How Deep Is Your Love?

I’m not sure if it technically qualifies as an addiction, an obsession, or just an intense passion. Whatever you want to call it, however you choose to label it, I simply cannot get enough Juicy Fruit gum.
About a month ago, they started stocking it in our vending machines at work. I remember clear as a bell the first day I noticed it, inconspicuously positioned at the bottom of the machine, right between the Tums and generic Life Savers.
“Huh,” I thought. “I haven’t had Juicy Fruit in ages – didn’t even know they still made it.”
I didn’t give it much more thought than that. I just bought my bag of Cheez-Its and went about my day. But later, during meetings and on conference calls, I noticed my mind kept wandering back to the Juicy Fruit.
“I wonder if it still loses its flavor as fast.”
“Did it really say it was only $0.50? That seems like a good deal. Even the low-fat animal crackers cost $0.65.”
The next day, it wasn’t even 10:00am before I found myself jingling two quarters together in my pocket, a nervous habit I picked up from my father. I don’t like people prying into my eating habits, so I waited until a couple particularly chatty co-workers left the kitchen. I slid the money into the slot, punched in the numbers and watched as the yellow pack shot out of its holding cell with a satisfying thwack.
I liked the way it felt in my palm, but I didn’t dare open it while I was still in the kitchen, so I slipped it into my pocket and went back to my desk. As I opened the wrapper, the first thing that struck me was the color.
“Yellow? Juicy Fruit is supposed to be grey. All Wrigley’s gum is grey.”
Obviously a few things had changed since the last time I had tried the gum, so I didn’t get my hopes up too high.
“Why can’t they just leave well enough alone?”
But the second I put the crumbly stick of gum into my mouth and started to tentatively chew, I was sucked into a tidal wave of memories of Proustian proportion.
The park! Playing games! Some balloons! Got an A! Those friends! So happy! Favorite shoes! Hey, kittens! Dilly Bar! New bike! Summer vacation!
And then 90 seconds later it all stopped. The buzz had worn off. The gum was hard. The flavor all gone. I spit the gum into a tissue, took a sip of water and started running some reports for my next meeting. Every so often I would glance down at the yellow pack of gum on my desk until finally I couldn’t resist any longer. I popped in another piece.

Oh fun! Catching fireflies! Best friends! Turtle sundaes! Snow angels! Big wheels! Baby hamsters! Shrinky-dinks! Pizza party! Coleco-vision! New jeans!

This cycle of intense and instant gratification followed by utter letdown and depression continued for weeks, leading me to my current four pack a day habit. Now I just wait until people leave for the day and then buy up all the Juicy Fruit so that the vending machine guy will stock more. It is my greatest hope that one day someone at B&H Vending will take a close enough look at their inventory management records to understand that they need to get rid of the Cinnamon Dentyne that no one ever buys – EVER – and stock at least two full rows with sweet Juicy Fruit.
H2. It’s always in H2. Every time I approach the machine, I feel a slight electric buzz of excitement and fear. What if I got there one day and it was all sold out? I don’t even want to think about it.
Sometimes, when I’ve finished off a pack, I just smell the wrappers for a while. The best is when you take the empty foil pack and squeeze it open a bit, then lean forward and take a deep whiff of the sweet stuff. God, it’s so awesome.
What kind of fruit is in Juicy Fruit anyway? If I could find out what fruit tasted like Juicy Fruit, I would gorge myself on it until I became sick. If they made Juicy Fruit scented perfume, I would bathe in it. If I were Willy Wonka, I would make scratch-n-sniff wallpaper that smelled and tasted like Juicy Fruit. If I were a coroner, instead of rubbing menthol under my nose like Clarice Starling did in Silence of the Lambs, I would just stick a fresh wad of Juicy Fruit over my nostrils. Juicy Fruit can make even death smell sweet.
I guess maybe this finally helps explain why I’ve always felt such a connection to Chief Bromden from One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. We’re both passionate. We’re both thinkers. We both love Juicy Fruit so much. And we would both smother our closest friends with a bed pillow if they were ever lobotomized.
If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

27 Responses to “How Deep Is Your Love?”

  1. brandon Says:

    why was it so sad, that first day when you could decide what it means to be an adult, you bought that pack of gum and chewed through every stick, and somehow felt hollow at the end?

  2. delmer Says:

    I remember when Wrigley’s gum was five pieces for a nickel. Then it went to seven pieces for a dime. (I’m guessing this was the mid to late 60s.)
    Now, under the Bush administration, it’s $.50. When will somebody put an end to the madness the current administration is raining down on us?

  3. claire Says:

    Juicy Fruit is great when it’s fresh (least whenever the last time I scored a fresh pack was). You’d think your machine would’ve gotten some fresh packs by now with all the gum you’ve been chewing.
    So as not to sound all crazy here, I’ve got some additional JF thoughts that will post on TTaT in the AM. Hmm, that sounds a little crazy… ;)

  4. Tracy Lynn Says:

    I don’t chew gum, but I have the same reaction to caramel. And cocaine. And booze. Sometimes sex. Definitely drugs….

  5. teahouseblossom Says:

    Heh, I remember loving Juicy Fruit as a kid! Even though it was marketed to grownups, and all of my friends chewed Bubble Yum or something else pink and bubbly..I loved the Juicy Fruit!

