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10/22/21 | 40/52

Yesterday was the first time this season when I could see my breathe. It's only going to get colder. I'm mostly ready for it. I still need to breakout my jackets and gloves. I need to find my knit hats to pull over my ears. Fingers crossed we have a mild winter. I realize there will still be some temperature swings so I plan to make the most of those fleeting sunny, warm, beautiful days.

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Chapstick, an obsessive love affair

Last Friday night I found myself in a tough spot. I was doing my second load of laundry and when I pulled out my clothes to transfer them to the dryer I heard my tube of lip balm fall to the bottom with a loud clang. I discovered that I had ruined my precious Chapstick.

I am a life long Chapstick enthusiast. Growing up I kept a supply with me during the fall and winter months when the grey winds make your lips crack. I've tried most of the major brands. I went through a short Blistex phase before turning my allegiance to Carmex. I heard all the urban legends about Carmex being addictive and containing glass and actually making your lips more chapped. That didn't deter me. What made me swear if off is taking a slam and finding a perfect Carmex container bruise on my thigh. That metal container hurt! Occasionally I try new products. I sampled a tube of Burt's Bees because I thought it was more natural. Unfortunately I didn't read the tube thoroughly and missed the part the mentioned the added color so for a while I was adding a little reddening accent every time I applied it. I'm pretty sure somebody pointed it out to me by asking, "hey do you got lipstick on?" I've also tried a variety of flavors and one particularly inviting berry blend led a co-worker to proclaim he was going to kiss me when I put it on. I'm sure I'll try some new flavors and brands when I see them but my go to is plain Chapstick. No fuss, no bells and whistles, just straighforward lip protection.

In 1994 I drove a minivan to Wyoming without a license to attend that year's Rainbow Gathering. I was young and idealistic and it was an amazing, inspiring, mind blowing time. It helped that I was young and idealistic and much more relaxed about sleeping outside and hugging strangers and eating whatever was available and just experiencing life as it happened. I'm sure you can find negative stories about Gatherings and I probably wouldn't do as well today with the camping and communal living now but I'm so glad to have had that experience. It's also where my Chapstick OCD started. While I was there under the open sky and brilliant sun, I got terrible chapped lips and I didn't have anything for them and they just kept getting worse. Trying to soothe the brittle skin with my lips and tongue only caused the dryness to spread and by the time I made it back to Chicago I had a clown mouth of cracked peeling skin. After that I was never without some kind of lip balm. It's always in my front right pocket and I periodically tap my leg to feel that it's there.

Upon discovering my terrible laundering mistake last Friday I headed out of the basement and found my wife, "I’ve got a really unusual important question. Do you have any chapstick?" Then I sat down and started drawing and looked up to see her with two choices, Nivea or Dell Intel and I couldn’t stop laughing. I laughed so hard I couldn't catch my breath. Why did she have that? Where did it come from? Who convinced Dell and Intel to collaboratively release a lip balm? Someone had to pitch this in a conference room, “Your lips are dry, brittle, so you soothe your sorrows with some Chapsticks and BAM (snaps fingers) you decide to outfit the new office with some top of the line Dell Inspriratronic 680s. Of course they are humming along at the speed of business with new Intel g39 processors” Who am i kidding? Somebody at Dells uncle or father-in-law has a swag manufacturing operation that makes branded pens, hats and USB drives. "New this year: Your brand on a tube of Chapstick". Of course I went with the Dell option.

My first stop Saturday morning was a corner store where I made the clerk fish thru the bowl until he pulled out the black labeled "Original" Chapstick. I cracked the seal, applied a layer, then put in my pocket before jumping back on my bike, breathing a little easier knowing that everything was where it should be.

Friend of the Week

This week's friend is more a category of friends and that's all the animals I love on the internet. My first memory of awesome internet animals is ICANHAZCHEEZBURGR. Back then you'd have to click and load a whole new page just to see the next cat meme. I fondly remember one photo that featured cats wearing babushkas. Also pretty early on I remember photos, possibly from Japan, of cats wearing helments made from fruit skins. Later on came internet celebrity cats like Grumpy Cat and Lil' Bub (RIP to both of them). My current favorites are two dogs who wear crocheted hats and taste test things. Long live unusual animals and the people who love them!

If you would like your best friend, handiest tool or dearest animal associate to be featured email me 3 pictures of them and I will do my best to try and capture their essence.

If you ever miss an email or you see that it's Friday and no email has been delivered, you can always check out the archive link on the Serial Dispatch instagram. If you know anyone who might enjoy this weekly special delivery send them in that direction so they can see if they'd like to join the list. Let's make it happen.


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