Strap in, cause a bitch fest is coming.
Remember when you were a little kid? I remember when I was, and candy was a focal point for me in those early sunsplashed days of the 70’s and 80’s. Going to the store with whatever change I had to buy cheap candy was everything — a habit I haven’t come close to breaking even today. Although admittedly now it’s more online and in random shops. But the spirit is there!
Back in the day, gum was always included with candy for me — they were interlinked. Getting a bunch of Jolly Rancher Stix? (the long ones, not the bullshit little stubs they have now) in marvelous flavors like raspberry, fruit punch and pink lemonade? Yes, please, but let’s also see what kind of flavors they have currently for Bubble Yum and Bubblicious as well. Not to mention random gum, like the little burlap bag of gold, where the gold chunks are gum? What about Gatorgum!!! THE BEST! Sour before sour was even a thing. Gum cigars, random gumballs, “Freshen Up”, the gum with goo in the middle…There was a LOT.
But now? Now the landscape is very, very different. Gone are the glory days of interesting gum (anyone here remember “Lebron Lemonade” from the early 2000’s?). Totally gone. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that gum, in one sense, is dead. Now, it’s all of the “sugar free fresh breath” variety. How many fucking iterations of mint do we need?
But on the sugar tip: when’s the last time you found gum with sugar in it? Have you looked?
You might be thinking “Jonny, why the heck would I want gum with sugar in it? Aspertame is awesome!” Well no, it’s not. I’m not judging anyone, and I’ve ingested my fair share of it, but at a certain point, you kinda want to try to put less pharmaceutically-created shit in your body and more real foods. That point for me hit home when my kid came into the world. And let me tell ya, he’s always loved gum. He’s smart. GUM IS GOOD. And fun! Or was.
Even a decade ago, we’d go to the local candy store, and they had this desk where each little thin drawer held different types of gum. It was awesome. But now, you just can’t find gum with sugar in it. Go ahead, I dare you. I mean, you can, as I’m about to show, but it’s not at Target or your grocery store. In one sense though…it’s always been here. The classic: Bazooka.
Ok so what’s changed with these since the last time I bought a box? (spoiler, it was in 1986. Seriously.) Answer: not a damn thing.
I was very intrigued by the grape flavor, as I’m not sure I’ve ever had it. And it’s good! Not a super intense grape, but you know we Gurus love our grape flavor.
However, the star here clearly is the classic — the original. It tastes the same… Cue memory flood. It’s kind of hard when you start chewing, but then it really softens up and you’re loving it. Let’s be honest with ourselves, sugar gum loses its flavor quicker than artificially sweetened gum. But Bazooka gets a longer run of flavor than I was expecting. And you know that original “bubble gum” flavor we see in just about everything from pop corn to ice cream to gummies? It came from somewhere, and that somewhere is Bazooka. And damn it if the comic strip still isn’t included! Still not funny, kind of cringe, but I appreciate it being there!
Hey I’m not TRYING to ingest calories all the time, but one thing I’ve learned is that, simply put, real is better. I’d rather have a yummy nostalgic chewing gum experience once a day and take the 20 calories on, than endlessly chewing sweet tea mint peppermint wintergreen strong mint alpine frost mint sugar free gum with Stevia, anytime.
Also, don’t you think it’s kinda cool to have a tub of gum on your desk at work? Even if your office is actually your kid’s room now?
If your answer is no, we need to talk.