Lip Balm

The back pocket on a pair of jeans.

Image via Wikipedia

What’s in your pockets?

I’ve talked to people who have never used lip balm in their entire lives. What strange lives they must lead.

When I was a young boy watching my dad empty his pockets to undress for bed at night, his pockets always contained coins, a small pocket knife, and Chap Stick.

When I, as an adult, leave the house, I never leave without my wallet, cell phone, and Chap Stick. I don’t need the cell phone, but carry it for convenience. I do need my wallet since it holds my driver’s license and other necessities. But do I need the lip balm?

I’ve carried Chap Stick since my earliest days. It was in my pocket when I got on the bus to go to grade school, middle school, and high school, when I drove myself to college and my first job interview. Lip balm is an indispensable part of my everyday existence. It’s always been with me.

I wonder what life would be like without it. If I threw it out the window while driving along the highway, how long before I started to lick my lips in a pavlovian response, worsening the problem, but unable to avoid doing so? How long before I succumbed to the urge to stop at the first convenience store I come to and replace it?

Think about things you carry around. How many of your habitual daily routines are a necessary part of your existence, and how many are just habitual routines you do because you’ve always done them?

One of these days while driving down the highway I’ll chuck my lip balm out the window and find out once and for all what life’s like without it. What strange life will I lead then?

Leave a comment


  1. This post made me smile. A life without lip balm 😀 I threw mine out of the window long ago, it’s just a stupid addiction I believe, I think our lips can care for themselves just fine (ok, there are extreme moments in life including salt water, wind and sun where those little things can save your life)… Anyway, it’s a nice metaphor for how simple life could be if we just let go of certain things…

    • Ah, but the habit’s so hard to break… So many other things I want to focus attention on. It seems like such a minor thing and yet… It’s not. Soon though… Thanks for commenting!

  2. True that we could let go of things like lip balm. How complicated is it to carry it though? There are silly things like that we find becoming sentimental. I find myself thinking back to the days that my Mother was still here. No matter how bad the day she always had her lipstick on. Now I think of her every time I put mine on and though I lead a simple life these days, it is something that I keep because it brings back memories that I would never chuck out the window.

    • You hit the nail on the head. I associate the lip balm with memories of my dad. If I chuck the lip balm out the window…

      I think I’ll just hang on to it for a while. Thank you Miri.


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