The Gum Fence

Someone has stuck a piece of chewing gum on top of each spike on a fence near my office.

The fence runs along Fettes Row, separating the road from the slope down to my employer’s car park (or, more properly, the piece of waste ground on which my employer permits its employees to park their cars; it’s a tax distinction). The pavement here is narrow and uneven, made up of old cobblestones, imperfectly pointed. Shrubs grow through the railings, and cars park close beside, making it an awkward side of the road to walk on.

The chewing gum starts beside a long-disused gate. Taken 12 January 2005

Whoever is doing it missed a spike, buried deep in the ivy. Taken 12 January 2005

They put dabs of gum on the stubs of broken-off spikes, too. Taken 12 January 2005

Even when the uprights were broken off quite low down. Taken 12 January 2005

The gum continues over 17 fence divisions. Each fence division has 20 spikes, so even allowing for the 5% or so spikes that are missing altogether, someone has put over 320 tiny dabs of chewing gum on pointy bits of iron. Assuming that each dab represents a third of a stick of gum, someone has chewed over a hundred of them before methodically sticking a piece on each spike.

It makes me wonder. How long did this take? Did they walk by, one day at a time, sticking dabs of gum on spikes? When did they stop, and why?
(Have they stopped, or will I find two or three extra spikes covered the next time I walk that way?) Do they now have such well-exercised jaw muscles that they can bite through a walnut?

And, most importantly, Why?

5 thoughts on “The Gum Fence”

  1. I think it’s a great idea!! My question is this: is the gum all the same flavour? I’m willing to do this based on colour…

    You’re the weird one for blogging it. 😉

  2. Judging purely by colour, yes. But very few gums chewed by adults in this country are different colours, so it could be half spearmint, half fruit flavoured and I wouldn’t be able to see a difference.

    I reports what I sees, EJ. I’ll agree to being the weird one for *noticing* it. 😛

  3. Well, this is an intriguing case-study on which to produce a psychological profile! Yes, I would a agree that the phantom fence gummer would be likely to have jaw muscles more befitting a pit bull terrier than that of a man. Certainly no chinless wonder was responsible. Perhaps we should be seeking a Desperate Dan lookalike whose overcoat pockets are bulging with Wrigleys packets and around whom a strong aroma of spearmint is likely to be so overpowering that it becomes a visible fog? Hmmmm.

  4. I love your evilrooster bookbinding site! I am a newbie to homemade book making…and loving every single moment of it (for a hobby). I adore your site and all it’s helps. thanks so much for it. If you ever wish to mail me a “min-tomes”, I would ADORE it…I aspire to be able to do something like that someday!! Right now, I can only mail back “newbie” level stuff….yeah, that. 😛 Thanks again!!! Here’s to bookbinding! Cheers!!

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