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Joe Bazookas need to enjoy stepping on gooey gum

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POSTED August 2, 2009 2:12 a.m.
If there is a merciful deity, there is a special spot reserved in hell for those who abuse the privilege of chewing bubble gum in public.

I’m referring to those who believe smacking their gum so folks four blocks way can hear it or others who assume the entire world is a trash can for chewed wads.

In a day when opening a door for a lady is looked upon as either an act of a sexist or a bizarre, colloquial gesture, you can still measure the level of how civilized we are toward one another in the manner in which we torture others with how we chew gum or casually toss it so it can be retrieved by shoes.

Frankly, I don’t care if you smack gum if no one else is around. Do what you want. It’s a free country. But I take exception to gum smacking so loud in stores, theaters, or restaurants that it shatters civilized talk and grates on one’s nerves.

I’m sure there are gum smackers who take offense at these words. But stop and think how irritating it would be to you if someone loudly clapped their hands in an annoying repetitive fashion while you tried to carry on a conversation over a meal, concentrate on your shopping or struggle to hear the words to a movie being projected in Surround Sound because some jerk four rows back is entertaining themselves by smacking their gum.

Then there are the ultimate slobs, those who discard gum at will without regard for anyone else. It is an extremely sore point especially when you step in the gooey mess on a 90-degree day just feet from a nearby trash can.

On two occasions at Little League games over the years, I’ve seen kids take gum out of their mouths and toss it over the edge of the bleachers where it landed in the hair of an unsuspecting victim.

In one instance, the nearby mom of the gum tosser was mortified. But on the other occasion, the parent of the culprit was indignant that the girl who caught the gooey mess in her hair was crying.

This happened at a Roseville game where the mom actually told the little girl she should have watched where she was walking.

That’s right. The entire world exists as a spent gum deposit for her darling son who I’m sure has graduated to bigger things such as collecting a dozen or so inoperable vehicles parked on his front lawn that he has let die.

I went to high school in the early 1970s when the enlightened mood among some administrators was to ignore teachers who were sticklers for old-fashioned classroom decorum. Philip Alosi was one particular teacher who refused to let his standards slide. Gum was taboo. Not just because it was in the student handbook, but because it was a major distraction to his teaching French.

Danette Malloy would be counted on at least once a week to test Mr. Alosi’s patience by smacking gum in class. She knew this would irritate him, prompt him to stop the class and lecture on how rude the practice was. Danette, most of the time, ended up smacking her gum later.

Mr. Alosi would often send Danette to the principal’s office but she often returned minutes later by the grace of an administrative decree that there were more important things to worry about than gum smacking in class.

Forget the fact that it was annoying to the rest of the class and the teacher.

After stepping on my second wad of gum on the asphalt in as many weeks, I’m beginning to think the folks in Singapore know exactly what they are talking about.

Thirty lashings with a cane in public might just cure those who view the world as their personal garbage can and somehow assume they have the inalienable right to annoy the people in closed, public places.

All I hope for is that one day Joe Bazooka can get a taste of his own medicine.
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