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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Lies of Chap-Stick

October 14, 2009: There's no softer way to put it: It's simply not easy being me!

Sure, you could argue that with my steady brain, uncommon sense, and vaguely debonair, yet boyishly handsome looks, I'm clearly a candidate to hold the world precariously in both hands. Yet outward appearances can be misconstrued. Far be it from me to dissuade anyone's inane compulsion to compare their knotted insides to my questionable outsides, but I want it understood -- once and for all times, on the record -- that it's simply not easy driving this mortal form through the unsteady rhythms and antics of our sordid third dimension.

In particular tonight, I want to highlight my demented baseline perfectionism, which demands a completely unhealthy dissatisfaction with every thought, thing, experience and individual that ever crosses my critical path. You see, I have a zero-tolerance policy, and that's because I can't help but see the cracks in every plan, person, product or piece of plaster put before me.

Mind you, I'm not happy about it. It just is. It's probably not in everyone's best interest -- I'd doubt it could possibly be in mine, because overall I have to spend so much time being annoyed -- and yet it is so.

Now, the reason I'm mentioning any of this is because, for a long time, I've been wanting to write a very cold and critical appraisal of Chap-Stick. You see, when I was a child, it was my habit, on those cold winter mornings when I walked to school -- and no joke, it literally was a mile, and actually uphill one of the ways -- to curiously open my Chap-Stick stick all the way up, so that that little sculpted tube of flesh-colored wax would peek all the way out from the container, almost equaling it in length. (You could even take it out, wave it around, I guess, and insert it back and, gently pressing down upon it, get it again screwed into the tube.)

It was many years later, however, on some random winter day, when I haphazardly decided to once again twist out my Chap-Stick to its full length. Imagine my shock and disappointment when I discovered that, though the tube had stayed the same size, the amount of pink lip balm was nearly cut in half. I was -- I still am -- dumbfounded. (Dare I say, I find myself getting emotional simply recounting the grotesque injustice!) What had happened now?! Was there nothing reliable in modern times? Must every institution pull deceiptful tricks to try and strain more money out of the population? Did every icon fall in gruesome form from its once-reverent pedestal, only to shatter like so many fragile icicles attached to the winter memories of my poor incongruous mind?

But yet ... But yet ... the question became, why did I have to shine such a harsh light of judgment on the Chap-Stick people. Were they not merely a clueless hive of frightened people like me, worried they wouldn't meet each quarter's commitments, and straining their balmy minds to find whatever means they could to stretch each dollar, despite the consequences on the few frustrated fools like myself who had inadvertently found themselves in the know. Was it not still a grand product, with the all the best memories of winter and chapped lips attached (y'know, like the so-many icicles ... Stay with me here ...).

So it comes full circle. And I have to tell myself that Chap-Stick, like all the rest of us, is doing the best it can. I can only struggle to reel in my critical contempt, and find acceptance in the product they produce, for it still smells great and does for my lips what few other waxy substances can.

And yet ... And yet ... sometimes ... I ... just ... can't ... let ... it ... go ...

It's not easy being me! Trust me! It's not!