Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


My grandfather chewed Chiclets--from a little yellow box he kept in his pocket.  I remember my parents preferred Clorets--green gum that supposedly freshened your breath, or made it smell like a plant, I guess. I liked DoubleMint--mostly because I, an early victim of sex-intensive marketing, thought the DoubleMint Twins were hot.  My older brother--somewhat prudish in his youth--sneered at my chewing and once told me I sounded like a cow walking through a swamp.  I've used that line a lot in my life.

Throughout elementary, junior high, and high school the authorities proscribed gum-chewing, a proscription rarely enforced--only when someone waxed obnoxious about it.  If you were discreet, especially when the teacher was looking at you, no one really said anything.  Besides, most of the teachers had something going on in their mouths, too--gum, lozenges, chaw, who knows?

Later, a teacher myself, I worked for a number of administrators who had a thing--a negative thing--for gum, drawing all sorts of inferences about the character of gum-chewers from their masticatory habits.  (Sounds a little naughty, doesn't it?)  I couldn't force myself to get too exercised about it, though, because I was/am an inveterate masticator.  Oh, sure, if someone stuck a wad on the chair--or sounded like a cow--or bull--walking through a swamp, I took action.  But usually not.

One year, at Harmon Middle School, band director Gary Brookhart and I got hooked on Hall's cough drops.  We worked together on some drama productions, and there was around us a cloud of menthol.  But we were sucking on the sugary kind, and my visits to the dentist (and my standings on the bathroom scale) alarmed me, so I quit.  Went back to sugarless gum.

Until recently.

I had a little cough-cold a couple of months ago, and Joyce brought home some Hall's Black Cherry (Sugar Free).  And I'm now, once again, a Hall's Head.  My jacket pocket always has a stash; my mouth has become a temporary storage facility.  I was eating so many of them that I realized I was going to have to go a little more slowly, so I started using them as little rewards: During my reading stints, I would award myself one after each twenty pages.  I liked that.

Until I noticed that there was some--what?--burbling?--going on in the area guarded by my belly button.  Hmmmmm.  This went on for a few days, so I finally decided to read the warnings on the bag--always a good idea, especially after you've been using the product for a month or so.  And here's what I found: excessive consumption may have a laxative effect.


Joyce also pointed out that each little wrapper has an inspirational/motivational saying on it.  (What Don Draper thought of that?  Are there people who actually read little candy wrappers?)  I've saved a few of them, so I'll end with some inspirational messages for you:
  • You've survived tougher.
  • Don't waste a precious moment.
  • Fire up those engines!
  • The show must go on.  Or work.
  • Buckle down and push forth!
As I read these over, I recall the laxative effect warning.  Somebody at Hall's has a sick sense of humor!

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