Megan again:The ‘g’ word
By Megan Wirts
It was a warm and beautiful Monday afternoon. The sun was beating down on the hot black pavement of the dentist office parking lot. My daughter, who was 8 years old at the time, and I were rushing to get to her appointment on time. I was wearing brand new pink polka dot flip flops for the first time that season and I had just gotten a pedicure with hot pink nail polish. I stepped out of my car and...
...we started towards the door. I went to lift up my left foot but it was stuck. I looked down and pulled harder. That is when it all went downhill and I saw the stringy, sticky, gooey piece of warm blue bubble-gum stuck to my flimsy pink polka dot flip flop.
I looked at my sweet innocent baby girl and I could feel my heart begin to race. As much as I wanted to be calm, cool and collected, instead my demeanor became uncontrollable and I found myself wildly flailing about like a wounded animal. I was screaming and making unintelligible sounds. All I knew was that it was touching me and I was going to die a horrifying death if I didn’t get it away from me.
I remember reaching down and tearing my flip flop off and throwing it with as much force as I could to get it as far away from me as I could get it. When I finally came out of my terror-filled spiral of insanity, I looked up to see the dentist, the hygienist, the receptionist and every other person from the office standing outside the door watching me with confused and perplexed looks on their faces while also trying hard to hold back their laughter.
Then, my darling daughter, who was shaking her head and utterly embarrassed, said to them, “Don’t worry, she’s just afraid of gum. We know she’s a weirdo.”, and the laughter could be heard throughout all of Newaygo County.
Yes, you read that right, I am afraid of gum.
It’s not just something I simply do not like, it is a true phobia, an extreme and irrational fear. I am sure you know people that are afraid of spiders or snakes, those are pretty common phobias. I happen to be afraid of an inanimate piece of candy that is used to freshen breath. Oprah happens to have the same phobia, so at least I am in good company. I have been told I shouldn’t share this because some people might use this against me. I do have a small fear of reliving the torture I endured from friends that would stick it on the handle of my locker in middle school. But I choose to share because the dentist office parking lot debacle is kind of a funny story and I just can’t keep stuff like that to myself. Remember, I like to overshare.
Anyway, I have been trying to figure out where this all stemmed from and I think I may have figured it out.
When I was just a small child, around 5 years old, I was visiting my grandparent’s house. They lived on a dairy farm with an abundance of different kinds of animals including beagle hunting dogs. They had a male and a female and one day I noticed that the dogs were acting very funny towards each other. They were jumping on each other and making funny noises and then all of a sudden their butts got stuck together. Little Megan was horrified and thought that she needed to save them. It didn’t go very well; those beagles were not having any part of my help.
Finally, my uncle came outside to stop me from “helping” and told me that they were fine. He explained to me that I shouldn’t be afraid, they were just chewing gum, swallowed it and now their bottoms were stuck together. Not to worry though, they would eventually be rid of it and all would be well.
Little Megan apparently soaked that knowledge in and turned it into a deep-seated phobia that only grew and grew and has caused me a great deal of absurd and ridiculously petrifying moments.
When I had children, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to avoid my fear for very long. Kids are sticky and they like candy and they really like gum. Ugh. What was I going to do!!! I made it very clear early on that it would never be allowed in my home.
Even the neighborhood children know this rule, my kids were pretty quick to share with them their mother’s completely weird rules regarding the terrifying sticky stuff. My kids know exactly how much I will come completely unglued if a sticky situation is afoot.
So here are a couple of things that have I taught them for when they are allowed the stuff,. The rules are simple and easy and in my opinion should be followed by everyone.
First of all, stay away from me! I don’t care if people have it, just have it when I am not around. I don’t want to see it, smell it or hear it.
Second, and I really think this is key to keeping the world a beautiful place, spit it in a garbage can! Whatever you do, don’t be a lazy, rude and inconsiderate human being and spit it out on the ground for innocent people with irrational phobias to step in and have to throw out a perfectly nice pair of pink polka dot flip flops and embarrass herself in front of an entire dentist office.
And thirdly but of equal importance is please, please,...
Chew with your mouth shut.
No one needs to see that and you never know when you might be in the company of a Chiclephobic such as I.
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