I bought a tin of Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment in December of 2009. How do I remember that? Well, 2009 was the year that I got my last formal jobby-job. My last salaried 9-5 M-F regular-person job. It was terrible but not without its perks: free coffee, internet access, and of course, health insurance. Health insurance as a perk of selling your soul to a horrible job?! Yes, kids, there was a time before Obamacare where you had to have a formal jobby-job to be able to get medical care. But I digress.
The end of 2009 came and I had left over FSA dollars. Such a stupid use-it-or-lose-it system that makes you spend $200 on “approved” drug store supplies in December. Tampons? No. Condoms? Yes. Sleep aids? No. Viagra? Yes. You get the idea. But anyway, when looking for ways to spend $200 on things I might actually use, I saw that Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment was for some reason approved. I bought a tin with pre-tax dollars.
It got good reviews and people said it was amazing and that the tin lasted a really long time. It didn’t really work to heal my skin of all its ails, but I decided since it smelled lavendery, I would keep it by my bedside and use it as a nightly lip balm. By now, I have a Pavlovian response and it just smells like bedtime.
2009 was seven years ago. My tin lasted through three boyfriends and a (very-secret) number of I-still-got-it flings. It’s been to Japan and Korea. It’s lived in two apartments. It came with me on my first real comedy tour. It’s seen one horrific and one not-as-bad-but-still-a-huge-bummer break up. It’s seen me too drunk to use it. It’s seen me use it twice when I get up and eat something after not being able to sleep. It saw Osama bin Laden die. It saw marriage equality become the law of the land. It lasted through eight versions of iPhones. It saw the death of its creator, Burt Shavitz.
And now, after seven years of daily use, it’s done. Empty. When I finally admitted it was empty, I thought about my options. Should I try another product? Do I want to look at that weird woodcut of Burt in a hat every night before bed for another seven years? Will a new tin be the same? The answers were these: No, yes, no.
I am a creature of habit. I bought another tin. It looks the same from the outside and it smells the same but the ingredients are different and it doesn’t feel the same on my lips. Notably, the ingredients list is longer and beeswax is no longer the first ingredient. I have to apply a little more before it feels like it’s there at all.
Where will I be with this tin runs out? What might the next seven years have in store for me? Will this tin come with me to the Emmy’s? Will I be buried with it? Will it be used to heal the paper cuts I get from rolling around in my money? Hopefully: Yes, no, yes.