distinctly recall that as a kid, there was an idea about gum.
For every piece you spit out on the ground, you would later wind
up with some gum stuck to your shoe.
a concept I don’t think about nearly as much these days. Probably
because I don’t chew gum that often. Possibly because—hold on
for a second while I find some wood to knock on—I haven’t stepped
in any gum for quite some time. Still… gum… toss it on the ground,
step in it later.
is, at the very foundation, the perfect illustration of karma
in action. Or, more precisely, karma in action-reaction.
was never any schedule placed on the results. No expiration date.
Nothing like a promise that if you tossed away your used gum today
that within seven days you would need to clean some off your shoe.
Just something very simple.
that gum carelessly on the ground, step in it—literally and figuratively—later.
balance, pure and simple. And balance you aren’t likely to find
in many other sayings.
Murphy, for instance. The basic idea of that old law is that if
something can go wrong, it will go wrong. No balance there. No
evening out of good and bad. (Just pessimism at its finest.)
course, if we’re nodding in the direction of karma, perhaps Yin
and Yang would be a better place to look than Murphy. Trick is,
Yin and Yang suggest a balance within a whole. A good and evil,
existing within one. Not an evil result for an evil act. I’m not
so certain that matches up with what we may simplistically summarize
as a “toss the gum, suffer the consequences” scenario.
we’re dealing with is more Newtonian.
it comes to motion, Newton’s third law states that there is an
equal and opposite reaction for every action. If we take our gum
situation, that balance idea matches up somewhat nicely. Litter
and you’ll find yourself needing to clean gum off your shoes.
Action… reaction… balance.
don’t chew gum the way I did so many years ago. I tended to be
a Bubble Yum guy. Grape. But that wasn’t the only brand I’d buy.
They had some amazing stuff at the concession stand of a baseball
field I played at. Kind of funny how superstitions get started.
Wearing a specific shirt under my uniform, one batting glove on
the glove hand, and a stick of apple gum and pack of Jolly Rancher
candies from the concession stand before the game.
used to play basketball in a league that held games at a local
armory. In the corner of the building, next to the court, was
a soft drink machine that offered carbonated tropical punch flavored
soda. Years after I played in the league, I was hundreds of miles
from that armory near my college campus. And there, in a cooler
at a convenience store, were bottles of Tahitian Treat soda… the
same stuff I thought I’d never see again. Occasionally you find
things in places you’d never expect.
in a strange way leads me back to a drive in the car a few days
ago, and a package of gum my wife had left behind. (It doesn’t
really bring me back to it, but I was off on one heck of a tangent.
Although… in a funny twist of irony… I actually was just two blocks
away from the college campus and the location of that convenience
store. Weird.) I took a piece, and a while later was ready to
get rid of it. I was still driving, and the packaging didn’t include
a wrapper to use. Dare I risk rolling down the window and tempting
suppose I would like to believe in a balance for life. The trouble
is, I’d like to find something a bit more good for the good to
consider. But as you probably know, no good deed goes unpunished.