You know the well is running dry when you’re doing posts about ChapStick but according to a friend of mine, ChapStick is one of the most commonly listed items amongst the top five things that women say they can’t live without in their online dating profiles, so I know I’m not alone in this. And I also know I’m probably not alone when I clarify that by “ChapStick” I’m not referring to that particular brand necessarily, but anything from Blistex to Burt’s Bees to YouDaBalm to whatever, so long as the product that I’m using to coat my lips, provides that waxy, sometimes menthol-y, sometimes fruity, but always soothing layer of relief, anywhere from thirty to forty times a day.
No joke. I’ve never bothered to count the actual amount of applications I dispense over a twenty-four hour period, but I’d say three dozen would be a modest estimate. It’s pretty ridiculous.
I’m not quite sure when my addiction to ChapStick developed exactly. I’ve always used it, all growing up that is, but I do remember a time when I could live without it. A time when using ChapStick was specifically reserved for when I had chapped lips. However, somewhere along the line, I’m guessing about ten years ago, my lip balm usage took on a life of its own and now I find myself constantly at the mercy of my Smacker supply, leading to regular bouts of stress for me and occasionally interfering in the lives of others.
Let me give you an example. A number of years ago I went on a hike with my family. We were about twenty minutes into it (the average amount of time it takes before I start to itch) when I discovered that I had left my ChapStick in the car. Not wanting to panic right away, I told myself that the trail we were on couldn’t take much longer than another thirty minutes to wrap around. Seeing as I could still feel the sheen from the last application on me, I knew that while I’d be cutting it close, I wasn’t in any kind of dry-lipped danger zone so long as I immediately stopped smacking them together. I would now have to ration what little I had left, but I’d most likely avoid a catastrophe.
I couldn’t have been further off.
Another thirty minutes and I was informed that we had only reached the midway point in our journey. This was going to be a problem. I could feel the stinging setting in. Discomfort so daunting that I had to pick up the pace for all of us lest my respite never be received. I think it was about 92 degrees that day we decided to take a leisurely stroll around the lake and here I am dragging my family though the woods at the speed of sound before finally screaming at my father to “give me the keys!” and running off ahead of them just to douse my mouth in petroleum. From that point on “Do you have your chapstick?” would become a prerequisite question before trips to the train station, the airport or the grocery store, whenever I was with my parents.
And it’s weird because as debilitated as I am without it, I forget my Chapstick on a fairly regular basis, making for one hell of a collection. If I go anywhere, to dinner, the movies, the bar, and I don’t have it, I have to stop and get a new one. Even if I’m carrying a lip gloss with me! Lip gloss is for inside. Any girl with long hair knows you don’t wear gloss outside, especially on windy days, if you don’t want your strands stuck to your face and covered in goo. So even when I have alternatives, I pack a balm for good measure.
When I’m inside though, forget it. Here are all of the places that you can find ChapSticks stashed around my apartment:
Too many times I’ve made the mistake of thinking my lips were properly lubricated (bare with me, how else was I gonna say that?) before bed and then found myself debating whether or not I could make it through the night before finally throwing off the covers and reaching across my room to my dresser drawer for one. Not anymore. Better to keep it within arms reach and stave off the nightmares.
The Vanity Drawer
This is my ChapStick’s home base. Like my own personal CVS. When one on the outside is on its last leg, this is where I come for reinforcements.
The End Table Next To My Couch In The Living Room
Where I’ve practically built a petroleum shrine.
In The Couch
In a pinch, never forget to check the cushions.
The Kitchen Drawer
With other survival tools like the flashlight and delivery menus.
One time Jeff and I were watching TV and he went to grab the remote from my hand but what he found instead was my death grip on this double sided stick that he had actually bought me as a present. What can I say? You can never be too prepared. In fact I have a ChapStick on either side of me on my bed as I’m writing this.
So you can see how out of control my situation is. I’ve searched all over the internet for viable ways to put an end to my dependency but there is surprisingly little information on the subject. Most sites just cover the condition of being addicted but don’t offer any solutions. The ones that do, say that it’s a psychological problem and not a physiological one. My ass! I’ve gotten to the point where a lack of manufactured moisturizer leaves me cracked and flaking in thirty minutes flat which has made going cold turkey nearly impossible. The only psychological issue is the near mental break I’m in danger of, given I’m stuck without any reserves.
In fact I’m not sure I’ve met anyone who’s overcome their lip balm affliction. I’ve met people who’ve kicked cigarettes, alcohol, hard drugs, reality TV, but do recovering ChapStick abusers exist?
If they’re out there, I’d like to know.
OK, I feel Blistex Mango Medicated coming on.