ronnielottSaturday-Monday was three-day birthday extravaganza. Saturday we celebrated my wife Julie’s birthday; Sunday we celebrated our daughter Anabel’s first birthday. And Monday, I took the day off and the three of us spent a family day together since Monday was both Julie and Anabel’s actual birthday.

It was a great three days, and both of them received a great many gifts. Anabel received a Jeff Skinner Carolina Hurricanes doll that she refers to as “dada,” and quite frankly it does look look alot more like me than it looks like him.

One of the gifts for Julie came from Dana Wessel and his special lady friend, Heather. It was a perfectly lovely and normal gift, but it also came with a special bonus: a pack of football cards.

Julie opened the gift late Saturday, after her party, and I was drawn immediately, of course, to the idea of football cards. She opened the pack, and I blurted out, “Is there gum!?” It was a pack of Topps, that was all I could see for the moment, and yes there was gum.

I grabbed the stick; sports card gum is almost always chalky and firm, so I thought nothing of it when this felt particularly chalky and firm. I immediately popped it in and started to chew, noticing that it strangely began disintegrating in my mouth.

“This will get better in a few seconds,” I thought.

And then I started to look through the pack of cards. … Wow, this player can’t possibly still be in the league can he? … Whoa, Ronnie Lott? Nice! But he retired forever ago. Then I finally looked at the FRONT of the package.

These weren’t your average, everyday football cards that you would pick up at a convenience store. This was a pack of cards from 1989. That meant the cards were awesome … but the gum, which was in fact NOT improving but only getting worse by the second, was 26 years old.

Immediately I ran to the kitchen sink and spit out the tiny fragments of chalky, cardboard-esque football card gum. I think I could still taste it 24 hours later.

Moral of the story: if Dana Wessel (or anyone, really, but probably Dana Wessel) gives you a pack of football cards, always check the year first before you try the gum.

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