- Jane Wheeler
What's Your Chew?
Two days a week I get this same one class into the Library for a block. They file in complete with books and binders and are supposed to use the time to study and get caught up on class work. Some days they study and get caught up, some days most are on their phones doing whatever teens do and on other days they are talking and goofing off.
I have this couple of boys in that block that are both exasperating and hilarious all at the same time, depending on “my” mood, we either enjoy or endure the block together. I get my best material from these two.
I realize now these two are often “waiting” for me to come and see them and they usually do not fail to disappoint me.
One time I saw the main character dropping a rock onto the table repeatedly. Sensing the need to find out why we had a rock in the library I wandered over to check it out. He explained that he was describing to the rest of the table the theory of gravity – complete with an illustration.
I pointed out it would be good if he got back to studying and stopped playing with the rock in the library. He did, but I heard him mutter “hardcore” as I walked away with a smile on my face.
A couple of days later I see these two chatting up a storm so I again wander over and ask what they are studying today. I do not see it coming – but it comes…..
“Hey what’s your chew?” my main character asks me.
Now I have to think on my feet and I have to think fast, without showing any emotion. All I can do is repeat the question over in my head quickly and try to figure out just what he is asking me.
“What is my chew?” I countered back, trying to grab some time while searching for an answer in the recesses of my mind.
Suddenly a light bulb clicks on inside my head as I realize I am chewing gum.
“Dentyne” I reply. “I really like Dentyne”. He nodded.
Not being the observant one, I failed to see his hands are down below the table. Slowly but with gusto, he breaks into a grin and says, “This is mine.”
He draws a bag up from under the table with big red lettering that says – “Big League Chew” scrawled across the front of it.
My mind is racing as I try to ponder this predicament – is this real “chew”? Is he going to eat that horrible stuff in the Library? Is he going to “spit”? Where did he get that from? He is way too young to chew that stuff….
He raised the bag with purpose up to his face and buried his face into the bag – I am sure my eyes at this point are big as saucers and I fell hook line and sinker for his plan. When he raises his head he has strings of pink bubble gum hanging out all over his mouth and down his chin.
Relieved that it is not the “real chew” I laughed softly; inside I was screaming – “Oh that was a good one! You really got me!” But I would not reveal that to these two – ever. I ended up sitting down at their table with them to chat a while – so I would not have to reveal that I could barely walk because I wanted to double over with laughter at their prank.
It was indeed a good one. One of my current favorite phrases now is “What’s your chew?” but usually only I know the meaning behind the phrase – it causes me to giggle immensely every time leaving everyone else to wonder what on earth is wrong with me.
As I pondered the question – “Hey what’s your chew?” I realized it has a double meaning.
Yes I can sit and ponder what I put in my mouth but I can also sit and ponder what I put into my brain. The things we put into our brains are the things we think about, percolate over and basically chew up to figure out and digest. Those are the things that make up our character, our behaviors in life. If I am not putting good stuff in, probably good stuff is not coming out.
The thought of “real chew” – is horribly disgusting: stuff that is not at all attractive in any measure – it stains your teeth and mouth, it stinks, people spit out the juices caused when you actually mash it around between your teeth. This one fellow I know who chews it actually resembles a squirrel with a nut jammed into his cheek enabling him to be barely understood when he talks. It was not a good look.
What kind of stuff do we put into our brains that could be classified as “real chew?” For me it could be gossip, listening to people talk about other people instead of stopping it or leaving the room; television and movies - could any of the shows I let myself watch be questionable in their story lines? Books I read - is the language a good “chew” or do I just gloss of the “those” parts, thinking they will not affect me as the rest of the story is really good.
Thinking that something is only a “little” bit bad or that I am strong enough to not let those little bits of questionable morals affect me is like saying a little bit of “real chew” is not going to affect me either. Then I grin up at you like a well-stocked squirrel and a mouth full of brown stained teeth but I am the only one who cannot see it until I look in the mirror or you reflect my own attitude back at me and then the picture I get back is not quite so pretty.
All this begs me to ask myself the question – “What am I chewing on today?”
How about you - “Hey what’s your chew?”