Tabloid City, a new book by legendary New York writer Pete Hamill, has triggered my latest foray into the dim recesses of childhood memory. During a passage in which he’s describing the sound made by an oldster who is softly snoring, he compares it to what you hear when you blow into an empty Chiclets box.
I was instantly transported to my childhood because one of my favorite things as a kid was to ‘toot’ on a Chiclets box. In fact, I liked the tooting more than the gum itself, but you had to chew up all the Chiclets to empty the box. The alternative was to dump all the little white squares into your pocket, but the pocket of a sweaty, grubby kid is not a safe place for most edible things.
So I’d work my way through the Chiclets until the box was empty, then tear off the flaps on one end and blow through it. The tucked flap and tab on the opposite end would do its vibrating thing and I’d soon be tooting my way through the house, annoying everyone in sight.
More than a century after their introduction Chiclets are still around, but I haven’t tried tooting the box in many years. I’m not even sure if you could still do it. Probably not, because most candy and gum boxes have glued ends now, presumably making them more tamper-proof.
Tooting my Chiclets box — one more pleasure lost to progress.