Oh, Walgreens, can you forgive me?
Sometimes I forget about you. Despite your stale sushi, your overpriced aisles of Degree deodorant, you mitigate your pitfalls by offering a “Make your own Slushie” machine available 24 hours a day and providing me with batteries and Snuggies before hurricanes. Indeed, Walgreens, I am in debt to you.
And today, on the cusp of summer, my debt racks up as you have taken your greatness one step further by giving me a brand new gum.
Ahh, artificial fruit punch flavoring. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…no no, never mind. There are far too many ways. Having unwrapped my first cube of this Hawaiian Punch imitator, I’m greeted with a dashing little nub that smells of fruit punch, summer camp, and days by the pool, where I glugged enough Hawaiian Punch to make my belly burst (Why does chlorine make artificial fruit punch taste so good? A neurological connection? A molecular link between chlorine and sucrose? Me + Sugar=Duh?)
I go in for the chew and, BLAM-O, I’m smacked 1952-comic-book style with a concentrated Hawaiian Punch flavor. It starts out with a distinct sweet/tart cherry/berry flavor with a hint of bitterness from Red 40. That teensy bitterness gets mitigated with a pineapple tang and a hint of orange and apple that swings in at the end, all making for a rounded Hawaiian Punch experience without the need of a cup holder or threat of spillage on to those white fluffy towels you just pulled out of the dryer (Because everyone drinks Hawaiian Punch in the laundry room?).
It’s not natural fruit punch by any means, but when did Hawaiian Punch promise real fruit juice? That’d be like asking a Wooly Mammoth to construct a warehouse of IKEA furniture, and that’s just not fair: Wooly Mammoths don’t have opposable thumbs.
There’s an episode of Dexter’s Lab where Dexter, boy genius, makes himself expandably stretchy by smooshing his molecules with those of chewing gum (season 2, episode 19 for those following along). I imagine he used this gum. Like most Hubba Bubba specimens chewed in the past, each cube starts out small and then expands in your mouth, becoming a sticky, stretchy, tacky tangle. It isn’t until 12 minutes later, when the flavor’s far gone and you’ve gnawed it into a soft, flavorless glob of gum base, that you realize just what an experience it was. This is the stuff of bubble World Records, the terrifying goo that sticks to the bottom of shoes and stretches for miles. This is Bubble Gum. (Notice capital letters. Serious stuff.)
In a world of hyper-vigilant dentists and grumpity orthodontists putting braces on every human with a mouth and a molar, sugar mavens are oft deprived of a tasty, sugar-filled gum to chew their days away, so it’s refreshing to find a gum that’s tasty, good for bubbles, and, by Georgey-Porgy, filled with real, refined sugar. Hubba Bubba is amending said conundrum. With a pleasant chew, sugary grit, and enough artificial red dye to repair the New Jersey freeway, Hubba Bubba’s taken the taste of summer and smooshed it into a little 1×1 inch cube. If that’s not a summer miracle, I don’t know what is.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 piece – 25 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)
Item: Hubba Bubba Hawaiian Punch Bubble Gum
Purchased Price: $1.39
Size: 1 pack/5 pieces
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Concentrated artificial fruit punch flavor. Soft n’ stretchy. Mysteriously seems to expand in one’s mouth. Real sugar defying angry dentists. 24-hour Slushie machines. Reasons to watch re-runs of Dexter’s Lab.
Cons: Not for those with a distaste for artificial fruit punch flavor. Sugar in gum may cause cavities. Some may be sensitive to bitterness of red dye flavor. Grumpity orthodontists. Wooly Mammoths don’t have opposable thumbs. The repairs of the New Jersey freeway. Realizing said freeway will never be repaired. Never.