What happened to gum?

It’s 3 am Sunday morning and I’m exhausted but almost done with my cab shift. I stop at Marges’s Amoco to buy a pack of gum as my mouth tastes like its been in a cab all night (which it has). I check out the gum selection and they have quite a few at convenience stores these days, many many more that I remember as a kid. I chewed a lot of bubble gum back then but I grew out of that and now crave something spearminty. Sugarless gum is a total turnoff–sure, the flavor is accurate but the “sweetener” is that same dubious chemical aspartame they use in Diet Soda. Deanna stopped quit drinking her daily Diet Soda long ago and said she still craved it even after 2 years without the stuff (!) so I refuse to put that shit in my body. I walked over to the Wrigley’s section and selected a pack of Spearmint. I checked out the label to make sure the fine folks at Wrigley’s weren’t pulling a fast one on me by switching sugared and sugarless–and lo and behold, not only did it contain corn syrup (as I expected) but freaking ASPERTAME as well!!! It turns out that all the other brands of sugared gum also now use it as a sort of “flavor booster”!!! I almost walked away empty handed but discovered that Big Red–also made by Wrigley’s–is still just made with corn syrup and apparently is good enough not to need extra bullshit added. The next time I’m at Big Lots I’m loading up on Chicklets as I know they are made with actual sugar and gum base and little else.

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