Alas, My Jar of Vaseline!

Posted on July 15, 2018


By David Ettinger

Such a Dilemma!
Obviously, this post is an aberration, a blip among my collection of biblically-based writings.

But, you see, this is a topic which cuts straight to the heart. It tears at every raw emotion I possess. It is a dagger which has been violently thrust deep into the very essence of my being.

The cause of my distress has to do with the noble, venerated, and dearly beloved jar of Vaseline you see in the picture. Technically, Vaseline is a brand name; the actual product is petroleum jelly, which is prominently featured on this dear jar’s label. It’s just that “petroleum jelly” is too long a name to put in a blog headline, or any headline, for that matter.

vaselineThe issue at-hand – the cause of my bitter suffering – is that this dearest of all friends is nearing the end of his life expectancy, which he has long, long exceeded. The truth is, I purchased this jar way back in 1994, in a supermarket in Las Cruces, New Mexico, which has long closed. Why did I purchase it? Well, the combination of very dry skin and living in the desert is murder on the lips, and I needed the Vaseline … uh, petroleum jelly … to protect my fragile lips. Even following my move to humid Florida, I still leaned heavily upon “Ole Reliable” to keep my lips in optimum working condition (to the regret of my workmates).

Never a Thought
When I mentioned to my son about how long I have possessed this seeming indestructible jar of lip-salvation, he said something to the effect of: “Dad, are you crazy? Twenty-four years? This can’t be safe. Or smart.”

Medical opinions seem to concur. When I conducted an online search for “life expectancy of petroleum jelly,” most doctor estimates were “3 to 5 years, perhaps as long as 10.” I saw nothing beyond this.

Quite frankly, I never gave the matter a thought until my son barked out his disbelief to his senile dad. All I know is that the content of this hallowed jar has never changed, never aged, never failed. It remains as vital and consistent as the day I purchased it. It works like a charm, and has never disappointed me.

The End is Near!
But alas, the jar is all but empty, and I am at the point where I have to scrape its edges for about 45 seconds to amass enough petroleum jelly to cover both the upper and lower lips. The chore is getting more difficult by the day. Logic dictates I shell out three bucks and purchase a new jar, but how can I? How can I turn my back on my dear and faithful friend who has never treated me with anything but love and respect?

Oh, how torn I am! Even when the contents of his stately subsistence has been completely exhausted, do I dare chuck him in the trash compactor? Is this what his fate is to be after 2½ decades of unrivaled loyalty?

Perish the thought! No, when I have swiped his blessed innards for the final time, I will give him his own place of honor in the medicine cabinet, where he may enjoy his retirement, telling tales of the halcyon days of old, when his moistening powers were at their supreme effectiveness.

Rest well, cherished soul mate, you have earned it!

Read my followup blog here: “Vaseline Jar Dilemma Happy Ending”