Chewing Gum

Patrizia Poli
2 min readOct 27, 2021

Chewing gum, ciccingomma. Now we all, more or less, occasionally keep one in our mouth to feel a sugary taste or freshen our breath. But, perhaps, no one remembers what chewing gum was in the 70s and 80s.

So, we would get up in the morning, get ready for school, lay on the bed and our fathers with pliers (I swear!) pulled up our skinny jeans, which we had spent hours scratching with the brush in the bathroom to make them become delavè and, holding our breath unable to breathe, we put the first chewing gum of the day in our mouths. On average, it lasted until around 11, when a providential friend offered us a tastier one, which we spat out just for lunch, to immediately put one back in our mouth until dinner time. Woe to being away from home without chewing gum in your mouth, woe to not always having a new package in your pocket, woe to talking to a friend without making bubbles.

There were all tastes, from the popular classic Brooklyn bar, to the colored balls, to the most coveted: a big, succulent strawberry-scented Big Bubble, with which to continually make bubbles and pops (clack!), even in front of the professors who, poor things, suffered this vice of ours as a necessary evil.

If you really could not help but take the bulk out of your mouth, someone would stick the rubber under the counter, but this is another unfortunate story.

We ruminated like cows all day, until we got a headache from moving our jaws too much, until our stomachs filled with acid from excessive salivation. And, the more the chewing gum was sucked, stringy and tasteless, the more it came from hours of uninterrupted chewing, the better it was.

Why did we do it, I wonder now? I don’t know, perhaps to put a barrier between us and the world, perhaps to play it off using a less harmful medium than cigarettes. Maybe? What is certain is that if the young and old today, instead of taking heroin, cocaine or pills, were fascinated by a good chewing gum with a large final bubble, it would be an advantage for everyone.

Patrizia Poli

Patrizia Poli was born in Livorno in 1961. Writer of fiction and blogger, she published seven novels.