There are taboos which led to a lot of sleepless nights for many children and even some adults up to now. Among these rules to be strictly obeyed, there was the one about never swallowing chewing-gum; under penalty of dying from stuck bowels. The warning also mentioned that swallowed chewing-gum would get stuck in the stomach for quite some time; eventually, leading to incurable diseases.
Medical sciences can reassure the most faint-hearted. Swallowed gum will be pushed out by the body, just like any other foreign object. Dr Jena Louis Abena, general practitioner, assures with an ironic smile, that after a maximum of two days, the candy having reverted to gum will naturally find itself in the “loos”.
So, the stomach and bowels will not swell up and get stuck together as threatened by parents. Following this bad omen, Serge remembers the anxiety of chewing and swallowing gum. “Additionally, I could not dare talk about it with my father and mother; fearing it would annoy them”, recalls the forty-something man with nostalgia.
It only remains to convince children that swallowing orange pips will not cause trees to grow in their stomach...