The Blobinator Rids Reykjavík of 100,000th Gum Blob Skip to content

The Blobinator Rids Reykjavík of 100,000th Gum Blob

By Larissa Kyzer

Photo: via Tyggjóið burt, FB.
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Reykjavík’s self-appointed Blobinator, 70-year-old Guðjón Óskarsson, has spent years fighting a scourge on the capital’s streets, an enemy that dogs residents’ footsteps in dark alleys, that seems to multiply with every passing day: the gum blob. But as RÚV reports, this very weekend, The Blobinator struck a decisive blow against his sticky nemesis when he cleaned his 100,000th blob of gum off a Laugavegur sidewalk.

Scene of the Blobinating. The Blobinator’s 100,000th adversary, right before it met its end. (Screenshot via RÚV)

Since setting himself the goal of a ‘Gum-Free 101’ [the postcode of downtown Reykjavík],  Guðjón has become a beloved fixture in the neighbourhood, garnering attention no less for his positivity and friendly antics than for the service he himself decided to provide. Cleaning gum off downtown streets was a job he conceived of and did on an entirely volunteer basis after being laid off from his job in the travel industry in 2020, during the pandemic.

The Blobinator in action (via Tyggjóið burt, FB)

After Guðjón blobinated his 15,000th foe in fall 2020, the City of Reykjavík created a special position just for him. So now the Day-Glo’ed Crusader sweeps the streets in an official capacity, armed with a scraper, a power scrubber he wears on his back, and a special sandwich board with a counter that he flips every time he blasts another blob. Since becoming a city employee, the blobinating has continued both apace and within the public eye. Guðjón’s daily toils are frequently sponsored by local companies, he was named Reykjavíker of the Year in 2021, and he now even has a Facebook page dedicated to his cause: Tyggjóið Burt, or ‘Away with the Gum!’

But while he did take a moment to give himself a humble hand after washing away blob nr. 100,000, The Blobinator won’t be resting on his laurels any time soon. He’s now set himself the goal of ridding the Reykjavík sidewalks of no fewer than 376,824 blobs of gum—one blob per Icelander, he explained.

Close Call. The Blobinator almost got a parking ticket while celebrating his victory. (Screenshot via RÚV)

Despite his daring and his dedication to defending downtown, The Blobinator has had some close calls over the years—not least on Saturday, the day of his greatest triumph to date. Shortly after cleaning up his 100,000th blob, Guðjón parked his car in a no-park zone on the pedestrian stretch of Laugavegur in order to fetch bowls of filled chocolates that he proceeded to distribute to passersby in celebration of the occasion. He left a typed sign in the window: “I’m working here in the area, cleaning up gum.” A traffic warden was less than impressed, however, and left a parking ticket on his window with a note saying that parking isn’t permitted there.

Luckily, justice prevailed in the end, and Guðjón was let off with a warning. Áfram, Blobinator!

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