Monday, February 25, 2008

What Was Adulthood? Part Two.

Last Saturday I went skiing for the first time in many years, and the memories came flooding back: the calf pain that surfaces if you allow your socks to bunch even slightly in your ski boots; the feeling of sailing toward the chairlifts at the end of a run; the directives from my instructors at ski school, lessons that I hated with a passion at the time but now must grudgingly admit were worth it; the attempts to skid to a halt and shower snow on whichever family member was waiting for you at the bottom of the hill.

I was prepared for the family vacation memories, but something else came back to me that I did not expect. From the moment we hit the slopes, this commercial began replaying in my head and would not stop:

Adulthood Exhibit C

"That sounds obscene," M. said as I tried to describe the Juicy Fruit jingle and lyrics.

"It's not obscene, it was a commercial," I insisted, as if the two things were mutually exclusive. In my young mind, where this commercial's integrity was forever preserved, advertisers would never allude to anything other than what was being sold. Gum and fun, how much more straightforward could it be?

"Whatever, I think the people at Juicy Fruit knew it was going to sound like a blow job," he said.

For some reason, parent company Wrigley felt it was very important to target skiers of all kinds as potential consumers for Juicy Fruit gum. Personally, I never thought of gum -- especially a brand that loses flavor as quickly as Juicy Fruit -- as a natural accompaniment to skiing, even for someone as gum-addicted as myself. For one thing, it gets stiff in cold weather. Then there's the high risk of swallowing...

Adulthood Exhibit D

I guess, watching these as an adult, it's possible that M. may have had a point. Maybe it's about more than just skiing and fun and the simple pleasures of gum-chewing? I feel so confused and yet, somehow, older.

I've looked at gum from both sides now
From kid to grown-up and still somehow
It's gum's illusions I recall
I really don't know gum, at all.


  1. a good pair of ski socks is arguably the most important thing standing between a great day and a miserable day on the slopes.

  2. The shot at :03 in Exhibit D has been lodged deep in my brain for twenty years. You just dislodged it.


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