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  • Writer's pictureThomas Curran

what's a gigantagum?

Updated: Jul 4, 2020

Hello friends!! Since the release of my debut novel, Death, Discovery and Carne Asada, I've been toying around with some new ideas. I wasn't sure if I wanted to do a follow up to DDCA or something new. Here's a super rough draft of a new novel I started this week. It's not a follow up to DDCA, just a fun idea I have. Would love your feedback!

NOTE - this is a long, long first chapter and will more than likely be chopped up as I continue to write. Enjoy!


The first time my face hurt was 6,937,907 minutes ago.

I know this because it was Wednesday, January 24, 2007 at 3:13 pm and it’s now exactly 9:00 am on Friday, April 3, 2020 and because I was 6 years, 7 months, and 12 days old and I’m now 19 years, 9 months and 22 days old and that was the day when my best friend Danny punched me on my right cheek and made my face get fat and sore and colorful. Later that day, my facehurt day, the under part of my eye, which was not working correctly because Danny punched me right below it, turned the same reddish purplish blackish color my mom’s eye sometimes did when she would cry after fighting in her bedroom with her friend who was a man.

Kids always called each other their best friend but nobody ever said that to me. I know that the word best means “most excellent” and, because Danny had never called me a name or teased me like every other kid on the playground before facehurt day, Danny must have been my best, most excellent friend.

Back then, when other kids made me confused and angry and sometimes sad when they would call me names or say I was dumb, Bonnie (that’s my mom but I call her Bonnie because that’s her name and other people call her Bonnie and because I used to have a rabbit named Peanut and I didn’t call it my rabbit, I called it Peanut) told me all those kids were my friends, but they didn’t know how to tell me they were my friends because I was special and sometimes hard to talk to. I did understand that part of what Bonnie would tell me, the part about me being hard to talk to, because I didn’t always like to be talked to because usually the talking was the same as kids calling me names so I would get mad or throw my toys or sand at them so then they would think I was hard to talk to. So, I understood Bonnie because people who throw sand are hard to talk to.

But I’ve never understood why Bonnie would say they were my friends. When I was old enough to look things up in the dictionary (a book I used to call my main source of information before I got a smart phone which is not as smart as me and they don’t call me smart boy so I don’t know how a dumb phone can get the name smart phone when I’m smarter) I found the word friend very quickly because I’m smart and know that F comes after E but before G and the F section is pretty small so finding FR was very fast for a smart person like me and it said, which I already knew because I was smart, that a friend was a person that I would bond with and have affection with but not the kind of affection that some kids have for each other when they sneak behind the wall at the library and kiss. That is a different kind of affection that I hope to tell you more about later in this story.

I was thinking of that day, my facehurt day, this morning because I’m leaving on a grand adventure and it was on facehurt day and it was because of facehurt day when my eye didn’t work right when I decided that I was going to be a great adventurer someday and today is a someday later than facehurt day so that’s why I thought of facehurt day this morning.

I’m standing on a sidewalk 16 centimeters from the edge of the sidewalk where it becomes sand and about 9 meters from the Pacific Ocean. Before today, I only used the metric system because my brain is always calculating things because I’m smart and metrics are in multiples of 10 so my brain can work faster and with less spicy banana brain (that’s what Bonnie calls headaches to little kids because bananas are mushy and gross and that’s what your brain feels like right before the bananas get spicy which hurts your body a lot) than when I try to use imperial measurements which nobody can calculate quickly, not even super smart people like me, and because we don’t live in an empire so I never understood why we use them here in the United States of America. I also never understood why an empire would use barleycorn and the thickness of a row of men walking out of church to create their measurements. I haven’t tested this because the supermarket in the confusing town I live in doesn’t sell barleycorn but I don’t think every piece of barleycorn is the same size and certainly a smart boy like me knows there are fat men and skinny men so none of those three things are logical choices for the mission of creating a very good measuring system. Empires must be full of smart people or they wouldn’t be very strong empires and they would probably be taken over quite easily by another empire in a war so the empire that created the imperial measuring system must not have been very strong and is probably not around anymore because they were probably taken over in a war.

