Iíve always been willing to do anything on a dare. Thatís gotten me into a lot of trouble when I was eleven years old.

While standing on the boardwalk of Coney Island in New York, I bragged about how many wads of gum I could chew. My best friend, Frank, challenged me. "I bet I can chew more gum than you!" "Youíre on! I replied.

We bought a big bag of bubble gum. Frank and I began unwrapping the gum and putting it into our mouths. Frank quit after twenty pieces. I didnít stop until I had fifty pieces of bubble gum in my mouth.

With a "told you so" smile on my face, I stuck my fingers into my mouth trying to get the gum out. I couldnít do it. I knew I couldnít swallow that mouthful, so I decided to blow a large bubble and get the gum out that way.

It didnít work. The bubble just got bigger, and bigger, and bigger. I still couldnít spit the gum out and the bubble kept expanding.

I felt the wind sweep me off my feet, carrying me toward the ocean. I started to worry Ė would my mom and dad ever see me again? What was the weather like in Europe? My fear made me breathe faster, and the bubble grew even larger.

Finally, it popped. I fell down Ė splash Ė headfirst into the water. I floated there for an hour before a trawler picked me up and brought me back to shore. I had bubble gum all over my clothes, soaked to the skin and shivering to the bone.

But I learned a lesson. When your ego gets the better of you, beware! Your bubble will burst, youíll fall flat on your face, and youíll wind up all wet!