I need to drink more water
Good evening, Pillow Town. I hope you had a restful weekend and a bountiful harvest. I come to you tonight with an extended metaphor. I first learned about extended metaphors in middle school English class. My teacher was an old lady named Celia and her toes curled out past the edge of her sandals. One of the reasons I think I might be a good writer someday is I am very good at recalling very specific details, and I pay close attention to people. One reason I might be bad is that I used “very” twice in that last sentence.
It is March 7th, 2021 A.D. and I hereby claim that there is no such thing as a good chapstick. I think over the course of my 23 years on earth I’ve tried hundreds of different types, and none of them seem to work. Long term. I’ve tried Burt’s Bees, Chapstick brand, fancy stuff I tried when my mom got samples of it in her Sephora purchase, vaseline, Aquaphor, olive oil, Vicks Vapo-rub (this one was an accident) and even Glossier. I think that all chapsticks are just temporary relief for deeper problems. Chapped lips don’t come out of nowhere. It takes months of winter weather, dehydration, sun damage, whatever it is. All that chapstick can do is make your lips look and feel moisturized, but that’s just cosmetic.
Often in life we look for chapstick solutions. Like band aids. We use spackle to patch over the leaks without going into the ceiling to fix the broken pipe. Did you know that one of the most common ingredients in chapstick is alcohol?? Alcohol over time is a drying agent. So yeah, while you may feel moisturized by your lip smackers cherry flavor in the moment, over time this product is actually drying out the very skin it promised to save. Even Burt himself needs you to keep buying his product. If a few swipes of chapstick solved your chapped lips, there wouldn’t be a market for it. You can blame your chapped lips on capitalism but that’s another Pillow Town for another time.
I haven’t made the time to properly take care of myself lately, and so I’ve been chapsticking. The other week I put off going to the store to buy vegetables so I ordered pad thai and added broccoli. When I put off doing laundry I start to get into the bottom of my sweatshirt drawer. There I have one from my elementary school and one from my grandma’s nursing home. Wearing these last resort pieces of clothing is a temporary solution to the fact that I need to go to the laundromat. And maybe Buffalo Exchange.
We also chapstick in our relationships. With friends, family, coworkers, romantic partners, we often duct tape the bumper on our metaphorical car so we can drive to work the next day. Usually, we can drive the car for a while. But eventually that duct tape will give because it’s meant to hold poster board together, not car parts. Speaking from personal experience, sometimes that duct tape will break when you’re going 85mph on the New Jersey turnpike and you’ll find yourself in, what my people call, a half sour pickle. Issues and potential arguments get swept under the rug because we don’t take the time to unpack them and process through them. We think we’re fine, and we say we’re fine, but fine only lasts so long. You can leave the room of your lover every time you need to pass gas but that is a short-term fix. Sometimes farts come out of nowhere and then what, you break up? If you want this relationship to last, you need to have a long term plan for your digestive system to carry out its normal functions. Farting in the hallway is a chapstick solution.
All I’m saying is, you have to go deeper. You have to go to the grocery store and buy a week’s worth of vegetables instead of panic adding broccoli to your noodle dish. You have to sit down for an hour with someone and talk about what’s bothering you, because you can’t spackle a friendship. Also, apparently you can’t spackle a wall in your East Williamsburg apartment because one full year after you move out your ex-landlord will tell you he actually doesn’t owe you the full security deposit back because spackling counts as damage.
I’m getting word from my producers that we need to wrap this up, so I want to leave you with this- if you do have a chapstick brand that you swear by and you actually think it works long term, please let me know. When I crowdsourced nonstick pans I had very helpful responses and now my scrambled eggs just slide right out. That felt disgusting to write down. So I’ll be looking for your suggestions but in the meantime I’ll be drinking more water and taking care of myself, instead of glossing over the problem. I’m going to try to solve problems from their root, like a dentist. The world is a mouth, people are the teeth, and I am god who designed it all. Thank you for coming to my metaphor.