Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This is one of those days in which you wish you’d done everything your enemies accuse you of doing.

Hamas terrorists are accusing Israel of having put aphrodisiacs into chewing gum, and then passing it out to the young people of Aza.

"We have discovered two types of stimulants that were introduced into the Gaza Strip from Israeli border crossings," Hamas police spokesman Islam Shahwan said, according to an AFP story. "The first type is presented in the form of chewing gum and the second in the form of drops."

Hamas terrorists “detained” members of a local Arab gang who helped bring in the products, and during the questioning – you can imagine what fun “questioning” by Hamas must be – the gang members accused “Zionist intelligence services" of being behind the plot.

One suspect told how he’d been given the gum by an Israeli at a cut-rate price, saying that the Israeli didn’t want money, he just “wanted the products distributed among the young people.”

"The Zionists are aiming to corrupt the young generation by distributing these products among students," Shahwan said.

I don’t know about ‘corrupting’ the terrorist youth. Seems to me they’re doing just fine on that score without our help. But it is, nonetheless, an interesting idea.

Maybe we can inspire them to make love, not war.

In any event, the IDF declined to comment, although one staffer called the allegation "absurd."

Up to now, I’d never really considered the linkage between love and chewing gum, although this did bring to mind a real incident, also involving chewing gum. It made me remember a shy young boy named Lynn Soholt who was in my high school graduating class.

Lynn was quiet and unassuming. He transferred in to our class -- 40 kids, total -- in our junior year, but no one paid much attention to him until some school event came along -- I don’t even remember what it was – and Lynn picked up his guitar and started to sing.

Here was one of the catchy country tunes he sang that night:

“Does your chewing gum lose its flavor
On the bedpost overnight
If your mother says don't chew it
Do you swallow it in spite?
Can you catch it on your tonsils?
Can you heave it left and right?
Does your chewing gum lose its flavor
On the bedpost overnight?

“Here comes a blushing bride
The groom is by her side
Up to the altar
Just as steady as Gibraltar
Why, the groom has got the ring
And it's such a pretty thing
But as he slips it on her finger
The choir begins to sing:

“Does your chewing gum lose its flavor
On the bedpost overnight”

Now thanks to Google, I see that the lyrics are attributed to someone named Lonnie Donegan, but it’s still Lynn I remember, this boy we really didn’t know, standing on the stage all by himself and sounding pretty darn good.

With that little ditty, we suddenly realized how cute Lynn was. In an instant, he became a high school heart-throb. Pretty hot stuff.

This story even has a dramatic teenage ending: Lynn was one of the first of our class to pass away. I was long gone by then, somewhere in California, but I do remember how sad I was to hear the news.

Standing on the school stage that night with his battered guitar, singing that funny little country song, Lynn became one of those unforgettable high school moments, the kind of thing you remember long after you’ve forgotten what a gerund is, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, or why either one makes any difference at all.

So aphrodisiacs in chewing gum? Not a bad idea, guys. I think we outta give it a try.


  1. As an aside about Lonnie Donegan, I remember his songs from the late fifties (in the UK) when "skiffle" groups were the rage. He was a kind of folk singer and also sang funny ballads like the chewing gum thing; quite successful.

  2. Really! -- folk singer from the UK, not a "country song", as I was guessing?

    You can tell how much I know about music. To quote my old boss Jim Watt, that year when he was trying to keep the Beach Boys from performing at a Washington DC Fourth of July extravaganza, "If it isn't the Star Spangled Banner" or "Amazing Grace", I wouldn't recognize it."

    Except that I recognize HaTikva, too.

  3. Well - I had to track down some facts and Donegan's "Rock Island Line" (I remember it clearly - or at least some of the lyrics) was his first hit in 1956; a song of Lead Belly's, thus a blues song, but others were classified as folk songs. From desert rhubarb to skiffle to questionable chewing gum - great blog going here, people!!

  4. As Dennis Prager used to say -- maybe still does -- he'll talk about anything except architecture and poetry.

    Works for me.

    Thanks, Bobster!

  5. "Does the Spearmint Lose It's Flavor" and "Rock Island Line" go back farther than Lonnie Donnegan and Leadbelly. They are genuine folk songs that were revitalized in the 50s and 60s. My mother sang them as she did housework when I was a child. I think she called them songs from the "dirty 30s" or Depression era.

  6. I take that back. "Rock Island Line" does go back to the Leadbelly (or Lead Belly as he spelled it) era of the 1930s. The Spearmint song dates from 1924.

  7. Amazing. I learn so much by writing a blog!

    See? I might even have thought that Lynn Soholt himself made up that song. I don't know if I thought that -- I guess I just hadn't thought about it at all.

    "Dirty 30's" -- I like that.