Saturday, January 13, 2007

Fruit Stripe Bastards ...

I was recently talking with someone about Fruit Stripe gum.

I loved Fruit Stripe gum as a kid. Especially the green-striped gum. Lime. I love lime. Not so much real limes, as they taste too much like lemons, but fakey kelly-green lime? Sign me up. Green LifeSavers. Green suckers. The Green Chuckle. Green River.

So today, walking through one of those mega-stores - where you can buy groceries and shoes and craft supplies and motor oil and plant food and vitamins and sweatshirts and lamps - I spied a huge display of Fruit Stripe gum. Woo hoo! I grabbed a pack and handed it to my mom. "Do you really want this?" she asked.


She was actually buying something, so instead of two transactions, I just let her pay for it. Mom is good about stuff like that.

"Gum!" I said, as we walked through the store on our way to her car. She fished it out of the bag and handed it to me.

Once opened, I pulled out a green-tipped stick and unwrapped it. It was orange. Yellow with orange stripes. What the hell?

I read the package: Wet 'n Wild Melon, Cherry, Lemon, Orange, and Peach Smash.

What the hell?! Peach?! Who the hell wants peach-flavored gum?! Where the fuck's my lime?!

The package is the same: red, yellow and green stripes with the stripey zebra guy. It's very misleading. The green on the package corresponds to nothing inside.

I read the label. "Product of Mexico."

"Mexicans like lime," I said. "They use it in cooking all the time."

But not in Fruit Stripe gum.


The only potential good thing about the entire experience was that the wrappers are now printed with tattoos of the zebra guy whose name, apparently, is Yipes. Yipes? Rhymes with Stripes? How about Gripes?

As mom pulled out of the parking lot, I licked my hand and stuck the gum wrapper to it.

"This better work," I said, sounding more than a little peeved.

Mom was cracking up.

I pulled the paper back. The tattoo was really blurry.


And the flavor lasts approximately 20 seconds. I spit my so-called gum into the spent wrapper-cum-tattoo.

I just tossed the pack in the trash. No more Fruit Stripe gum for me. I'll have to relive my childhood another way.


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