As the warm sunny weather is starting to quickly approach, I fondly recall the days of my youth during summer vacation when my biggest concern had to do with what my mother was fixing for dinner.
Of course if it was Tuesday night I had no fear whatsoever since it was always meatloaf.
Pickup baseball games, swimming in the nearest pond, and late-night family trips to the nearest ice cream stand highlighted my pre-teen summer days and nights as a child. However, perhaps one of the most enjoyable and competitive summertime activities which conceivably provided the greatest financial lesson that I ever learned — while the fiscal training was not recognizable to me at the time — was chewing bubble gum and blowing bubbles.
Yes, my friends and I bought packs of gum to hopefully acquire the newest Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays baseball card, but if truth be told, we purchased the flat squares of gum because they were much easier to get into your mouth.
It was a learning experience.
Through trial and error, we quickly discovered that individually wrapped pieces of bubble gum that didn’t include baseball cards were actually much more difficult to chew and required a considerable amount of time in order to achieve the precise texture to blow the perfect bubble. Consequently, we determined that baseball card bubble gum was ideal, a few chews and you were off to challenge everyone in the neighborhood.
The rules were quite simple.
Whoever could blow the largest bubble before it blew up all over your face won the contest. Some contests were decided by a group vote, while other competitions were judged by simply measuring the width of the gum that covered your face and hair.
The techniques for blowing bubbles varied as one of my best buddies, Nancy (yes, in those days girls could be pals), utilized the less-is-more method by only chewing two squares of gum. Of course she always gave me her baseball cards except for the Mickey Mantle rookie card which she gave to her father — good for him, bad for me.
On the other hand, my friend Dickey took the opposite approach by stuffing as much gum into his mouth as possible. His bubbles were always thick and slow to develop.
When it came to my own bubble blowing prowess, it seemed that my bubbles typically ranked second best among our tight-knit trio.
Yet, regardless of the amount of gum that was used, Nancy, Dickey, and I consistently dominated the neighborhood contests but we always ended up with the same results, namely with gum all over our faces, hair, and clothes. It was always an atrocious mess that our mothers angrily and reluctantly had to clean up.
After a while, we all outgrew the bubble gum contests.
Yet, one might wonder if the same could be said regarding our current stock market bubble. Therefore, the question must be asked, “Whose mother will be around to clean up this terrible mess?”