In Sympathy With Candle Sniffers


When I was a kid, like eleven, I used to get those tubes of lip balm that smelled so strongly of lime or strawberry or pina colada and keep them in my desk in my room and basically huff them when I was supposed to be doing my homework. God, they smelled so good!

The higher-end ones even managed to inject a bit of actual, tastable flavor into whatever was their chemical composition. I ate far more of them than I ever should have. It makes me feel a little queazy to remember it now, gnawing away at a stick of what was basically lime or strawberry or suntan lotion-scented wax. That’s just what it tasted like, and just what it felt like in my stomach, too, after a long night of not learning how to divide. Still, the next night, I’d be back at it, twisting off the little plastic cap, inhaling deeply for a few minutes and then tucking in—somehow believing that this time the taste might live up to the bouquet. It never did. They were only made to please one sense. Lip balm is not food.

So my heart goes out to these kids who make YouTube “haul” videos of themselves reviewing the delicious-smelling products they buy at places like Yankee Candle and Body Works. Because I know they eat them when the camera’s off.