Joe Pisani (opinion): Chew on this - gum can make you smarter

Some of Wrigley's gum brands.

Some of Wrigley’s gum brands.

AP

As students head back to school, or back to their bedrooms for distance learning, I have advice that will revolutionize American education, and it has nothing to do with mask mandates, critical race theory or pedagogy ... whatever that is.

But it could get you into Yale or Harvard after our government solves the student loan crisis, but not until it solves the COVID crisis and the border crisis.

Do you want to be nominated to the National Honor Society? Are you ready to move up to the Ivy League? Would you like to pass the Civil Service exam and snag a job in the Post Office? Or perhaps you’re struggling with Latin. (I took Latin and still recall the immortal words of Caesar, who said, “Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres,” which loosely translated means “Let’s head to Popeyes for some ghost pepper wings.”)

Anyway, here’s my secret for academic success: Chew gum.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s Dubble Bubble or Doublemint, although I heartily recommend sugarless gum because you don’t want to graduate from Yale Law School and not have any teeth when you appear in court.

In taxpayer-funded studies, which make me proud to be a taxpayer, I came upon research that showed chewing gum improves academic performance and can even help you learn Chinese, although it’s not a good idea to chew gum in China because there could be serious repercussions.

When President Barack Obama was chewing gum at an economic conference in Beijing in 2014, he angered the Chinese people, who thought it was disrespectful, and they’re even angrier now because they weren’t invited to his birthday party, so if you plan to attend Peking University, forget the gum or you could get lifetime detention in a labor camp.

I’ve researched the benefits of gum chewing. It can save your life, although it may not save your marriage. It can boost your brain power, reduce stress, lower blood pressure, clean your teeth and keep you alert in school and on the job.

Researchers at St. Lawrence University, Xavier University School of Medicine, Marywood University and others have found that chewing gum turbo-charges your brain and can lead to better test scores. It helps with recall and memory because it increases heart rate and blood flow to the brain to improve cognitive functions. Plus — and this is especially important for students — it will keep you awake in class after a night of partying (hopefully, with masks).

On the first day of classes, I urge my college students to always have a few pieces of Trident handy, especially if they’re taking a test. With online classes, I don’t have to worry about them sticking it under their desks, although I encourage them to stick it under their beds.

I should confess I secretly chew gum in church to stay awake during a boring sermon. If I’m dozing off, I pop a few pieces of Dentyne Ice in my mouth when the priest isn’t looking, and I’m good for 30 minutes. If I belonged to one of those denominations that keeps you in church all day, I’d probably develop TMJ from so much chewing.

(I should say on the record that my pastor’s sermons are more stimulating than Joel Osteen’s, even though Osteen gives better investment advice. It’s other guys who make me nod off, but I’m not naming names because the pope will send the Swiss Guard after me.)

Chewing gum also improves job performance. If, for example, you’re a bank teller, you could jeopardize your career by dozing off at the drive-up window. You’ll never get Employee of the Month or a scholarship to the London School of Economics. So I urge you to chew gum. Just don’t get caught by the bank manager, or she’ll make you put it on your nose, like my fourth-grade teacher did to me.

Before you accuse me of taking money from Juicy Fruit or Wrigley’s to write this stuff, let me assure you I thought it up on my own. I put a whole pack of five Gum Peppermint Cobalt in my mouth, and before I knew it, my brain began working at warp speed like Stephen Hawking’s, and I was bubbling over with ideas.

Chewing gum will work miracles for you, too. If Joe Biden chewed Bazooka, he’d stay awake during news conferences, and we could call him Bazooka Joe. If Donald Trump chewed gum, he could triple the number of tweets he sends ... if Twitter ever lets him tweet again.

Former Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time Editor Joe Pisani can be reached at joefpisani@yahoo.com