I’ve recently mentioned that our home is heated by a wood-burning stove. That stove is currently a-cracklin’, and perched upon it is one of those steamers–the kind your fill with water to help humidify your bone-dry, ashy house. Our’s was a gift from my mom, and its lid is shaped like a grizzly bear. When I fill it I say I am feeding the bear.
Usually I add some essential oils to the water, because that’s how I roll. Bears live in the woods, and so do we, so pine and fir and cedar are my standbys. It’s all woodsy-forest up in here. But this morning, for reasons unknown, I grabbed the clove oil. Which, incidentally, is good not only for flavoring the ham I do not eat and mulling wine, but also for relieving toothaches.
First, let me say, a little dab will do you. Now for the last few hours I can barely focus on anything because it feels like my brain is no longer in my skull. My brain is actually sitting cross-legged on the white-carpeted floor of my teenage bedroom, chewing Clove gum, and flipping through Rolling Stone magazine. Seriously, it’s weird, and I can’t shake the feeling. If I get too close the stove I start salivating, and rolling imaginary spiced gum around my mouth.You remember this gum, right? All old-timey, made by the Cadbury Adams company for over 100 years, and brought back in the mid-1980s for old folks and pre-hipsters to enjoy. I was all about it. I chewed it all the time when I wasn’t guzzling grapefruit juice. Clove, and its blue-coated cousin, Black Jack.
Although I now love and crave the flavor of black licorice, I can’t say with much conviction that I ever actually enjoyed chewing the pasty-colored, anise-flavored Black Jack. And yet I kept trying.
Why? Because that is what alternative DJ hottie Christian Slater chewed alone in the stairwell in the classic 1990 Stick-It-To-the-Man film, Pump Up the Volume… and boy did I have a thing for Mr. Slater. Along with most my friends. Annie even had a life-size cardboard cut out that I coveted. Even if it was from the less-than-mediocre Kuffs. I mean, really. I even hated actresses Samantha Mathis and Milla Jovovich for a time because they got to (respectively) slow-sway topless around a fire, and dance around an apartment in their undies with him.
To this day I’m not sure if I kept trying Black Jack because I so related to his character’s loner-misfit vibe, or because I just wanted to know that Christian Slater’s mouth tasted like. Today I’m happy to stay five states away from that man’s mouth (oh! how the mighty have fallen!), but still, this clove-scented air is scrambling my synapses. Time to put on The Pixies and dig up a big flannel.