I would not have used barleycorn or the thickness of men to make up any sort of measuring stick.

Here’s how I would have made up a system back in the old people days before there were measuring tapes and digital scales. And because I would have been the very important person in charge of creating a worldwide measuring system, I would have gotten to choose the base measurement for everything. The most important factor for designing a measuring system is to use a base measurement from something that is well known and very consistent in size. To create my system for measuring distance, I would have chosen a stick of Juicy Fruit gum as my base measurement because I like Juicy Fruit gum, everyone knows Juicy Fruit gum, it smells and tastes good, and every single stick of Juicy Fruit gum is exactly the same length. The only problem with Juicy Fruit gum is that the flavor goes away too fast so I spend most of my money on lots of Juicy Fruit gum because I always like to have that flavor in my mouth except when I’m eating very well done steak (because I don’t like blood even though I know the red stuff that comes out of steak isn’t blood but still looks like it), McDonald’s fried apple pies, Jack in the Box curly French fries (curly, because they are fun to eat, hold a lot of ketchup and have a pleasurable hint of spice on them that is not enough spice to hurt the body but which should be called Belgium fries because they weren’t invented in France, they were invented in Belgium), Dr. Pepper (any temperature is fine but I prefer room temperature Dr. Pepper because it’s more fizzy than when it’s cold) and frozen Butterfinger candy bars. So, I would have started with 1 pack of Juicy Fruit gum which has 15 sticks in each pack. Each stick of gum is exactly 2.875” long so a Packagum is 43.2 inches which is only 3 inches longer than a boring old meter.

Therefore, the base measurement for the best, most excellent measuring system is 1 Packagum or 43.2 inches or 3.6 feet or 1.1 meters. There are other Juicy Fruit gum pack sizes available but I always buy the 15 stick pack because the cost per stick is 4 cents less than the next least expensive way to purchase, the pack fits perfectly in the back pocket of my jeans and, unlike the 5 stick pack where you rip the top foil off and the individually wrapped sticks of gum hang out the end and sometimes the wrapping doesn’t work well and you get pocket lint in the gum, the 15 stick pack is made of thin cardboard with a fold over flap that has a tongue and groove enclosure system to avoid linty chewing gum. So, I would have my pack of Juicy Fruit gum and I would unwrap all 15 sticks and lay them down end to end. Then I would have taken a piece of string and cut it the exact length of the sticks of gum and that would be my base measurement and it would be called a Packagum. I would take that string and put it in a wood and glass case with a padlock and it would be used forever as the official standard for distance measuring.

From there, my system follows the metric systems formulations multiplying or dividing the base measurement, the Packagum, by different multiples of ten to achieve the following chart of the Gum System I would have created compared to some equivalents in the imperial and metric measurement systems. Please, feel free to adopt this system if you also like Juicy Fruit gum and find it most excellent.

Although my chart stops at Hugogum on the big multiple side, it actually goes as high as Exagum, but I don’t think you’ll ever have to measure anything that big and it wouldn’t fit on this page anyway.

I don’t think that most people in the United States of America would like to switch to this system today mainly because they haven’t wanted to switch to the metric system, which is very similar to my system but with more boring names, after all these years even though it is almost the most excellent system. Almost. But, because this is just make-believe and I am the make-believer of the best, most excellent measuring system ever, this will be the system I use for my grand adventure.

To begin my journey, I hitchhiked 24.2 Kilogums, which is 26.6 km or 16.4 miles, from my home in a town that confuses me to get to this sidewalk at the Newport Beach Pier in Newport Beach, California. My home, where my mom also lives because I can’t afford a house of my own yet because I spend all my money on gum, is in a city called Orange, California. I understand why they named the city Orange, but I don’t understand why they keep calling it that. My smart phone, my new source of information, told me it’s called Orange because there used to be a lot of orange groves but I don’t know if they planted oranges there because it was called Orange and it made sense to grow oranges in Orange or if they planted oranges in a city that didn’t have a name yet so they then decided to just call it Orange. I’ve never heard of a town called Apple or Lemon or Grape, but I haven’t been everywhere yet so maybe those towns exist where they grow those foodstuffs. There are still some orange trees and small groves in Orange, but it’s mostly houses and buildings where people shop and eat and it’s not orange in color at all so the name doesn’t really fit. I guess people like the name and decided to keep it.

