Chapstick emergency averted

I’m a chapstick addict.

I love Burt’s Bees above all, and keep a tin on my bedside table and in my purse. I even keep an empty tin at work that I periodically sniff. It’s retained some of that peppermint scent, and when I smell it, it makes me happy to be alive.

If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes with me in person, you’ve seen me sniff a tin of Burt’s.

It’s what I do.

My husband has learned to carry a stick of Burt’s in his pocket in case I neglect to bring my purse while we’re out and about. “I need chapstick!” I will cry desperately. Calmly (the fruit of experience), he parries disaster with a quickly proferred yellow tube, which I gratefully slather all over my lips.

My second favorite kind of chapstick is Blistex.

I’ve tried (and own) Carmex, the regular chapstick brand, and other kinds of lip balm, but the Blistex “Medicated Mint Balm” is near the top of the charts. It’s more moist than Burt’s, so it’s great for smearing on over your lipstick without removing the color. I bought this product religiously at the Walgreens on Main Street when we lived in Delaware. However, when a little over a year ago we moved to Chicago, the “Medicated Mint” was nowhere to be found. Instead, a regular mint flavor with a darker blue colored tube abounded:

These Chicagoans–they just have no taste. The flavor and texture of this second kind might as well be called “Disappointment.”

I’ve been searching for the true kind of Blistex all year long, everywhere I go, but have been encountering the impostor at every turn. Finally, my very last tube of Medicated Mint was almost gone. I’d been drawing things out and going for the ‘slow death’ option because I couldn’t stand to think that my long and satisfying acquaintance with this product was about to be over. Forever. I had dug almost all the chapstick out of the lower recesses of the tube with my pen. Things were looking desperate.

I’m not sure if you can tell, but there are blue ink marks where I used the pen to dig out the balm.

No one can accuse me of being wasteful here, no sirree. My next step was going to be melting the stuff I couldn’t get out with a candle. Having soot-smeared chaptisky lips may not have been the most attractice option for my deathly pale complexion, but I was ready to do anything.

And then, on a warm fall afternoon, I went to a drugstore to buy both of my sisters birthday cards. And there are the checkout . . . was a bin of Blistex “Medicated Mint.” I swooned. I screamed. I slapped myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I swooned again. The checkout lady said “Ma’am, are you OK? Do you need medical attention?” My voice at a hysterical pitch, I shouted “Hahaha! Medical attention! No! More like medicated mint attention!” She looked so concerned I decided to take it down a notch. “Don’t worry, I’m fine, I’m doing great, this is great,” I reassured her, and made a grab for the entire bin before the guy behind me could interecept my move and take them all (which I was sure he was about to do). My face burning with gratitude and joy, I purchased 6 tubes of that stuff. It was all I could do not to break into song on the spot, convinced that all of nature would shortly join in with me. My only regret is that I didn’t purchase twice as many. Or thrice as many.

I’m not risking another potential loss of that magnitude.



P.S. The story of the checkout is pure fabrication. In truth, I purchased my 6 tubes quite calmly, but that doesn’t make for a very interesting story, does it? Plus, it’s still a truthful account in the sense that it expresses what was going on inside. I mean, I never said this was journalism, right? What I just did probably has a fancy name in the literary criticism circles–like “interiorization.” Or “allegorical account of the inner eye.” Or “the liminality of individual experience.” Very smart stuff. Right. Signing out. Have a great weekend, people.

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25 Responses to Chapstick emergency averted

  1. My daughter is the same way about chapsticks! Y’all should form a CAA (Chapsticks Addiction Anonymous): charter members, Anna & Jenna…..

  2. Circe says:

    that’s awesome, congrats on a great find.

  3. Veronica says:

    This was a great read!! You are just too, too funny. I have a chapstick/lip gloss obsession but the thing with me is they never get used!! I use them maybe once a day but have a huge collection and keep buying more so I feel I will never get through it. BTW, I love Blistex medicated mint too but my Burt’s Bees is in stick form. I wonder if it’s the same? It’s very nice and tingly-pepperminty.

  4. brightbakes says:

    I like your writing style!! :)
    cathy b. @ brightbakes

  5. Angie says:

    I agree with you – love Burt’s and then it is MINT Blistex! Great blog too – I feel as though we would have a lot in common! ;)

  6. Wendi says:

    Jenna, I had to break up with Burt after a very long relationship. The balm got too heavy for my lips : ( I am currently devoted to the Blistex Medicated and have to buy it in bulk when I can find it.

