Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


While browsing in the local Michael’s earlier today, I saw a few things that reminded me of my childhood.

There was a display of Testors paint, those tiny-ass bottles of enamel you would use to paint plastic models. I used to love that stuff... painstakingly applying colors to my various creations with a tiny sable-tipped brush. My sense-memory includes the solventy aroma, one that was peculiar to those enamels. In those simpler, more innocent times, it never would have occurred to us that we could have gotten a nice buzz (destroying our livers in the process) by huffing that stuff.

Now, if you buy model paint or cement, your name probably goes on a Federal registry somewhere. The days when you could purchase or use a toluene-based adhesive - anyone remember Duco cement? - are long gone.

Near the cash register, I spied a pile of Nik-L-Nips, little packages containing five miniature wax bottles modeled vaguely after the old-school Coke bottle, each containing a few drops of painfully sweet colored fluid... what soda pop looks like, no doubt, in Dwarf Bizarro World.

Nik-L-Nips, a favorite tooth-rotting confection from my childhood.

In my Snot-Nose Days, I would buy a pack of Nik-L-Nips for the going rate of five cents, US - a nickel! - then, one by one, bite off the necks of those tiny waxen flasks and suck down the precious nectar within. That left five empty bottles to be chewed, gum-like, until I’d get sick of the bland, totally nondescript petroleum wax taste.

These bad boys go for $1.29 nowadays, a price that reflects a compounded annual rate of inflation of about 6.7 percent. That’s actually not too bad... but somehow, “Buck-Twenty-Nine-L-Nips” doesn’t carry the same alliterative cachet.

If I want to relive my childhood, I think I’ll go get a couple of bottles of Testors enamel and paint something tiny. Those Nik-L-Nips? You can keep ’em.

1 comment:

Kevin Kim said...

...but somehow, “Buck-Twenty-Nine-L-Nips” doesn’t carry the same alliterative cachet.

True enough, but such a label would evoke the chewed-up nipples of cheap hos, upon which the lame and desperate might slurp. A sleazy cachet, if you will. The waxy little Coke bottles could be remodeled to match this nippular image.