Monday, May 16, 2011

Prospectus for the Remodeled Chewing Gum Corporation

So I found this essay by Will Rogers. It kind of reminded me of Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal. Will Rogers was a really funny fellow.

Last week I made, on account of my Movie work, a trip to Catalina Island and along with the Glass bottom Boat I had pointed out to me the home of Mr. William Wrigley on the top of the highest mountain. He also owns the Island. We were not allowed to go nearer than the gate as the Guide said some other Tourist had carried away a Grand Piano, and he had gotten discouraged at having them around. Another tourist was caught right on the Lawn Chewing an opposition brand of Gum. That is really the thing that gummed up the Tourist Parade.

Then I remembered having seen his wonderful building in Chicago, all, mind you, accumulated on Chewing Gum at a Cent a Chew. Now I felt rather hurt at not being allowed to walk through maybe the Kitchen, or the Cellar, because I know that I have contributed more to the Building of that Home than any one living. I have not only made Chewing Gum a pastime but I have made it an Art. I have brought it right out in Public and Chewed before some of the oldest Political Families of Massachusetts.

I have had Senator Lodge (who can take the poorest arguments in the World and dress them up in perfect English and sell them) after hearing my Act on the Stage, say: "William" (that's English for Will), "William, I could not comprehend a word of the Language you speak, but you do Masticate uncompromisingly excellent."

This reception which I received at the Wrigley Home was so in contrast to the one which I received at Mr. Adolphus Busch's in St. Louis. When he heard that one of his best Customers was at the outer Gate, Mr. Busch not only welcomed me, but sent me a fine German Police Dog to California, the stock of which had come direct from the Kaiser's Kennels in Pottsdam. The Dog did wonderful until some one here by mistake gave him a drink of Half of One Percent Beer. He would have been six years old next May.

After looking on Mr. Wrigley's home with much admiration and no little envy, the thought struck me: A man to succeed nowadays must have an Idea. Here I am, struggling along and wasting my time on trying to find something nice to say of our Public Men, when I should be doing Something with Dividends connected with it. So then the thought struck me: WHAT BECOMES OF ALL THE CHEWING GUM THAT IS USED IN THIS COUNTRY?

I just thought to myself, if Bill Wrigley can amass this colossal fortune, and pay the Manufacturing charges, why can't I do something with Second Hand Gum. I will have no expense, only the accumulation of the Gum after it is thoroughly masticated. Who would be the most beneficial to mankind, the man who invented Chewing Gum, or me who can find a use for it? Why, say, if I can take a wad of old Gum and graft it onto some other substance, I will be the modern Burbank. (With the ideas I have got for used Gum I may be honored by my Native State of Oklahoma by being made Governor, with the impeachment clause scratched out of the Contract.)

All Wrigley had was an Idea. He was the first man to discover that the American Jaws must wag. So why not give them something to wag against? That is, put in a kind of Shock Absorber.

If it wasn't for Chewing Gum, Americans would wear their teeth off just hitting them against each other. Every Scientist has been figuring out who the different races descend from. I don't know about the other Tribes, but I do know that the American Race descended form the Cow. And Wrigley was smart enough to furnish the Cud. He has made the whole World chew for Democracy.

That's why this subject touches me so deeply. I have chewed more Gum than any living Man. My Act on the Stage depended on the grade of Gum I chewed. Lots of my readers have seen me and perhaps noted the poor quality of my jokes on that particular night. Now I was not personally responsible for that. I just happened to hit on a poor piece of Gum. One can't always go by the brand. There just may be a poor stick of Gum in what otherwise may be a perfect package. It may look like the others on the outside but after you get warmed up on it, why, you will find that it has a flaw in it. And hence my act would suffer. I have always maintained that big Manufacturers of America's greatest necessity should have a Taster--a man who personally tries every Piece of Gum put out.

Now lots of People don't figure the lasting quality of Gum. Why, I have had Gum that wouldn't last you over half a day, while there are others which are like Wine--they improve with Age.

I hit on a certain piece of Gum once, which I used to park on the mirror of my dressing room after each show. Why, you don't know what a pleasure it was to chew that Gum. It had a kick, or spring to it, that you don't find once in a thousand Packages. I have always thought it must have been made for Wrigley himself.

