My father used to have this trick egg.
It seems like such a dad thing to do, and my father doesn’t do a lot of those dad things, like have elbow patches or put memes up about how he’s going to murder all my dates.
Those always seem creepy to me. Same as the shrill “Open Letter to the Future Bitches Who’ll Have the Nerve to Want a Healthy Adult Relationship with My Son” essays women pass around on Freudbook or wherever.
Anyway, the trick egg. It was plastic, and it stood on end. It balanced. And on the first day of spring or fall, he’d always find some yahoo to dupe. “On the very first day of [insert season here], the earth is such that eggs balance. It’s true.” He’d sound so convincing.
“Hang on. Let me get an egg out of the fridge.”
I would not wish for you to know that I was among the first people duped by this. I was 24.
And, AND, I helped him sneak the trick egg into my poor grandparents’ fridge so we could fool them. I deserve everything that happens to me.
The point is, every first day of spring or first day of fall, not only do I have to get annoyed by Facebook updates that capitalize the season (It’s Spring! I love Fall!) (Well, you’ve ruined the season for me, USELESS CAPPER), I also find myself wondering if I have that trick egg.
I never HAD the trick egg, except for that brief afternoon in 1989, when I had it in the pocket of my black cable-knit Gap cardigan, on its way to my unsuspecting grandparents’ egg tray. Back when fridges had egg trays. And the Gap had cable-knit.
But somehow, the idea of the egg stuck with me. I thought of it again today, on the first day of spring.
(I also fell for what my father told me about those dolphins people hang from their rearview mirrors. “Are those dolphins just for looks, or are they air fresheners?” I wondered one day when we were driving around LA. “They’re a compass. They always twist around to point to the ocean,” he told me.
I was 35.)
There are some things in life that I keep wishing I had, things I didn’t usually have for very long. Barry Gibb once said in an interview that any time he passes a barbershop, he sort of wistfully wonders if they have Brylcreem. He KNOWS they actually don’t, and yet he wonders about it.
That’s how I feel about the egg, and also about this…
I owned two bottles of this. I’ve no idea why, other than of course I was seeking the liquid way to blush all day. Did someone give me both bottles? Was I on a shopping binge at 13? Because that’s how old I was when I owned this “cheek color.” Because it was gleamy. Never greasy. I looked just-blushed fresh.
I had a pink shade, and also a weird ginger, and I wore the weird ginger whenever I had on something brown. Which was often, because 1978. Am certain, in retrospect, that it did not flatter.
It’s safe to say I’ve owned a hundred blushes–sorry, CHEEK COLORS–since then, and I don’t even know that I LIKED this one that much, and yet it’s stuck with me. As has…
Aw, man. If I just had a little Bonne Bell “blushing gel,” just a pinch between m’cheek and gums, I’d be all set, man. That’s me: Subtile et durable.
I think my problem stems from my magazine habit in the late ’70s. I’d walk home from junior high (someone in the break room at work the other day didn’t know what “junior high” meant) in what I recall as always, always being the dead of winter (it was Michigan. There’s a 9 out of 12 chance it WAS winter), and there in the mailbox would be one of the many excellent magazines my grandmother had hooked me up with.
The very-originally named competition, ‘Teen.
Do you know what I was doing when I holed up in our apartment reading Teen after school? I was getting more out of life.
I further received Young Miss. Grammy musta been blowin’ her pension on magazines for me, and was I ever grateful? No.
She really was born to act. And she knew the right way to blow hyphen dry her hair. I saw Kristy McNichol once, at a Marie Callendars in the Valley. She looked pretty much like that. She was 42.
My grandmother even got me the hard stuff:
Aw, man, I wouldn’t even wait to thaw. I’d throw my puffy 1978 winter coat down, grab me some peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, and commence to reading every page of these magazines after school. Which explains your stellar math skills to this day, “Homework, Schmomework” gal. And I’m certain I read the stupid articles (Who could put down “How to have a great bottom”?), but what really got to me were the ads.
And lemme tell you something: The person who wrote those Bonne Bell ads knew witchcraft or something, because there wasn’t a straight girl alive in 1979 who wouldn’t sell BOTH ARMS to get her some Bonne Bell action. I’ll put that shit on with m’toes. Give me that Bonne Bell.
That copywriter knew how to bore into the soul of a teenager. It’s impressive work, really.
I remember wanting this the way I want a snow leopard now. It was going to be a party! For my LIPS! Do you even underSTAND how wonderful that was going to BE?
Eventually, I babysat enough horrific children that I had the two-fifty needed to purchase this necessary object. I can still taste it. It was a total party for my lips. Bianca Jagger rode a horse right across my lips.
THAT’S how big of a party it was.
Asked for it for my 13th birthday. GOT IT. Because it was important I get a super-dark tan in a hurry. I had places to go. Like the marshmallow fluff store. And the melanoma doctor.
I came into some money, like seven dollars or something, and walked all the way down to the GOOD drugstore on Court Street, there, next to Roy’s Steakhouse (The three people who read me in my hometown are all, yeah. Hell, yeah.) to get me some Ten-O-Six lotion. It was brown alcohol in a bottle. But those demons at Bonne Bell brainwashed me. My brain was washed in 70s-brown alcohol.
Oh, I’d dearly love to sniff a bottle of Ten-O-Six. I’ll bet it smells like 1978.
I had all of them. Many, many children across Saginaw, Michigan were ignored, at a dollar an hour, in order to support my Bonne Bell habit.
And I know they make ’em now. But some asshole bought the company, and Dear Asshole Who Bought Bonne Bell:
You don’t fool us. Those lip smackers you sell at Target got NOTHING on the excellent flavors the real lip smackers used to have. Yours taste of plastic and ambition. Fuck you, buyers of Bonne Bell. You messed with our memories.
I don’t even LIKE Good and Plenty, and yet I still bought Good and Plenty. My best friend Beth had Bit-o-Honey, and I coveted.
So, I guess what I’m saying is, Bonne Bell is my trick egg. Bonne Bell is my Brylcreem. Hey, there are worse things. At least my lips weren’t hungry for flavor.
Bonne Bell Butler