When I was young, I bought chewing gum for the sports cards. The gum was inconsequential. But I wanted the cards so I chewed on for dear life. The gum bosses must have caught on because the taste quotient went for a toss. They stopped making even a half-ass attempt to mark them with a flavor. You had three choices pink, green and blue. Take your pick and come back with fresh atthannis.
The gum came rolled in paper wrapping. Nothing fancy. You struggled to take off the paper completely, gave up at the end and popped in the gum with some paper and a nonlethal dose of industrial strength glue. I grew up doing this, and frankly, didn’t mind ingesting the paper. We had the Wrigley’s stuff too. But that was harder to come by; most often in the ritual passing of gifts from NRI relatives to snot-nosed nephews.
Things have changed ever since. You have Orbit (and that vaguely Middle-Eastern copy sold at railway stations that just goes by the name “Mint”) which comes in a very pharmaceutical packaging. Very minimalistic, very chic. You even have boxes of gum. Then there is the flip-box with the gum lined up inside. Something like a matchbook from an old Western. You can also get your gum in spools, as lollipops and I guess in a whole bunch of other forms.
Why does gum need to evolve? Who invented the papaya and watermelon flavors? It is all so deliciously pointless!
I wish they’d bring back the free card.