I’m a chapstick addict.
I love Burt’s Bees above all, and keep a tin on my bedside table and in my purse. I even keep an empty tin at work that I periodically sniff. It’s retained some of that peppermint scent, and when I smell it, it makes me happy to be alive.
If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes with me in person, you’ve seen me sniff a tin of Burt’s.
It’s what I do.
My husband has learned to carry a stick of Burt’s in his pocket in case I neglect to bring my purse while we’re out and about. “I need chapstick!” I will cry desperately. Calmly (the fruit of experience), he parries disaster with a quickly proferred yellow tube, which I gratefully slather all over my lips.
My second favorite kind of chapstick is Blistex.
I’ve tried (and own) Carmex, the regular chapstick brand, and other kinds of lip balm, but the Blistex “Medicated Mint Balm” is near the top of the charts. It’s more moist than Burt’s, so it’s great for smearing on over your lipstick without removing the color. I bought this product religiously at the Walgreens on Main Street when we lived in Delaware. However, when a little over a year ago we moved to Chicago, the “Medicated Mint” was nowhere to be found. Instead, a regular mint flavor with a darker blue colored tube abounded:
These Chicagoans–they just have no taste. The flavor and texture of this second kind might as well be called “Disappointment.”
I’ve been searching for the true kind of Blistex all year long, everywhere I go, but have been encountering the impostor at every turn. Finally, my very last tube of Medicated Mint was almost gone. I’d been drawing things out and going for the ‘slow death’ option because I couldn’t stand to think that my long and satisfying acquaintance with this product was about to be over. Forever. I had dug almost all the chapstick out of the lower recesses of the tube with my pen. Things were looking desperate.
I’m not sure if you can tell, but there are blue ink marks where I used the pen to dig out the balm.
No one can accuse me of being wasteful here, no sirree. My next step was going to be melting the stuff I couldn’t get out with a candle. Having soot-smeared chaptisky lips may not have been the most attractice option for my deathly pale complexion, but I was ready to do anything.
And then, on a warm fall afternoon, I went to a drugstore to buy both of my sisters birthday cards. And there are the checkout . . . was a bin of Blistex “Medicated Mint.” I swooned. I screamed. I slapped myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I swooned again. The checkout lady said “Ma’am, are you OK? Do you need medical attention?” My voice at a hysterical pitch, I shouted “Hahaha! Medical attention! No! More like medicated mint attention!” She looked so concerned I decided to take it down a notch. “Don’t worry, I’m fine, I’m doing great, this is great,” I reassured her, and made a grab for the entire bin before the guy behind me could interecept my move and take them all (which I was sure he was about to do). My face burning with gratitude and joy, I purchased 6 tubes of that stuff. It was all I could do not to break into song on the spot, convinced that all of nature would shortly join in with me. My only regret is that I didn’t purchase twice as many. Or thrice as many.
I’m not risking another potential loss of that magnitude.
P.S. The story of the checkout is pure fabrication. In truth, I purchased my 6 tubes quite calmly, but that doesn’t make for a very interesting story, does it? Plus, it’s still a truthful account in the sense that it expresses what was going on inside. I mean, I never said this was journalism, right? What I just did probably has a fancy name in the literary criticism circles–like “interiorization.” Or “allegorical account of the inner eye.” Or “the liminality of individual experience.” Very smart stuff. Right. Signing out. Have a great weekend, people.