Ask a specialist…about chewing gum

Every week, readers from all over write in to ask our featured advice columnist pressing questions about a very specialized field. Whether they hope to resolve a dilemma or find a way out of their quandaries and quagmires, they get their answers here.

Today we are proud to feature Glen Johanssen, a Modesto, California, resident specializing in chewing gum.

Dear Glen,

I love my husband, Evan, but not when he chews gum. He chomps, he slobbers, and he always spits in my face when he talks. Wrigley’s, Bubbalicious, Hubba Bubba—it’s all the same. I’ve tried telling him, “chew softly, my love,” and, “say it…don’t spray it,” as well as, “quit slobbering, for the love of God.” Divorce is my next step. What can I do?

-Emily J. Higgins
Albany, NY

About our specialist: Glen Johanssen, gum specialist, is also an avid pumpkin grower.

About our specialist: Glen Johanssen, gum specialist, is also an avid pumpkin grower.

Dear Emily,

Loud gum chewing and slobbering is something that annoys us all—my best friend used to do it. Fortunately for us, the odious habit of gum slobbering is just a phase, and this abhorrent behavior usually passes quickly. If not, most definitely file for divorce.

Dear Glen,

My boyfriend says that gum originated in China during the Ming Dynasty. I think that’s a load of horse pucky. I say it was invented right here in Texas in the seventies. Can you settle this once and for all?

-Darla Hill
Arlington, TX

Check out The Teaspoon Times e-book!

Dear Darla,

Your boyfriend is close, except that instead of China, gum originated in what is now Germany, and instead of during the Ming Dynasty, it was about sixty-eight thousand years earlier when a Neanderthal man (whom we in the gum field have nicknamed “Jimmy”), stepped in a puddle of tree sap. Wanting to give something special to his mate, “Annabel,” Jimmy collected a handful of the sap, mixed in some dirt (for texture), wadded it up around a flower petal (for flavor), stuck a hair in it (we still don’t know why), and gave it to Annabel. Although Annabel’s jaw was permanently sealed shut when she chewed it, it was still a thoughtful gift, and the discovery paved the way for many improvements in the production process over the years. Today, many flavors of gum are sold the world over, even in Texas.

Dear Glen,

Hi. You know that quote, “If gum be the food of love, play on?” Well, what exactly did Shakespeare mean by that? And could you elaborate on the metaphorical meaning and symbolic intricacies of that phrase?

-Jessica R.
Holyoke, OH

Dear Jessica,

I believe it’s “music,” not “gum.”

The Teaspoon Times e-book: pick up a copy today!This and much more in my new 120-page e-book!

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