FEBRUARY 1, 2006

Under the table gum-sticking is slimy

       Youíve done it  Youíve seen somebody do it. Or youíve been the victim of it. Itís that brief moment you know at some point down the road will cause a sticky situation for somebody.
       Of course I am referring to the decades old tradition of under-the-table-gum-stickage. 
       When you were younger, or maybe even last week, you were at a restaurant and didnít know where to ditch your chewing gum. It was about the time the gum lost its taste or your meal was about to arrive. What was the only option you could think of?  A quick look to the left, look to the right and a rapid hand-to-mouth motion ending in gum-to-table contact.
       I have always wondered why people do this. At a restaurant there are many items that can be used to dispose of the tasteless sticky substance. For instance, many tables have napkins on them. There will also be plates brought that will have at least one inch of spare room to park your bubblegum blob. There may even be sugar packets for coffee in a container that would be a suitable landing place.
       However, there could be another reason for this action. Are jokesters wanting a laugh by having somebody reach under the table and feel the gum and get grossed out? If it is indeed a prank, Iím not sure if the thrill-seeker understands the concept of a practical joke.
       You see, the point of a prank is to be witness to its hilarious outcome. What comedic effect does your quick-thinking sticky-sticking story have when you donít even see the unsuspecting person make the discovery? Absolutely none. So why do it?
       Over Christmas holidays I was out for dinner with a colleague and she ruined a new pair of pants when crossing her legs and her knee got stuck to the underside of the table. At first I found it funny because we all know there is gum under many restaurant tables. Subconsciously we are aware itís there, but out-of-sight solidified gum isnít the first thing we think of when being seated in a restaurant.
       A few weeks later my blood bubbled after I fell victim to the same scenario. I was ready to blow my top when I discovered I was attached at the knee to the table. It was at that point I realized that while this game of gum hide-and-seek may seem harmless at the time, there really are better places to dispose of your waste than having somebody make the discovery while simultaneously ruining their night.
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