04 April 2009

Does your chewing gum lose its flavor?

"Does the spearmint lose its flavor on the bedpost over night?
Would you use it on your collar when your button's not in sig
Put your hand beneath your seat and you will find it there all right...

Does the spearmint lose its flavor on the bedpost over night?"

(Billy Rose, Marty Bloom & Ernest Breuer, 1924)

The other day I came across a delightful new blog written in Spanish by a person who lives in the same city that I do and calls himself "Generación Googleinstein". He is an engineer and educator named Jesús Alberto Sánchez Valtierra and his blog is called "Irapuato" and you can reach it by clicking on this link:


He recently posted an item about a utility pole here in Irapuato on Ocampo street called "El Poste de los Deseos" or "The Wishing Post". There you can stick your chewing gum to the pole and say a magic word and (eventually) your wish will be granted. I have seen the pole many times (photo below) and I thought it looked quite strange. I asked my wife Gina about it and she hates it. She won't even look at it and averts her eyes when walking down that street. Now there is some hope, however, for people who think old chewing gum is ugly. After almost 150 years biodegradable chewing gum has been invented...AGAIN!

There is a tree that is native to the Yucatan area of Mexico called the "Sapodilla" (Sahp-oh-DEE-yah) tree or "Chicozapote" tree (Manilkara zapota) and besides a fruit that tastes like a combination of brown sugar and root beer, it also produces a latex looking sap called "chicle" (CHEEK-leh) that is used to make "goma de mascar" or "chewing gum". It was first invented by the Mayans in Mexico and then reinvented in the United States in New York in the late 1860's by none other than Antonio López de Santa Anna who you will remember as the main villain from the story of the Texas Alamo. Now it is being reinvented by the Mayans in a form of biodegradeable chewing gum called "Chicza Rainforest Gum". The gum is made by Consorcio Chiclero, which is a consortium of 56 co-operatives employing some 2,000 gum farmers. The workers (called "chicleros") extract the sap of the chicle tree, which is then used to make Chicza chewing gum. This new biodegradable chewing gum does not contain any petrochemicals which, as of this date, no other chewing gum can claim and Chicza Rainforest Gum does not stick to clothing or pavements because it is no longer sticky when dry. Once you spit it out, it will turn to dust in about six weeks and dissolve harmlessly in water or be absorbed into the soil. Not only that but it comes in three flavors, lime, mint, and spearmint. This is such a simple thing but the potential advantages are immense. Not only will this employ people in Southern Mexico but it will also focus on protecting the rain forest where the Sapodilla grows. The trees are not destroyed by the sap harvesting and are a renewable resource.

When people first started flying on commercial jet airplanes in the late 1950's and early 1960's they were encouraged to chew gum on airline flights to keep their ears from "popping". The airlines soon found out how difficult it was to remove discarded chewing gum from airplanes and airports and now it is almost impossible to buy chewing gum at an airport even though it is not illegal to chew gum on a plane. It also costs municipalities and property owners countless millions of dollars each year to clean chewing gum off of the streets and sidewalks (and from beneath desks and chairs). Okay, so if we chew the new gum, the only problem that we will still have to deal with in Irapuato is the question about whether or not your wish is still valid if your chewing gum falls off of the wishing post and disintegrates.


glorv1 said...

I don't think I would want to see a tree embedded with gum from different people. I would do the same as Gina is doing, turning away. I rarely chew gum, but when I do and get tired of chewing it, I always put it back in it's wrapper for later disposal. How nice I am, huh?:) I have to be truthful though, there are a few desks that may still have my gum or maybe even a bench or two. Long ago. Have a great Sunday Bob. Oh yeah, I bought 4 bogies today, (bougainvillea's) new name for them. I hope they make it over here because we have tried to grow them before failed. bye now.

bob cox said...

Some dadgummed history...
Back about 1870 Thomas adams bought a tone of chicle sap from General Santa Ana (in exile in New York at the time). He tried making tires from it, toys and rainboots.
None of the projects succeeded, then one day he chewed a piece of it & Caramba Adams chewing gum was born. after flavoring it with corn syrup and mint flavor it made him rich...Santa Ana died broke.
The first stick gum was licorice flavored....called blackjack (it was my favorite when I was a tyke).
So next time you sit on some gum remember...you just got "Santa Ana's Revenge".

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.