  6. elise Says:

    My first thought also would have been to wonder whether or not the gum loses its flavor in .05 seconds. Glad to know it still does. I think something would be wrong and weird if it didn’t.

  7. You can call me, 'Sir' Says:

    There are, I suppose, worse addictions than gummy satisfaction. Alcohol, porn, dressing up like a cheerleader and doing cartwheels through major airports (my hidden shame, exposed!), etc. *sigh* We all bear our burdens. Lucky for you yours only costs $.50…cheerleader costumes ain’t cheap.

  8. You can call me, 'Sir' Says:

    There are, I suppose, worse addictions than gummy satisfaction. Alcohol, porn, dressing up like a cheerleader and doing cartwheels through major airports (my hidden shame, exposed!), etc. *sigh* We all bear our burdens. Lucky for you yours only costs $.50…cheerleader costumes ain’t cheap.

  9. strode Says:

    Coffee out of my nose. That was my reaction to your smelling the wrappers. That was funny. I love it when you look back, and bring up things like Big Wheels. It reminds me of when I was young. I had a Big Wheel, but I was jealous of my friend that had the Green Machine.

  10. Avitable Says:

    Here’s your solution – buy a case!

  11. jenny Says:

    brandon: it’s sad because there’s not enough juicy fruit in the whole world to go around. there’s just never enough.
    delmer: and now they’re back to 5 sticks in a pack. i will vote for any candidate who promises to give me 25% more juicy fruit!
    claire: i’ve probably totally messed with their inventory planning – they just can’t understand why my office chews 10000% more juicy fruit than any other office building.
    tracy lynn: don’t even get me started on caramel. i wonder what juicy fruit would taste like if you dipped it in caramel?
    THB: well, juicy fruit is no good for blowing bubbles, but it’s so yummy, i just don’t care.
    elise: i know – it’s nice when some things never change.
    sir: yeah, posting bail isn’t cheap either, i imagine. but if you bring the costume, you can be the next tequilacon mascot!
    strode: GREEN MACHINE! OMG – those were the best! didn’t they have some fancy brake that would make you spin out? loved those.
    avitable: a case!?!? you’re like a pusher – i love it!

  12. churlita Says:

    maybe you could whore yourself out to the vending guy and get that extra row replaced with Juicy Fruit.

  13. peefer Says:

    You’ve got problems, girl.

  14. kris dresen Says:

    “Juicy Fruit can make even death smell sweet.”
    Why you aren’t a highly paid advertising executive is beyond me.

  15. Peggasus Says:

    Or, you know, you could buy it in a ten-pack at CVS or Walgreens for one buck when it’s on sale. Which is pretty often. It’s not ‘as crack’ that way, but certainly lots cheaper.
    Me, I would totally be the same way about Beeman’s.

  16. Avitable Says:

    I am an enabler, it’s true. I bought 7 cases of that Wrigley “5” gum from there, so I’m also an addict.

  17. Finn Says:

    Ah, Juicy Fruit. Now I’m going to have to go get some.

  18. Dustin Says:

    This could have been my story except you’d need to replace Juicy Fruit with Swedish Fish.
    Chairs! End Tables! Funny looking lamps! Why is IKEA shit so cheap? Get out of my way college students!!! They sell meat balls here too? HEAVEN!!

  19. shari Says:

    You have Juicy Fruit in your office?!? OK, Chicago and I are back ON.

  20. Black Belt Mama Says:

    I was so waiting for you to say that they’ve improved it and it keeps its flavor. Still, a pack a day could get a girl through.

  21. Robin Says:

    20 sticks of sugar-loaded Juicy Fruit per day? Your dentist is going to be able to send another one of his kids to college now.

  22. jenny Says:

    churlita: well, i’ve been hoping it won’t have to come to that, but i suppose if i really loved juicy fruit…
    peefer: is this the first time you’ve noticed that? :)
    kris: i agree. i’ll bet at least 5 more packs of juicy fruit are sold (to me) based on this post alone!
    peggasus: beeman’s? didn’t they make that in the 1800’s? you’re a historian of gum.
    avitable: we’ve really become codependent, adam. here, have some gum.
    finn: yesssss! another one hooked!
    dustin: i just saw an article about a bar somewhere that garnishes a drink with a swedish fish. i’ll see if i can find the recipe for you.
    shari: sure, sure. you just like to keep stringing me along.
    BBM: sorry… no improvements to the longevity. still clocks in at about 90 seconds – if you chew slowly.
    robin: no kidding. plus i’m going to get TMJ syndrome.

  23. Valerie Says:

    God, Juicy Fruit is the BEST. I haven’t had any in SO long! I think our vending machine may have it, actually . . .
    WHY does it lose its flavor so quickly, though? Ugh.

  24. Dave2 Says:

    I switch between Juicy Fruit and Pina Colada (or whatever new cool flavor they’re pushing at the checkout counter). I would probably stick with Juicy Fruit exclusively if it wasn’t so short-lived in the flavor department.

  25. jenny Says:

    valerie: they do it to get us hooked on the flavor so then we have to keep buying more and more and more!
    dave2: pina colada? say what? i want pina colada gum!

  26. Beth Says:

    I feel the same way about Sugarless Bubble Yum in the Peppermint flavor. Which they are discontinuing BTW. I’m rationing my last 5 cases (yes…I buy by the case).

  27. nancycle Says:

    I dated this really cute country boy in High School who ate juicy fruit. Talk about sucking face!!!

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