Lip Balm is NOT a “drug”!

lipsI’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”.




I Wish I Could Have Told Him…

nablo13daysixI haven’t slept well the past couple of days. I woke up this morning at the crack of dawn, something I’m not normally in the habit of doing. I tried to turn back over and catch a few more minutes of sleep, to no avail. My mind was racing. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed this week. And a bit anxious. When I feel like this, I don’t sleep well. As a result of not sleeping, I feel tired. And more overwhelmed. And more anxious. It’s a viscous cycle.

I hadn’t slept but a wink on Monday night because some depressed and drug-addled young man decided that he would shoot up the local mall. No one knew where he was or what he was up to. I live three blocks away and my house backs up to what little woods are left in this part of the world. I couldn’t help but think they would make a great place to hide out. So, yeah, there was that.

As it turns out, this kid had decided that “suicide by cop” would be the best way to end his life. That didn’t work out for him, so he found a storage area somewhere inside the mall and did it himself. Poor thing.

Yes, I said “poor thing”. Yes, I sympathize with him. I also give him a great deal of credit. Scary as the whole scene was, it could have been far, far worse. That he had the presence of mind and the restraint to NOT shoot anyone else? That’s amazing and, I think on some level, must say something about the kind of person he was before the drugs took hold of him.

I haven’t read much about him. I know he was twenty years old, though. Twenty years old. To think that your life will never get better at twenty? That makes me profoundly sad.

I wish that I could have spoken to him. I would have liked to have told him that the other side of addiction, while certainly not a bed of roses, holds the promise of a better life. I would have told him that there are many success stories in recovery. I would have looked him straight in the eye and assured him that he could be one of them. I wouldn’t have told him how difficult it would be, only how possible it was. I would have encouraged him to try, to be hopeful.

I wish I could have told him that.

photo credit: drugs

The Pub Crawl at the Mall

drinkingshoppingThere was a time when malls were for shopping. These days they are veritable entertainment complexes. Drinking establishments are around every corner. The mall is a great place to be an alcoholic. Those of you with a drinking problem can take full advantage of this by participating in a little activity I used to engage in, back in my drinking days— “The Pub Crawl at the Mall!”

Here’s how to play:

Reward yourself with a drink, or several, following a successful purchase. Start small. Buy a box of cards that you have every intention of sending out (but that you never will). Earn a glass of buttery Chardonnay. Chilled.

Knocked the Christmas pajamas off the list? Time for a martini! If you’re feeling particularly festive, opt for the green apple martini. Request a cherry garnish. Red and green! Fa! La! La! La! La! La! La! La! La!

Two gifts and two drinks down— and it’s not even noon! Plenty of time to do more damage to the pocketbook and the liver!

Now that you have a slight buzz on, hit one of the finer department stores. Surely someone on your list (or everyone) can use some nice earmuffs. Buy a half-a-dozen. Throw in a couple of scarves for the ladies and several body wash sets for the guys. You’re on a roll now! Get yourself some lunch. A few chicken wings and a couple of beers should do the trick. Find the place with the Christmas Ale on tap.

Woozy, yet fortified, make your way to the big electronics store. It’s only a little walk through the parking lot. And it’s right next to the place that offers $1 margaritas and free chips and salsa after 3:00. Timing is everything! Kill some time browsing and asking questions of the staff about things you have no intention of buying. Take a crack at making the right decision regarding DVDs. (Remember, last year you bought two copies of “A Christmas Story”— don’t make that mistake again!) Listen intently as the clerk describes the slight, but critical differences, in the latest entries to the “point and shoot” digital camera marketplace. Let him sell you the most expensive one, because it’s 3:05 and, let’s face it, there are a few margaritas calling your name. Never mind that your husband has no interest in photography.

There’s nothing quite like the late afternoon tequila high. It is, however, short-lived. And the only way to recover is a nap. From experience I will caution you about having a brief lie-down near the fountain. There is a very real possibility that you will be pelted with coins and/or picked up for public drunkenness. To avoid the potential for embarrassment (not to mention the attendant legal fees), for the love of God, spend the $12 on a movie ticket and sleep in the darkened theater. Choose wisely, though, don’t go for the blockbuster or the cartoon, select the boring indie title (if there’s a foreign film playing— even better). There’s a good chance you’ll be the only one in that theater, making the cocktail-induced snoring and drooling a non-issue. Also, and I cannot stress this enough, you will need the $15 jumbo bucket of popcorn to soak up the $5 worth of crappy tequila. Don’t cheap out.

This combination of carbs and rest should give you a second wind. Don’t waste it on more shopping. Unless, of course, it’s a brief foray to one of the kiosks where “As Seen on TV” products or calendars are sold. That’s fine. Take ten minutes to grab a pasta pot that’s also a strainer (!) or “The Audobon Official Bird Watcher’s Calendar”. You’ll undoubtedly be able to unload these items on some unsuspecting loved one.

You could rest on your laurels and go home now, but if you want to finish the game (and what self-respecting alcoholic wouldn’t want to do that?), you must cap off your adventure with at least one coffee drink. For added points, ease into this portion of the evening. Nothing says the holidays like a smooth, smoky 12-year-old Scotch! Bartenders just love customers who order $30 drinks! (Remember to tip accordingly!)

Don’t worry about the killer hangover that will be incurred by your fun-filled day of drinking. Starting your day as you finished your night is always an option. Throw a little Bailey’s in your morning coffee. It’s a real eye-opener. Enjoy this tried and true hangover cure while you guiltily fish through your, mostly useless and ridiculous, drunk purchases. Oh, and have a second shot ready for when you tally up the receipts. You’ll really need the “hair of the dog” then. Because “The Pub Crawl at the Mall!”? It never comes cheap.

photocredit: drinking and shopping