Category: Humor

“On Gum Control”


2004 vacation 095I love Seattle! Few cities have the character and unique charm of the Emerald City. Some might even describe our fair city as quirky. Where else can one find a giant cement troll “hiding” under a bridge? I know of no other city in America that displays a 20-foot statue of Lenin; not John Lennon, Vladimir Lenin!

One of the quirkiest features in Seattle has to be the Market Theater Gum Wall known locally as simply the Gum Wall. Located Post Alley just a few steps south of the iconic Pike Place Public Market the Gum Wall is exactly what one would imagine. Standing fifteen feet high it stretches  50 yards and is an artist’s canvas where patrons of the nearby Unexpected Productions Theater began sticking their chewed gum around 1993. The tradition stuck. Public Market officials named the wall a tourist attraction in 1999. In 2009, the Gum Wall earned the distinction of being named one of the world’s “five germiest tourist attractions” second only to Ireland’s Blarney Stone.

Some people consider the Gum Wall disgusting and unhygienic. Others find it quaint and endearing. Then there are those of us who say “all of the above”.

When I initially heard that the Gum Wall was going to be pressure washed on November 3 of this year for it’s first ever cleaning I was mildly disappointed but was then relieved when it was revealed that the cleaning was not the end of the Wall and that once it is clean the tradition will begin again.


People are a lot like the Gum Wall. We are at once unhygienic and disgusting as well as quirky, unique and endearing. Fortunately, God sees us as the latter. Some see us as one or the other and others label us “all of the above”. Every so often, whether physically or spiritually, we can all use a good cleansing affording us a fresh start and return to our life experience anew.


“Life With Attention Deficit Disorder”


*If you are able to read and follow this post you may want to be evaluated for Attention Deficit Disorder.

I have lived with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) my entire life but it went undiagnosed when I was a child because the focus at that time was on kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) referred to then as “Hyperactivity”.

Speaking of hyperactivity, I always loved the part in Star Wars when they jump to hyperspace. I wondered how they did that without hitting any of the asteroids just like in Disneyland’s Star Tours when you break through the ice asteroid. I think I’d like some ice cream.

Anyway, as a student with ADD I never got into trouble for acting out in class as so frequently happened to students afflicted with “hyperactivity” but my parents did receive annual phone calls from my teachers with a recurring message: “Steve is bright and intelligent but he doesn’t apply himself”. These phone calls were followed by a very long discussion about buckling down on my schoolwork.

Have you ever seen the buckles on the belts that champion boxers wear? They are huge. It’s funny to me that boxers wear boxers.  Remember when they put buckles on shoes? I don’t see those very often any more. Did I remember to put the lawn mower away?

Anyway, after those discussions my parents would give me tips such as, “if you’re not sure about something ask questions”. The problem was I didn’t know what questions to ask. At the end of the school day my mind’s focus was on playing baseball when I got home. Since I wasn’t thinking about homework it never occurred to me to ask about it. If I didn’t understand a particular subject I basically felt confused and then my mind would drift to the beach.

There isn’t much driftwood on the beaches in California. I see a lot more of it in Washington. There is a great live theater in Edmonds, WA called “The Driftwood Playhouse”. I wonder if they ever perform plays about Washington or even Lincoln.

Lincoln Continentals are really good cars but most people would rather spend money on European luxury cars. Europe is a continent from where we get the concept of the continental breakfast. I really prefer a hot breakfast but continental breakfasts fit the bill when they include cereal. Lucky Charms is one of my favorite cereals; which is cool because I am of Irish decent and Lucky Charms uses a leprechaun for their logo. Ireland is part of the European continent.


Anyway, following my annual admonishment from my parents to “buckle down and pay closer attention” I would sit in the classroom and stare at the chalkboard urging myself to concentrate, concentrate, CONCENTRATE! As words or numbers would dance across the chalkboard I would diligently focus on translating the symbols and images into functional thoughts until new mind pictures of baseballs, boats and beaches invaded my thoughts while the teacher droned on sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher.


I need to go to the store, I think.

*One might consider this an insensitive missive but it isn’t when written by one who is so afflicted.