“Big League Chew” — Conversations over Stolen Food, Pt. 3 of 4


We (Jon Cotner, Andy Fitch) recorded forty-five-minute conversations for thirty straight days around New York City. Half these talks took place at a Union Square health-food store which, for legal reasons, we call “W.F.” Other locations included MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Opera House, Central Park, Prospect Park, and a Tribeca parking garage. This piece comes from a W.F. conversation.

6:15 p.m. Friday, January 12
Union Square W.F.

J: This afternoon Amanda offered me gum, and I hadn’t chewed gum in a long, long time. I ran through my history with chewing gum. When my sister and I played whiffle-ball on the front driveway, using our garage-door as backstop, I’d pack roughly a third…

A: Big League Chew?

J: of a Big League Chew pouch.

A: Those boys always seemed suckers.

J: Oh sure, I was a sucker living in St. Louis County.

A: Identifying your wad with professional players’?

J: Exactly.

A: Imitative foods embarrassed me.

J: I’d grown especially fond of grape, then orange-flavored…

A: Oh.

J: which I know sound trashy.

A: Grape often looked the trashiest, especially with soda.

J: I never drank grape soda. I’m saying I’d chew grape gum—which tasted delicious at the time.

A: Yet…

J: Anyway: I started panicking on the train, imagining gum I didn’t spit out, but…

A: Swallowed? Gross.

J: I began to wonder if wads, some rather large, sit lodged in my intestines.

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