    PS – your reference to Main Street in Delaware, would that have been Newark by any chance?

    • Jenna says:

      Yes! It is Newark indeed. Have you been there?

      • Wendi says:

        I am very well acquainted with Newark. I used to live just over the MD line in Cecil County for a while and I went to the University for my freshman year. What a small world.

      • Jenna says:

        Wow! My husband and I lived in Newark for 3 years while he was getting his Masters and teaching certificate at UD. We lived on Main Street, about a 15 minute walk from campus, and I worked on Main St. as well. You could say that Main Street was our life for the entire 3 years. Small world indeed!! I miss the Halloween parade they used to have right around this time.

  7. Twinky Satterthwaite says:

    Do you also plan a blog posting about your affinity for the smell of Lestoil?? :+)

  8. I need chapstick all year long….have you tried Vaseline pocket sized one? Pretty good too. I am now using argan oil chapstick…

  9. Joanne says:

    Haha I love you exaggerated your checkout experience. Not that i ever exaggerate on my blog. Ever. Ever ever.

    You sound like you’ve trained your husband well. Good thinking. :P

  10. Sarah says:

    hahaha i’m that way about chapstick, but i like different kinds so i just need one and i’m good. i have many that i rotate. however, i had a similar traumatic experience in college when my favorite flavor (vanilla sugar) from bath & body works was discontinued! i still have my last tube in the pocket of my fleece and i use it occasionally. i’m trying to make it last forever but i think it’s almost gone and i am so sad.

  11. Jen says:

    I heart Blistex. I hardly know what to do with myself when I’m out and about and I can’t locate the single tube of Blistex: Medicated lip balm in my cavernous purse. I’ve never tried this “Medicated Min Balm” of which you speak, but I’m intrigued.

  12. Reeni says:

    You have me totally wanting some of this! I am SO buying some now!

  13. cca says:

    haha, you are too cute! my fav burts bees is Pomegranate Lip Balm… if you see it at a walgreens or cvs, try it!

  14. I”m the same way! I’ve totally dug it out with a pen! How gross! I panic if I don’t have one on me! How weird of us! :-)

    • Jenna says:

      So good to know that I’m not alone on this–there are fellow ‘chapstick-pen-digger-outters’! Hooray!

      • Layla says:

        I’ve never panicked if I don’t have chaptick on me; but I know what it feels like because I admit I panic if I don’t have my Klean Kanteen on me (my stainless steel water bottle). That thing has been attached to my hip since I got it in mid 2008.
        And of course, I’m sure we ALL panic if we don’t have our cell phones with us!

  15. um… Mind if I come over? I’m scraping the inside edges of my Burt’s tin RIGHT NOW!! NEED MORE!!!

  16. Megan says: are so funny. I would take chapped lips over rubbing inky chapstick on my lips any day.

    I saw Lestoil in the store a couple days ago. I thought of you smelling it and telling us all how much you guys like it when we were moving your furniture in your apartment on you last day here. I think I might’ve even laughed out loud in the aisle!

  17. I totally understand the chapstick obsession. I was a Blistex girl forever, then my (not quite at the time) Hubby introduced me to carmex. So I’ve been mint carmex girl for years. But I just tried Palmer’s Cocoa-mint, and it’s so lovely, it feels almost naughty. I feel like I’m cheating on my carmex.

  18. Nan says:

    I love lipbalm made by nuns; I used to be a Carmex addict and for years enabled a friend who lived in CA, where they only had the little pots, not the squeeze tube. I was very excited when they began making the sticks and used to buy them three at a time each time they were on sale at Walgreens. While I still have various other lipbalms, just because I had a huge stash, I have now begun to use nun-created lipbalm and love it.

  19. Layla says:

    I have to tell you this cute story since it stemmed from this entry.
    I went to the store to try some new Blistex types, so I bought the Medicated Berry, I love berries, and I love that “medicated” feel/smell, so I thought it would be my new favorite, but I ended up really not liking the smell at all.
    So on a whim I wrote to the company my complaint (but was polite of course, in the letter), and asked if I could be sent some coupons or something to make up for it, so I could another kind. They actually mailed me a 4 pack of the different fruit smoothies line, and one Raspberry Lemonade blast. Isn’t that cool?!
    Of course my brothers got my mail before me, opened it and each took one one, LOL, I didn’t know men cared so much about chapstick, not to mention fruity flavored chapstick, they are so funny.

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