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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gum Spitting

I have a terrible habit of always spitting my gum out of my car window. I know I could spit it back into the wrapper, but I just don’t want to. I hate when all those little wads of paper pile up in all the nooks and crannies of my car. Then there is the fact that sometimes spitting it out your window is the only viable option. Gum wrappers, or paper in general, is not always available to someone stuck in traffic.

Actually, I like to think that I have gotten quite good at spitting gum. Since the tomboy in me was never able to perfect the art of “halking a loogie,” I believe I have made it up with my gum spitting. I can generate enough breath by puffing up my cheeks to launch the gum a fairly far distance…assuming my head is tilted upward at the perfect angle. I probably won’t be setting any records but I do impress myself. So it saddens me to know that this habit might be bad.

The idea that concerns me the most is that gum spitting is considered littering. I know that it is bad for the environment and that my Mom strongly disapproves but it’s so to deny the convenience of it (and I have tried)—even when it accidently flies back into the car. This happened to me once: The gum I had spit out was blown back into the car and landed in the hood of my favorite sweatshirt only to be found days later. My guilt got the best of me and I chalked it up to karma.

When I decided to look my habit up online, I found several websites dedicated to answering the question: Is spitting gum out your window littering? Apparently, there is a large online community that has the same problem I do. On, Megan64 responds, “I think no, and my rationalization is that gum just gets run over and becomes either part of the road or part of someone’s tire which can only help to reinforce it.” So, I’m just helping out the community by filling potholes and preventing flat tires? I wish. I think this can be filed right next to that myth that gum stays in your stomach for 7 years (which is not true).

I learned that spitting gum out the car window could even present danger to your life. In New Hampshire this year a man actually crashed his car while trying to spit his gum out. Turns out that he was so focused on launching that piece of gum that he forgot to turn the wheel on a sharp curve in the road. Fortunately he walked away from the accident—probably questioning his littering habit.

I suppose the more pressing matter is that gum makes our streets and sidewalks look dirty. Next to cigarette butts, gum is the 2nd largest littering item in the world. Those little wads of who-knows-what have enough resilience and chemicals to stain our sidewalks permanently. England especially has a problem with this considering about 95% of their cities are dotted with gum. Let’s face it, we just don’t want to go down the path of having our streets looking like the underside of a middle school desk. Change can only start with us right?

Well, I hope I have given you a good argument to quit this habit. From now on I think I will try to keep my gum, like my appendages, inside the moving vehicle.

P.S. Gum littering is also illegal.

Laura Woods


Anonymous Anonymous said...

discusting !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

March 6, 2011 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Lenka Brady said...

I am glad I came across your post. I commend you for tacking this topic as gum pollution has become quite a serious environmental issue. Thank you for raising awareness regarding this topic! And check out our site WraperZ - our main mission is to fight gum pollution. Thank you!

February 16, 2013 at 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only that is nasty, unpleasant, impolite, etc....a bird may come and try to eat it.'s going to hurt the poor animal! :(

June 16, 2015 at 3:38 PM  

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