I 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.