How Much Do You Chew?

In the "you learn something new every day department..."

I was in a meeting with a couple of client contacts - two really pretty cool women. Okay, let me stop for just a minute and say I'm one of the luckiest people on the planet. I work with more great people than I could have ever imagined. The news might be full of ugliness, but real life is filled with human beauty. People who make me smile, laugh, feel joy in some way. Back to the story...

We were meeting away, discussing all manner of business-y topics when one of the women, we'll call her Amy, turned to her credenza, pulled out a drawer and removed a pack of gum – for at least the second time in our meeting. She stopped and said, "you're both going to think I'm weird, but I have a gum problem." We laughed. She said, "no really. I have an issue. I chew a lot of gum." (All forgiveness to "Amy" that I'm taking editorial liberties with her exact quotes.) We laughed even more.

The other woman meeting with us – "Debbie" – asked, "so how much do you chew?" Amy answered, "well on a stressful day, I'll chew two packs." On a normal day, she chews just one pack. Twenty pieces. Ha! A pack-a-day gum habit. I've never heard of such a thing. So, I wrote it down.

Debbie noted, "Nila can blog about this." Right-o!

So, I wondered aloud, "when you see a gum commercial, does it trigger the need?" Amy replied, "no, I don't chew at home. I only chew at work." OH! She's a work-chewer.

The habit is very specific. She chews at work, she replaces an "old" piece with a new piece at least every hour, she has to pull the pack of gum out of the drawer (just letting it sit on the desk isn't enough), there are two flavors of a specific brand of gum that do it for her, and, by observation, when she gets stressed – good or bad – the pace of chewing and gum-changing increases.

Amy is a one-pack-a-day work-chewer. (Kind of like the half-a-pack-a day social-smoker, if such a thing exists.) That's hysterical. No way around it.

Apparently Amy isn't alone. Dr. David L. Katz over at Oprah.com answers the question "Am I Addicted to Sugar-Free Gum?"

Now I have to observe my own behavior. What's my odd habit? Maybe I don't want to know.