I’m all for teaching children not to share things that go in or near their mouths — lollipops, candy canes, and, yes, even lip balm. Still, I have to wonder what the hell a Board of Education was doing (or not doing) in Craigsville, Virginia to waste it’s time passing a resolution in which, in order to pass this resolution that banned the sharing of drugs (can’t believe they didn’t have that one before!), they found it necessary and prudent to define lip balm as a “drug”. Color me a drug addict. Send me to rehab. I have a lip balm (or gloss or stick) in every purse and pocket! “Hello! My name is Jackie and I’m a lip balm addict!”
It started off, as all addictions do, innocently enough. I am prone to chapped lips, have been since childhood. It may or not be genetic. Who can know? I will tell you this, though — my father ruined more than one load of laundry with that little black stick filled with a certain petroleum-based product that was, more often than not, hiding in the change pocket of his jeans. It used to drive my mother crazy. Crazy, I tell you.
I could also blame the media for fueling my own addiction. That Suzy Chaffee was something else, wasn’t she? Who wouldn’t want her lips? So identified was this world-class skier with a certain lip balm that she came to be known as “Suzy Chapstick”. I was an impressionable youth who longed to be a blonde, leggy, beautiful skier with healthy lips. If Suzy Chaffee was selling Chapstick, I was buying it.
By the time I was in middle school I had moved past this product and began to hit the hard stuff . I discovered the sticky, flavored, glosses that kept my lips from burning and peeling while making them shine like the top of the Chrysler building in the noonday sun. These glass bottles filled with lip goo were the equivalent of a good gin and tonic in comparison to the bland domestic beer of your average lip balm. And the rollerball applicator? Who could resist that? Not me.
As I grew older I began to favor the tinted varieties. They were, looking back, my gateway to the more sophisticated, more glamorous, the martini, if you will, of lip cosmetics — the lipstick. Oh, yes. I love a nice lipstick. In my youth I favored the nudes and the browns, as I’ve aged, though, I am more and more, drawn to the raspberries and, yes, even I’ve even been known to sport a splashy red now and again. I’ve become fairly brazen in my old age — flaunting my drug addiction with every pass of the stick or the gloss across my dry lips.
Let’s get real, people. Lip balms and other beauty products are not addictions. I have a real addiction and so I know a thing or three about addiction. If someone stopped making lipstick, hospital emergency rooms would not be filled with folks suffering from withdrawl. There might be a whole lot of women wandering about with wan or, worse, bleeding lips, but not one of them would die. Not one of them would be counting the days since they came off the lip shit.
I don’t know what’s next for those folks on that Virginia Board of Education, but I hope that they concentrate on more education-based policies at their next meeting. Although it might be fun to wait and see what their next boneheaded move is, whether they deem the wearing of different colored socks a precursor to anarchy, say. Still, I think they should get back to the business of education and leave the definition of drugs to the professionals. Let’s worry less about the possible demonization of Suzy Chapstick and concentrate our energies on someone who is pushing a real drug, like “The Most Interesting Man in the World”.