"Do you have a piece of gum?" Remember this fateful question back in middle school? If you didn't have a piece of gum, you were lame and whoever asked probably got a little mad at you. If you had extras on deck, you got cool points for the day. I, however, was a big target at my middle school for the gum supply.
My parents, God bless them, had a Costco membership. If you've never been to Costco, aka bulk item heaven, I will paint you a quick picture of the set-up. Towards the cash registers- just before you hit the concession area which serves the famous pizza- there are 3-4 aisles. Typically these aisles are where you can find your Pub Mix, chocolate covered pretzels, and of course gum sold in big boxes. I was always a fan of Five gum. Costco sold Five gum in a big box which held 15 individual packages of Five. I used to put 2-3 packages in my pencil bag at a time and my classmates took notice.
Chewing gum in middle school was risky though. It wasn't allowed, and if you were caught actually chewing the gum, you'd be done for. I once saw a teacher ask the girl she caught chewing gum to not just dispose of her current piece but to give up her entire pack. So the fact that I had so many packages of this "illegal" item on hand really made me feel like a class A bad a**. People were constantly asking me for gum. For the first couple weeks, when I first started to get Five in bulk, I felt invincible. I could share some, and chew some myself. I knew I was the "go-to" girl for gum. But soon it started to get old. People were only coming to talk to me just to get a piece of Five. Then I quickly realized I was running out. This had to end but I was in so deep I had no idea how. Then it came to me.
One day, I looked into my pencil bag and noticed my last precious piece of Five. My mom had already gone to Costco twice that month so there was no way she'd make a trip all the way to Castleton just to get me another bulk pack of Five gum. I knew that little guy was my last chance sun dance- my last chance to end the exhausting responsibility of providing gum for half of my middle school.
I knew someone would ask me for gum that day. I was sitting in math class, after lunch, and I started to unwrap the blue wrapper. I sighed as I popped my final piece of gum into my mouth. Shortly after there was a tap on my shoulder. "Hey aRowe, got any more of that?" For the first time in weeks, I smiled to myself. I turned around and replied "No, I'm sorry! That was my last piece!" When I uttered those words, I had no idea it would literally be my last piece.
In the weeks that followed, the begging for gum fell off. It started out as me just waiting for a good time to get more Five, but I would only have it for myself. But as weeks turned to months, I realized it was sort of fun being able to say I hadn't chewed a piece of gum in a long time. What started as a way to get out of dealing gum turned into "I haven't chewed a piece of gum in ten years." It may sound silly but I take pride in the simple fact that gum and I have parted ways for so many years.
It's okay though, I have Altoids. (;