William Ward sells a lot of gum. He works at a newspaper stand just around the corner from a bizarre attraction called the gum wall near Pike Place Market just off the waterfront here and people show up unprepared. He also sells a lot of hand sanitizer.
威廉·沃德(William Ward)卖出了许多口香糖。他的报刊亭就在稀奇古怪的“口香糖墙“景点的拐角，位于河畔派克农贸市场(Pike Place Market)附近。人们来这通常都没什么准备。他同时也卖出了很多洗手液。
“I tell people it’s the second-most disgusting tourist attraction in the world“ Mr. Ward 31 said. In his view only the Blarney stone in Ireland which millions of tourists actually kiss can top the gum wall on the gross-out scale.
But gum in a dozen or so varieties — helped by the sign out front “We sell gum!“ — still flies off the shelves. In most cases he said the gum is destined for only the briefest of chews before commemoration or deposit or whatever it is that people do usually with a photo in making the wall one of this city’s strangest destinations.
Now the gum is coming down after accumulating for 20 years in a deeply encrusted pointillist display of perhaps a million pieces — and about 2200 pounds of sugary cavity-inducing weight that Pike Place officials say threatens the integrity of the 115-year-old brick wall. Crews on Tuesday morning started to remove the gum with garden rakes and superheated water 260 degrees Fahrenheit in a three-day display of industrial-strength dental hygiene.
In the days before the cleaning there was a rush of last-minute visits and gum-themed selfies. People like the Fergus family visiting from Phoenix this week even stopped at Costco before leaving home to load up on supplies for a visit.
“Five packs 15 sticks in each“ Christie Fergus said. She and her husband Brian and their two children Michael 8 and Rachel 3 chewed their way through the arsenal at a stop at the wall on Monday afternoon then spelled the family’s name in large bright green spearmint.
“It was pretty disgusting but also a really interesting and fun family activity“ said Ms. Fergus a pharmacist. Michael she said gets credit for the family name idea.
Pike Place Market officials initially tried to protect the wall from gum after it began appearing there in the 1990s added by people waiting to enter an improvisational comedy club. But after several cleanings and the realization that mentions of the wall in tourist guidebooks like Frommer’s were spurring people on they surrendered. A spokeswoman for the market Emily Crawford said she expected people would resume the practice the moment the wall was once again blank.
“It’s a crowdsourced piece of public art“ Ms. Crawford said. “We don’t need to promote it.“
Chris Borgen 31 a firefighter from a Seattle suburb who had never visited before said he was prompted to come by his mother who told him about the cleaning. He was there on Monday holding up his son Abbott who is almost 2 for photos.
Mr. Borgen said he imagined coming back for a kind of time-lapse series as the gum gradually comes back and Abbott grows up.
Donna Prust a retired technology worker was taking photos on Monday of Ed the Clam a smiley-faced clamshell character that has become a kind of “Kilroy was here“ figure for many people who post pictures of him on his Facebook page. Ms. Prust 68 who has taken photos of herself and the clam in various places around the world pressed the figure into the gum which was several inches thick in spots then pasted on a blue bubble as though Ed was chewing bubble gum.
唐娜·普鲁斯特(Donna Prust)是一名退休的技术人员，周一，她带着她的卡通玩偶Ed the Clam来拍照。她的这个摆出笑脸的蛤壳卡通玩偶，就像“Kilroy到此一游“的卡通形象一样，很多人拿着它在各处拍照，再把照片发到Facebook上。68岁的普鲁斯特曾经和Ed the Clam在全世界许多地方合影。这次，她把玩偶按进墙壁上的口香糖里（墙壁上有几处口香糖有几英寸厚），还在墙壁上贴了一个蓝色的泡泡，假装是玩偶自己在吹口香糖。
“Hand sanitizer!“ she said rifling through her purse when the task was done.
Thanks to the scale of their gum deposit and perhaps the gross-out factor as well Ms. Fergus said the family’s visit to the wall had just about exhausted their desire for gum.
“I think we will take a break from chewing gum for a while after that“ she said in a telephone interview as they prepared to head home.