It’s 61 degrees and, according to my horoscope I retrieve every morning on my new source of information, today is not a good day for surgeries and my pancreas, small intestines and digestive tract could be influenced by the moon being in Virgo because its waxing gibbous.

Bonnie calls me Zachary (never Zach) and I’m going to be the first and only person ever to attempt a 1 Gigantagum Adventure.


I like to plan everything, every minute, every day. For example, I wake up every day at 6:45 am whether it’s a fun busy day or a school busy day. I liked school busy days because they were always well planned far in advance and I knew exactly when I was going to do whatever it was that made me busy. When I was in school, before I graduated because I am smart, my day was always exactly the same. I liked busy school days for the following reasons:

  • School was 9.6 kilogums from my house which gave me good exercise and time to think

    • Since you are still new to this system, that’s 3,458 steps or about ½ mile.

  • School began and ended at exactly the same time every day.

  • Bonnie made my breakfast and packed my mid-morning snack in a brown bag and placed that inside my backpack next to my lunch which was in a large ziplock bag with an ice pack to keep my turkey, American cheese and mayonnaise sandwich cold. Also, in my backpack she would put one can of Dr. Pepper but always away from the ice pack because I like it room temperature.

  • On my way home every day I would stop at the gas station and buy one 15-stick pack of Juicy Fruit gum.

    • The people that work at the gas station told me they would sell me a box of 20 packs of gum for less money but I decided to not accept that offer because then I wouldn’t have to stop there every day and stopping there was part of my busy day plan and I didn’t want to adjust it because it was perfect.

    • The only time I adjusted my walk home plan was when I would secretly buy a fountain style Dr. Pepper with no ice when I would buy my Juicy Fruit gum. It was secret because Bonnie gets mad when I have more than 1 Dr. Pepper per day.

    • I asked the people at the gas station to not tell Bonnie about my secret Dr. Peppers and, because they like me, they have never told her.

    • Sometimes when Bonnie and I go into the gas station together when Bonnie needs gas or snacks, the people who work there will wink at me and I know that means they’re keeping their secret. Bonnie thinks it’s weird that they wink at me, but I tell her it’s because I buy so much Juicy Fruit gum and they are my friends.

      • I went to the library at school every day to research things that I needed to know in order to create my measurement systems.

      • On weekends, I spent Saturdays creating my Gum System for Measuring Distance and, on Sundays, I worked on my Gum System for Measuring Weight.

    • Like the dumb imperial system for distance, the Avoirdupois system for measuring mass and weight do not make sense in a modern world and do not calculate quickly and easily. The not very smart people who made the system hundreds of years ago used it based on weighing wool and chose 16 as the base for a pound because 16 is equally divisible by 4 and then 4 again to keep the numbers whole. That part does make sense to me.

To begin my research for my Gum System, I offered 100 people who live in Orange 1 stick of Juicy Fruit Gum if they would participate in my research. Here are the 4 questions I asked them and the results of each:

  1. Do you ever measure wool?

    1. Zero people had ever measured wool.

  2. Do you think you will ever measure wool?

    1. Zero people believed they would ever need to measure wool

  3. Would you rather multiply 16 x 6 or 10 x 6?

    1. 91 people would rather multiply 10 x 6.

    2. 7 people would rather multiply 16 x 6.

    3. 2 people didn’t understand the question

  4. Do you like Juicy Fruit Gum?

    1. 98 people liked Juicy Fruit Gum.

    2. 75 people didn’t know Juicy Fruit Gum was still available.

    3. After tasting my free stick, I told them the participants where, how and why they should buy it.

It was clear to me, after my research, that a new system for measuring weight was needed. My system is almost complete, and I will share it with you when I am certain that it is perfect.

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