now, I seem to recall that there was a kid somewhere sitting in the back of the plane screaming his or her head off. Hey, Rebecca, I’m a non-breeder — it’s not in my DNA to think about how to shut a screaming kid up.

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  10. You wouldn’t catch Reggie chewing that Stride gum. And he eats napkins regularly.

    Glad you had a good trip to SF.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jackie. It was a lovely getaway.

      Reggie is clearly double digit IQ points smarter than Thurber who would not only eat the gum, but the packaging. My sister and brother-in-law keep their house in 24/7 lockdown — another reason why he looked so forlorn on the couch. He’s gum deprived.

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  11. I don’t chew gum either V. I feel weird with it in my mouth and when it loses flavor it’s even more weird in my mouth. I just yawn a lot to pop my ears when I fly. The Glee gum looks retro and I dig the yin yang symbol on it. Thurber is such a sweet sweet baby. I would dog sit him or walk him if I lived near him. If I ever visit San Fran you’ll have to let your parents know a strange woman wants to take care of their pup. I’m rambling. Good to see ya V. And read you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see ya, too, Brig. Thurber’s my sister’s pooch. As cute and cuddly as he is when he’s relaxed, it does not take much for him to transform from a peaceful, tranquil pup into an anxious barking machine.

      Considering the sugar content in Glee Gum, it’s very retro!

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  12. Definitely a classic LA tale … but given the long flight, you chewed to your heart’s content. Great pic of Thurber.

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  13. I love Thurber as much as I dislike gum.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My advice would be get a reusable chew toy at the pet store and forget gum altogether. So what if it’s made in China from recycled condums, you’ll be doing the planet a favor and reducing your carbon footprint at the same time. Not only that, but just think of all the aspartame trees you’ll be saving. Next time, call me first and I’ll get you on the right track from the get-go.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. LA, the first time I ever flew was to JFK Airport, and didn’t even think about the need to chew on take off and landing. And, as I was on the plane by myself, I didn’t have the opportunity to watch what other folk did.

    On the way back, the plane was packed, and I was sat next to a man who I didn’t know. It was a night flight anyway, and (I think) we both slept for nearly the whole journey. The Usherette (I call them Usherettes, even the male ones) came over and offered me and the man a boiled sweet for landing.

    As I unwrapped mine, a sudden dip in altitude caused the sweet to fling itself out of my wrapper, and catapult itself somewhere towards the front of the plane. The man beside me noticed this, asked if I’d like another and promptly called back the Usherette to explain what had happened.

    Gum makes sense to me now. All of the above could have been avoided if I’d have only thought of that…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Perfect adventure, gum is an important part of take-off and landing though you could also take a hot towel and put it at the bottom of a plastic cup and place the cup over your ear and achieve the same affect, you would simply look silly doing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I promise you, Val, that the next time I’m on a plane with a hot towel and a plastic cup, this will be #1 on my to do list upon take off. Thank you for sharing that pearl of wisdom, complete with the clam intact, here on Lame Adventures!

      Like

  17. If you don’t get a Strive gum sponsorship for this, I don’t know what is wrong with the world? I mean, I’d never even heard of Strive until this post, so I think they owe you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Although I understand those $3.38 woes, it’s better than nothing. I remember being stuck chewing gum-less on a plane and frantically miming that I was chewing gum in hopes of deceiving my ears. No luck. Also, I think I got freaked out about gum ingredients around the same time I started researching what was in my toothpaste. Seriously, anything with more than 10 letters (mostly consonants, usually one or two “k”s) freaks me out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Flying gum-less would be so hazardous to my ear-health, Sarah. For me, and it sounds like, for you, it’s an essential aspect of personal flight safety. It never dawned on me just how unhealthy gum is until I focused on the many consonants-packed ingredients. Stride might boast about containing 30% fewer calories than Glee, but at least Glee would only destroy my teeth and not my innards.

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  19. Yikes. And yuck. I need to read the labels of gum packets more carefully. When I had braces (a few million light years ago) gum chewing was a no-no and then I found it totally disgusting. I’m very hot and cold with it. My kids like it, but I’m strictly gob-smacked-free right now. Had NO idea about the ingredients in Stride. But to its favour, I do find it “chews” much more easily that Glee. I find Glee to lack luster and needing to be spit out shortly after insertion. I suppose in that way, it’s kind of ideal for flying!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ha ha. That’s funny you ended up paying so much more. I stress over a few dimes sometimes in the store and then I have to remind myself that it’s really not that much! I want to show you my gum photo for a laugh. I’m not sure how to put a photo in….hmmm, maybe a link to it instead. Here it is:
    http://www.blueq.com/shop/item/229-productId.125845275_229-catId.117440525.html

    Take a look at the other gum choices. They’re pretty funny, too! I bought this gum once for fun, because I don’t even chew gum either. It did make me laugh!

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