There’s a saying “Confession is good for the soul.” (Even though that’s not quite the entire phrase, stick with me on this, will you please?) Since I’m confident it will be good for my soul, I have a confession to make.
For as long as I can remember, the conventional wisdom on gum-chewing is that this is a nasty and undesirable habit. Furthermore, chewing gum was often said to demonstrate a level of crudeness and vulgarity that isn’t welcome in polite society.
An article posted earlier this year on the ABC News website is titled Six Gross Effects of Chewing Gum. It’s the kind of article (written by a Prevention magazine writer) designed to discourage perceived filthy habits by noting all the possible harm that might be caused by chewing gum. Naturally, the article adopts a conversational tone, while at the same time, vigorously shaking a figurative index finger at the reader.
Because I’m a fairly compliant individual, you’d think I would have followed the “healthful” conventional wisdom, but I guess my rebellious nature continues untamed to this day. Not only do I enjoy chewing gum, most often I prefer bubble gum!
The purported consequences (remember, there are at least six gross effects mentioned by the above-referenced writer) seem less of a concern to me. I experience no IBS, no junk food binges, no TMJ, no rotted teeth (just got a clean bill of health from the dentist earlier today), nor chronic illnesses/mental disorders as a result of lifelong gum chewing. Yes, I have headaches, but they’re related to other issues.
Imagine my surprise to discover an online magazine of etiquette that has offered some specific guidelines to make the chewing of gum more palatable (if you will) in today’s more relaxed culture. Every single guideline on their list is something I’ve followed assiduously for years. (There’s nothing so annoying on a hot summer day as discovering you’ve got soft, gooey gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe and you’ve dragged it through your house or car! Ugh! Always dispose of chewed gum in a proper manner!!)
An interesting article from February 2013 suggests chewing gum may “boost thinking and alertness,” based on tests measured by Japanese researchers. This one amused me because the research reflects a difference in reaction times of about 52 milliseconds between gum chewers and non-gum chewers. Milliseconds? One professor considers it profound. I’m not impressed.
Here’s a fascinating video that may change ideas on chewing gum even more than I’d have believed. With almost 6.4 million views (currently), this video is bound to make one wonder at the things with which we are impressed and how those impressions come about.
As for gum-chewing, I’ve just found one more reason to keep enjoying my “filthy habit.” I’ll be easily identifiable; look for the old gal blowing bubbles. That’ll be me.