Previously-Chewed Chewing Gum

June 18, 2007

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

Ugh.  Ick!  It used to freak me out as a teen when I accidentally touched a piece of gum under the table at Bob’s Big Boy restaurant.  Yuck!  Nasty!  It’s been in someone’s mouth.  Saliva, spit, germs…gross!!!!!!!!

Years later, my daughter Jamie is a germ freak.  I’m convinced this came as the result of food inspections by the Department of Health at the Cinnabon shop she worked at.  Fastidious attention to cleanliness was essential to keeping up health standards, and today she insists on bottles of bleach under the kitchen sink and around the house.

It’s even hard to have a family picnic these days.  Double dipping chips…a la Seinfeld…has become a crime punishable by excommunication.  Backwash, from sipping your soda through a straw?  Execution!

Television validates our squeamish fears of getting germs from others.  Jordan Cavanaugh, medical examiner, pries a wad of orange-flavored gum from under the pay phone.  Voila.  DNA analysis, and trace amounts of saliva nail down the culprit.  Case solved!

CSI…crime scene investigators, on their third inspection of the temple where four praying monks were murdered, find gum on a Buddha statue.  Analysis reveals cooking spices in the chewed gum.  Suspect is confronted.  Conviction!  Bam.  Case closed.

Hmmm…DNA on a wad of chewing gum?

At all levels, for the average person, sharing germs…on a wad of chewing gum, by double dip, backwash, or any other fashion…is either gross or criminally dangerous.  But sharing germs of the intimate kind…from sex…well that’s safe…if you ask some “sexperts”…and if not safe…then it’s “safer.”

Safer than what?  Two bites of a Dorito double-dipped in salsa?  Leaving your chewing gum behind after you commit armed burglary?

Grocery stores now offer Sanicarts as you enter the store, wet wipes to sanitize the handle of the shopping cart used by some unknown germ-carrying humanoid before you.  Comedy routines have us laughing at the common effort of many to get out of the bathroom without touching the door handle, touched by so many other sickly people before us.

But sex germs?  No problem.  Sexperts who want to serve up condoms to teenagers chafe at the suggestion that we should establish sexual abstinence until marriage has the expected standard for youth.

Sex germs?  These “sexperts” don’t want to dwell on the negative.  That would be fear-based.  That would be unrealistic…they preach…because kids are going to have sex.  They can’t help it.  Young people cannot control themselves…not now…not ever.

Sex…our children…and sex germs?   These “sexperts” reassure us.  Sex germs?  They’re consensual germs.  That makes it OK.  A person, even if she’s only fourteen, consented to having those germs placed inside, outside, all over and anywhere…by a responsible, mature and caring person…who…


…also consented to being infected by nasty, icky, yucky, gross…germs?

What am I missing here?  Germs are germs.

If chewing on germy, pre-chewed chewing gum…if the thought of this is enough to make us gag…

…then why would any sane person jump into bed with the first consensual babe, and every other consensual babe after that…only to end up sharing germs?