While standing in the 72nd Street subway station waiting for the 1 train, I looked down in the tracks and noticed a small jar of Carmex lip balm looking up at me. In an imagined voice, or possibly an aural hallucination that sounded distinctly like Jeff Goldblum’s voice in David Cronenberg’s debatably necessary 1986 remake of the horror film classic, The Fly, the Carmex cried, “Help me!” I grimaced and replied, “Sucks to be you, buddy.” Then, I whipped out my trusty Canon digital and took a few pictures.
I have been on the lip balm losing end on more occasions than I care to recall. It never fails that on days when my lips are feeling painfully dry, I’ll reach into my pocket or messenger bag and sure enough, I will find myself lip balm-less. If Carmex were my brand I would half wonder if that was one of the many lip balms I have lost through the years sitting in the subway tracks, but I always assume that my many missing lip balms have entered the black hole that also holds hostage the legions of socks I have lost since birth. Recently, the subject of missing socks somehow came up during a work-related discussion with Elsbeth, my boss, a fellow lost sock sufferer. She opined with certainty in her tone, “Once you lose a sock, forget it. You’ll never see it again.” Truer words have never been spoken by my superior.
Returning to the subject of missing lip balm and the lip pain that always seems to escalate monumentally when I realize that I have once again failed to pack one of the many tubes I have of my balm of choice, Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1, a curious name since none of Kiehl’s other balms are numbered. This must be Kiehl’s subliminal way of telling Lip Balm #1 devotees like me, “This is the Mercedes Benz of lip balms that tastes like Vaseline, even though a 12 pack of Vaseline lip balms costs $13.99 on Amazon whereas a single tube of Kiehl’s costs $7.00, excluding tax and shipping.” Maybe Kiehl’s would not say that. It has occurred to me that if I had saved all the money I have spent on tubes of Lip Balm #1 through the years, I might have painfully sore lips but also a down payment for a Mercedes.
When I am not carrying one of my nine Kiehl’s lip balms (I have purposely counted my many lip balms for this post), and my lips are a source of searing pain, I duck into the nearest pharmacy or stop at the closest newsstand and pretty much buy the Whatever Brand Of Lip Balm To Stop This Pain That Is Making Me Think Of Nothing But How Much My Lips Are Hurting Me At This Moment.
I easily have nine of those Whatever Brand lip balms, but could only locate two, along with three holiday stocking stuffer lip balms my sister, Dovima, and niece, Sweetpea, have given me. I am more sentimental about hanging onto gift lip balm from family. As sorry as I felt for the forlorn jar of Carmex destined to meet a tragic end on the subway tracks, I also pity the poor schmuck or schmuck-ette who might be reaching into his or her pocket right now in need of that very jar of lip balm. Whoever you are, I know your pain.