Anybody Interested in Buying My Used Gum?

By and

My Tuesday afternoon consisted largely of trying to convince my work colleagues to buy my chewed-up wad of gum for a hundred bucks.

Perhaps not the most productive couple of hours I’ve ever spent, but with graduation just a month away and my lucrative college journalism career about to end, the thought of unemployment and poverty led to the unorthodox would-be money making venture.

I was a little disappointed that I was only able to fetch $40 for it.

Oh yeah, and a shiny nickel in recompense for one co-worker swiping a fresh stick from my five-pack.

I can only surmise that the lack of whirlwind, escalating bids for this prized possession stemmed from it being Wrigley’s “Winterfresh,” rather than my trademark Wrigley’s “Juicy Fruit.”

The store was all out of the latter, and so I had to substitute.

Had it been Juicy Fruit, however, the value would have increased exponentially, I’m sure, given that it’s the brand of gum all my legions of friends and fans traditionally associate with me (think of the Chief’s first words to McMurphy in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and you’ll know why).

Had it been Juicy Fruit, I would be a rich man.

I mean, someone offered $3,200 for a piece of chewed gum discarded by Arizona Diamondbacks slugger Luis Gonzalez; why wouldn’t the same hold true for me?

I have to admire the ingeniousness of Jason Gabbert, who convinced a security guard to retrieve for him the gum Gonzo tossed aside after knocking out a single in a spring training game against Oakland, and then putting the thing up for auction on the Internet.

Silly me had always viewed gum-chewing as a way to satiate my considerable oral fixation, a means to avoid turning my pen lids into a lump of plastic mush coroners can identify only by pulling their dental records.

Gabbert saw the mangled heap of sugar and corn syrup and discovered a way to capitalize on the American obsession with sports memorabilia collecting.

That the Wood Lake, Minn., resident announced all proceeds would go to fund scholarships and boost athletics for hometown Lakeview High, thereby encouraging the gum’s manufacturer, The Topps Co., to jump into the bidding fray and bump the going rate up to its current $3,200 standing is even more impressive still.

I mean, the whole charity aspect of it is kind of noble in a day and age when you’ve got a pair of Bay Area bimbos going to court to decide who’s the rightful owner of Barry Bonds’ record-setting home run ball.

It would really make my day to find out that this latest “Trial of the Century” will be funded by taxpayer dollars. Keep your fingers crossed and hope real hard, folks, that part of your paycheck will go to something so eminently inspiring and useful.

In an ever-so-slightly more generous spirit, though, I decided that, should I ever rake in the dinero for my own saliva-infested snack product, I too would donate it to a worthy cause: “The Enable Wally to Eat Something Other Than God-Forsaken Ramen Noodles Fund.”

What possibly could be a more charitable cause? Besides, you know, like the March of Dimes or The Red Cross or something like that.

How impersonal that is, though. How do you really know money you donate there is really going to what you think it’s going to? In buying my old gum, however, you need only look at the emaciated face in my mug shot to know that I’ll be spending your contributions on alcoh?er, food. Yeah, that’s it?food.

Maybe I’ll even throw a pair of old size-12 sneakers I once wore for a game of H-O-R-S-E up on ebay so I can splurge for some Sizzler this weekend. Does it get any better than all you-can-eat shrimp?

Naturally, after my meal, I’ll pop a stick of Juicy Fruit to eradicate the funk breath.

And then I’ll auction it off on the Internet for the low, low starting price of 200 big ones.

Start saving now.

Eric welcomes feedback at: [email protected].