Dear gum-chewing ooze who rode the Greyhound before me…

…and for some unholy reason thought it was a good idea to plaster your disgusting chewed gum on the back of the seat in front of the one I was sitting in so that it could get STUCK TO THE SIDE OF MY SHOE AND PROBABLY RUIN MY FRICKING SHOE PERMANENTLY AND DO YOU HAVE LOTS OF MONEY JUST LYING AROUND WAITING TO BE SPENT ON NEW SHOES? BECAUSE I DON’T, I’m really excited for you that you care so little for the rest of humanity that you want to inflict your repulsive bodily habits upon them.

I am cursing you, do you hear me? Your gum is full of your saliva! Your saliva is part of your essence! And you left PLENTY OF IT BEHIND YOU. You should maybe think about that the next time you dispose of your gum improperly. Because you just don’t know who might get their hands on it.

So, until you mend your ways, everywhere you go, you will be beset by other people’s abhorrent leavings. Which ruin your clothing.

You will step in dog excrement on the way to a job interview, slip, land in it, and rip out a seam.

On the bus you will sit in the vomit of homeless drunk people while wearing pants that have to be dry-cleaned, and the smell will be so revolting that you will nearly vomit yourself.

On your way to a big date you will trip over a carelessly discarded beer bottle which contains a singularly repulsive mixture of Miller Hi-Life and chewing-tobacco leavings, break it, fall down, cut yourself, get bloodstains on your fancy new date shirt which will never come out, and arrive at your date smelling like cheap beer, chewing tobacco, and somebody else’s festering saliva.

You will be astonished at the revolting things people leave lying around in public for you to step on, trip over, sit in, and brush up against: engorged tampons, overflowing baby diapers, spent condoms, bottles of urine, dangling gobbets of phlegm, bloodstained needles, puddles of vomit.

And chewed gum. Oh, yes, chewed gum will be your special nemesis. You will sit down on it, and find that it does not come off of your pants. You will lean back against it, and discover you cannot get remove it from your expensive leather jacket. You will step in it and discover that it remains in the tread of your shoes, permanently throwing off your gait. You will get it in your hair. You will put put your legs under tables and get it on your knees.

And someday you will ride the Greyhound again, perhaps because your car breaks down, perhaps because you didn’t get that job, and you don’t have any money, and you certainly don’t have the money to replace your shoes. And there will be gum on the seat in front of you, in a particular nauseating bluish-green color that seems a little bit familiar to you, though you cannot quite recall why it nags at your memory. The bus will be full. A tall man will sit next to you and you will be forced into that tight little space between your seat and the seat in front of you, and maybe you will cross your legs, at first conscious of trying to avoid that hateful little patch of green, but then you will fall asleep.

When you get off the bus you will meet up with your friend and go out to dinner, and then you will go to sleep. And the next day you will be just about to leave the house when you notice a big patch of that familiar nauseating green stuck to the side of your shoe. And you will be repulsed at the thought that you went to dinner with that hideous thing on your shoe. You will not make your appointment because you want to try to get the gum off your shoe before going anywhere. They are the only pair of shoes that you have with you.

And then you will remember that long-ago day when you were the one who, for some reason, took your chewed gum out of your own mouth and smeared it on the seat in front of you.

If, in that moment, you think back and regret your actions and resolve to do better in the future — if you truly understand just how horrible it is to get somebody else’s gum on your shoe — then the curse will be lifted.

If, instead, you think something along the lines of, "But, you see, that was different, it was my gum and I really didn’t have anywhere else to put it and I’m sure nobody got it on them and if they did they probably deserved it," then you will keep encountering gross things.


      1. Goof Off

        It’s a cleaning product.

      2. I’m sorry, it was a too-oblique reference to Goof Off, a magical gunk remover stuff that I swear by. It should get the gum off your shoe. I’ve used it to remove gum from just about everything imaginable.

        1. Author

          Ah… I probably should have used my Google-fu but I was stuck on trying to imagine what SF&F character or trope you might be referring to.

        2. Author

          Or, wondering if you were just making a very dada joke.

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