This I Believe

Kathleen - Modesto, California
Entered on February 16, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

Lately I‘ve been pondering all the lessons I learned from my childhood. Oddly enough one of the best life lessons I’ve learned was from my pursuit of the perfect bubble.

When I was a kid, my dad used to give us our allowance on Sundays. By Monday afternoon, we were at Dean’s, the local five and dime. Dean’s had a large glass candy counter where you could be 100 pieces of Double Bubble for a quarter. Double Bubble had cartoons and riddles or jokes on the inside of the wrapper.

The thing about Double Bubble is that it sat in the backroom for literally years. By the time it made it to the candy counter, it was hard and almost impossible to chew. You ran the risk of breaking a tooth or knocking a filling out.

To get the perfect bubble, the gum really needs to be stale. In reality, it needs to be chewed on for at least two days. One time, my sister and I had a contest to see how many pieces we could fit into our mouths so we could blow a really big bubble. We were trying to get into the “Guinness Book of World Records.” The experiment literally blew up our faces and ended up in my sister’s waist-length brown hair. Needless to say, we became experts in the delicate art of gum retrieval at a very early age.

As I said before, the gum needs to be stale and at least two days old. Then you have to blow a few small ones to get it to just the right consistency. In order to get a good bubble, your tongue needs to poke through the exact middle of the gum. Once you get the right sized hole, you blow air through it slowly, so the size of the bubble increases gradually. If you go too quickly, the bubble will pop and be stuck like Chuck all over your face.

As the size of the bubble increases, the thrill comes home. If you get it just right, the perfect symmetry of the balloon shaped sphere will have you viewing the world through rose-colored glasses. It’s kind of a nice way to look at the world.

To me the pursuit of the perfect bubble is really a metaphor for how I like to lead my life. When things are going really well, there is this feeling of absolute serenity, kind of Zen really. I refer to it as the “Double Bubble” Syndrome. Then there are the times in my life when things really go to “heck in a hand basket” and they blow up in your face. Then I calmly take out another piece and try it over again to see if I can get it right the next time.