As a child, I always had a fantasy. I wanted to know what it would feel like to chew an entire pack of gum. I loved gum, and I couldn't imagine the joy of having your whole mouth stuffed with it.
And I'm not talking about a little Doublemint 5-piece pack. No. One of the big 15-piece packs. At the time I believe I was about 5th grade, and the most I ever managed to stuff in was 3 pieces. I could never bear to waste a whole pack of gum in one massive chewing.
I have now lived my dream.
This morning, 1 1/2 hours before school, Youngest Son came to me, looking pale and drawn. It seems he had forgotten to do his science experiment for the week. Science is his difficult class. He did not need a "zero." The science experiment entailed weighing a package of unwrapped gum, chewing it for 10 minutes and then reweighing, and figuring weight differences, ratios of gum to fillers, and percentage of ingestible gum portions.
At this point you are of course thinking, "Ha, give the child the gum and have him quickly perform the science experiment."
And at this point, you would be wrong. Because what you don't know is that Youngest Son is now in braces and has had the worst problem with his wires coming out.
A quick survey of all available children showed that not one person was willing to chew an entire pack of gum at 7:30 in the morning to help out a sibling who had not done his homework.
You know who that left. Me. And my childhood fantasy.
I'll hasten to add that the experiment required the chewing of 2 entire packs of gum (one pack at a time), one sugared and one non. And then the teacher slyly added that any child who did a third pack would receive a PRIZE!
I ran to the store. I grabbed 2 packs of gum . . . one sugared, one non. And then, unable to help myself, I grabbed a 3rd. You know . . . the word "prize."
Let me just say that childhood fantasies leave a lot to be desired. Can you even imagine chewing, with cheeks distended, an entire pack of gum for 10 minutes? Can you imagine gulping mouthful after mouthful of sticky, sweet, chemical-enhanced saliva. I'm sorry. I had to say it.
I chewed for a solid 30 minutes . . . 3 packs of gum . . . 15 sticks in each pack . . . 10 minutes each . . . Juicy Fruit, Orbit Bubblemint, Trident Wild Strawberry and Tangy Citrus. I have seldom felt so ill.
Amazingly, we found out that when weighed after chewing, gum loses almost exactly 1/2 of it's original weight. That means I actually ingested a full pack and a half of gum.
Youngest Son skittered out the door . . . apologetic, thankful, happy. And I sat down at the table to apologize to my digestive system and to eat frozen blueberries and Greek yogurt and try to forget the last 30 minutes.
And to grieve the loss of a childhood fantasy.