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The cold wind is biting. The skin on your lips has been beaten to a bloody pulp by a combination of cold temperatures, dry air, and constant licking of the lips.
You keep your head down, telling yourself that it’s only a few blocks to the serenity of your warm, cozy apartment. You’re positive that somewhere in your junk drawer or perhaps in a pocket there lies a Chapstick.
Perhaps it’s a Blistex or Carmex brand. Maybe you’re one of those people that likes the Vaseline lip balm. Whatever it may be, you’re sure that you’ve got something to ease your lip pain. Hell, it was only a few weeks ago that you bought the lip balm inside of a CVS for moments like this. You knew dry air was on its way to your city and you wanted to be prepared.
But when you get home and start rummaging through that junk drawer panic sets in. It’s nowhere to be found.
The jacket pocket you thought it might be in, the khakis you wore three days in a row to work, and the jeans you wore to the bar last night? They’re all empty save for some lint. And now you’re licking your lips every couple of seconds and the split in the middle of your bottom lip hurts so bad that you cannot believe something like this could happen. So now you’re tossing your parka back on and putting those fucking boots onto your feet and you’ve got to head out the door again to go buy more chapstick.
Chapstick is one of those brands like Kleenex that, despite it being a brand name, is in the American vernacular as a catch all. You don’t walk around asking people for “tissue paper” when your nose is stuffy, you ask them for Kleenex.
As far as I know, no one calls it “lip balm.” It’s always called Chapstick, whether you’re using that specific brand or not. I’m a Blistex man myself. It’s not flashy, but I like it the most for 2 reasons – 1. I really like the logo. I think their branding is just fire. 2. It works really well. I don’t need the fancy 7 dollar Burt’s Bees lip balm that tastes like honey walnuts. Just give me the bare bones stuff that gets the job done without pomp or circumstance. That’s what Blistex is to me.
And I don’t know why, but every time I buy a Chapstick brand Chapstick (I hope I’m making sense right now), it feels spicy on my lips. I like something a little more medicated. A balm that smells and feels like it’s working immediately. With Burt’s Bees and Chapstick, I feel like I’m reapplying once or twice an hour. With Blistex, I can apply once in the morning and be good until the afternoon when I have to step outside for a cigarette or grab lunch.
So now that I’ve expressed my undying devotion to Blistex, here’s my problem that will probably never go away- I can’t hold onto a stick of this stuff for more than two weeks, tops. I’ve never finished a whole stick of lip balm in my entire life.
Sometimes I’ll put a chapstick through the wash and then it’ll go through the dryer because I don’t realize what I’ve done and then I’m back at square one, stuck with chapped lips and no lip balm. Other times I’ll bring a chapstick out with me to the bar and by the end of the night I’ll just have no idea where it went. Whether I’ve dropped it in a urinal while drunkenly peeing or loaning it to someone who saw me use it and ask if they can grab some, going out and drinking with a chapstick is a recipe for disaster.
There’s no rhyme or reason for losing chapsticks at the rate that I am losing them. I hear this complaint very often from others as well. No one can hang onto a chapstick for more than a few days. It’s a phenomenon unlike any other, and it’s honestly, probably, a massive reason why the lip balm business is booming right now.
These companies – let’s call them Big Chapstick – they know what’s going on. They know that people have dry lips and they’ve got a solution. They also know that it’s incredibly easy to misplace or lose these things. I’d argue that lip balm companies are worse than heroin dealers. They know they’ve got a product that people need and they’ll just keep coming back over and over and over.
It’s a vicious cycle, but there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. I’m going to keep buying chappies; I’m going to lose said chappie; and then I’m going to buy another one. Rinse and repeat until I keel over and fucking die..
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