Almost everyone has a bad habit or more than one bad habit. And, people being people, most people with a bad habit prefer to perceive their bad habit as merely a habit, or a routine, or a preference, absent the negative connotation associated with the expression, “bad habit.” My habit, bad, good, or otherwise, is gum chewing. My prim and proper mother used to admonish me for chewing gum, characterizing it as uncouth, likening it to a cow chewing its cud (an indication of her southern origin!), and informing me it was the “height of ill manners.” Needless to say, none of her stern warnings were effective; I remain a gum chewer. I chew gum often, daily in fact, and in a variety of places and situations. I have even been known, on occasion, to chew bubble gum and blow bubbles as huge as I can until they pop. A former boss of mine used to inquire if I had any bad habits (I suspect she was looking for something to use against me in the future, but alas, I am too clever to reveal my darkest secrets!). I always answered this annoyingly prying question with, “Of course I have a bad habit. I chew gum!” which, at least for a moment, satisfied her curiosity. So, there you have it. I chew gum. But, if that is the worst thing someone can say about me, I guess I am doing pretty well indeed.
Some of these posts are just fun to think about, and one thing the reader may be wondering is, “Why are they writing that”? As we contemplated our blog, we started listing topics, a handful came to us quickly. This one is #99 on Melissa’s list. So, my response to her both on choosing the topic and regarding gum chewing is that this is a habit of hers, not mine. I can’t really relate to gum chewing as a habit because my orthodontist broke me of any tendency I had toward chewing gum well over 40 years ago. While I’ll have a piece of gum now and then, I’ve been accused of being a gum waster because I don’t chew it long enough. I don’t have anything against it, like they do in Singapore, where it is a crime to chew gum; it just doesn’t do much for me. And, I suspect, were it not for the almost humorous encounter with the former employer who Melissa mentioned, that thinking of it as a noteworthy habit would have been less likely than it became thereafter. But, it also shows that something which people do, almost mindlessly, can become a habit. One may not easily recognize that it has become a habit however, until and unless it is noted by someone else. So, chew on – with gum that is, as long as you aren’t in Singapore!