Well, now, the tension’s killing me. I can’t wait to get a new mouth guard so my jaw can be completely healed.
For those of you who don’t know already, I have TMJ disease. It’s a nasty little annoying thing, really. No one knows how people get it, but it’s mostly due to nocturnal bruxism, where you tend to grind your back teeth in your sleep. It’s not just the clicking that’s annoying, it’s also a little painful because of the aches and because your jaw can get stuck in your skull and won’t be able to open all the way.
That’s what used to happen to me back in college. It used to be much worse. But now that my wisdom teeth are gone and I’ve been eating softer foods, being careful with everything I eat, my cravings for sugar and bubbles are killing me.
It started a few years ago when I saw an old commercial for Air Heads, when they used to put out their own version of cotton candy flavored bubblegum. They’ve discontinued it for some reason, and I’ve never been able to try it, which saddens me.
Then weeks ago, my boyfriend tried to get me into watching the very stupid, horrible comedy show My Name is Earl, starting with the final ending to season three, which still makes me very angry. The one hour season finale started off fine with Earl being married to his dream girl Billie, even though she’s not everything he dreamed about at first. But halfway through the episode, he realizes that in order to make Billie start being nicer to him, he’s got to keep moving through his list, which means he’s got to apologize and make it up to the female Quaker colony where he defiled seven virgins.
Basically, to cross them off his karma list, Earl promises the head woman of the Quaker colony to make sure their newly turned 21 year old doesn’t choose to leave their site and returns safely to help carry on their tradition. Problem is, Billie wants Earl to pay more attention to her and do more of her things and forget about his stupid list. And in one particular scene, his dimwitted low-functioning autistic brother Randy gets involved and shows the 21 year old virgin Quaker how amazing the real modern world is. And he makes that first step with what Earl calls a “gateway candy”- bubblegum.
Slowly, I started to realize that I truly miss making bubbles in the afternoon with that stuff. I actually used to be pretty good at it when I was in high school and college. Whenever I was doing homework, studying, or writing a novel, I would get out my books or my computer, turn the music on, and chew at the same time. I was really good at multitasking and none of those things distracted me, unless one of the bubbles ended up being huge before bursting over my nose.
I also heard at one point that scientists had proven that people study better, learn better, and write better when they’re chewing gum. I don’t know how or why, but it works. I’m guessing that it was because chewing gum helps the mind relax and retain more information.
Now, I’ve never been grotesque with gum, no matter how many times a day I heard from my teachers in school that they were sticklers about chewing in class. I never did anything stupid or gross with the stuff, such as sticking used gum on tables and chairs, or twirling gum around someone’s finger. I always threw away gum in the trash when it was time, and the only semi annoying thing I did whenever a couple high school teachers allowed gum in class was the old fashioned way of stretching bubblegum, hands free.
Press the gum thick against my front teeth, but not too thick. Stick out my tongue through the gum to make a hole, then pull back and exhale slowly, long breaths.
And I didn’t make loud cracking noises or annoying sounds with it, unless the bubbles splattered. Whenever it popped, it was usually quiet, and it wasn’t too distracting from everyone else. I think my English teacher found it kind of nostalgic, that I was an old fashioned gum chewer.
More recently, I found this commercial from around 2012 or 2013. I think it featured more adults chewing Bubblicious rather than children, as I think they were trying to reach a more adult demographic. It’s just a few adults at a cafe or quiet public place, chewing, making bubbles, and laughing at themselves.
That is the one thing I love about bubblegum. Chewing gum, like Orbit, 5, and Extra don’t even cut it. Where’s the fun in that when you can’t blow bubbles with it, I kept asking myself.
Someday, there has got to be a bubblegum that cleans your teeth and at the same time is softer for your jaw. I know an ex boyfriend of mine has the same condition I do and he said that Hubba Bubba is slightly softer than the other brands.
Also, I have a theory that chewing can help people relax in… shall we say… sticky situations. I have rapid cycling to go with my higher functioning bipolar depression, and the stress I went through at the Hussman Center every Thursday (not to name names, but there was one girl who drove me crazy) drove me to drink. Come to think of it, in the last month, I’ve had four drinks: Jameson and ginger ale on the day of Pirate Fest, a glass of moscato white wine at Olive Garden for dinner when I celebrated writing the end of Super Frost, a mimosa at Easter brunch, and a lemonade cocktail with Kerensa for the end of Camp NaNoWriMo, celebrating the end of the month as well.
The people at the Hussman Center really drove me to drink last month. Now I’ve got to focus on handling my stress another way that doesn’t involve drinking or going to a hookah lounge with my Montgomery County friends, because I really don’t see the pleasure in smoking anything.
That does it. I’m going to the candy aisle at Five Below to explore my options. I can’t wait until I have a job to get some money and pay my dentist to fit me for a new mouth guard. $400 is hard to come by these days.
Oh, and if you notice my above YouTube profile picture at the top of this page, Whatamusicgeek, you’ll see that it really is me in the photo wearing shades and headphones. I took that picture a long time ago after college graduation before my doctor gave me the bad news.
-The Lady in the Blue Box
Playlist selection- a little bit of ska