And say, what jokes I thought of while chewing that Gum! Ziegfeld himself couldn't understand what had put such life and Humor into my Work.

Then one night it was stolen, and another piece was substituted in its place, but the minute I started in to work on this other Piece I knew that someone had made a switch. I knew this was a Fake. i hadn't been out on the Stage 3 minutes until half of the audience were asleep and the other half were hissing me. So I just want to say you can't exercise too much care and judgment in the selection of your Gum, because if it acts that way with me in my work, it must do the same with others, only they have not made the study of it that I have.

Now you take Bryan. I lay his downfall to Gum. You put that manon good Gum and he will be parking it right under the White House Dinner Table.

Now, some Gum won't stick easy. It's hard to transfer from  your hand to the Chair. Other kinds are heavy and pull hard. It's almost impossible to remove them from Wood or Varnish without losing a certain amount of the Body of the Gum.

There is lots to be said for Gum. This pet Piece of mine I afterwards learned had been stolen by a Follies Show Girl, who two weeks later married an Oil Millionaire.

Gum is the only ingredient of our National Life of which no one knows how or of what it is made. We know that Sawdust makes our Breakfast food. We know that Tomato Cans constitute Ford Bodies. We know that old Second-hand Newspapers make our 15 dollar Shoes. We know that Cotton makes our All-Wool suits. But no one knows yet what constitutes a mouthful of Chewing Gum.

But I claim if you can make it out of old Rubber Boots and Tires and every form of old junk, why cna't I, after reassembling it, put it back into these same Commodities? No one has found a substitute for Concrete. Why not Gum? Harden the surface so the Pedestrians would not vacate with your street. What could be better for a Dam for a River than old Chewing Gum? Put one Female College on the banks of the Grand Canyon, and they will Dam it up in 2 years, provided they use discretion in their parking.

Now, as for my plans of accumulation, put a Man at every Gum selling place. The minute a Customer buys, he follows him. He don't have to watch where he throws it when through; all he has to do is to follow. he will step onit sooner or later no matter where they throw it.

When he feels it, he immediately cuts off the part of the shoe where it is stuck on, so he can save the entire piece. Then he goes back and awaits another buyer.

I have gone into the matter so thoroughly that I made a week's test at a friend of mine's Theatre. At one of Mr. Sid Grauman's Movie Theatres here, I gathered gum for one week and kept account of the intake every day. My statistics have proven that every seat in every Movie Theatre will yield a half Pint of Gum every 2 days, some only just slightly used.

Now that gives us an average of a Pint and a Half every six days, not counting Sunday where the Pro Rata really increases. Now figure the seating capacity of the Theatre and you arrive at just what our Proposition will yield in a good solid commodity.

Of course, this thing is too big for me to handle personally. I can, myself, disrobe, after every Show, one Theatre and perhaps a Church on Sunday. But to make it National I have to form it into a Trust. We will call it the "Remodeled Chewing Gum Corporation."

Don't call it Second Hand; there is no Dignity in that name. If we say "remodeled" why every Bird in America falls for that.

Of course, it is my idea ultimately after we have assembled more than we can use for Concrete and Tires and Rubber Boots to get a Press of some kind and mash it up in different and odd shapes.

(You know there is nothing that takes at a Dinner like some Popular Juice Flavor to our Remodeled and overhauled Product. I would suggest Wood Alcohol. That would combine two Industries into one.)

I want to put flavors in there where we can take some of this colossal trade away from these Plutocratic Top Booted Gentlemen. If we can get just enough of this wood alcohol into our reassembled Gum to make them feel it and still not totally destroy our Customer we will have improved on the Modern Bootlegger as he can only sell to the same man once.

Now, Gentlemen and Ladies, you have my proposition. Get in early on, "Old Gum made as good as New." Think of the different brands that would be popular, "Peruna Flavor Gum," "Jamaica Ginger Gum," "Glover's Mange Gum," "Lysol Gum."

It looks like a great proposition to me. It will be the only Industry in the World where all we have to do is to just pick it up, already made, and flavor it.

I am going to put this thing up to my friend, Henry Ford. Think, with no overhead, how he could keep the Cost down. It's a better proposition than being President.

See? He's hilarious. It's great. I like the part where he says "We know that Cotton makes our All-Wool suits." Boom. Roasted.

Long live dedication!

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