Thursday, February 18, 2010


I am a creature of habit, given to extreme product loyalty.

When I like something, I love it. Eventually, I end up obsessed and dependent.

So when a favorite product is discontinued, I have a melt-down.

And when I say discontinued, I mean OVER. Not hard to find; I'm good at that. If it's hidden, I can find it. If you're hidden, I can find you...and I have. No. I mean absolutely gone - history, archives, toast, finito. The End. Zapped. Powed. Banished from the face of Planet Earth. Not available on E-bay. Not to be found through a posting on Craigslist. Not in a forgotten drawer at any store or in a buried box at a warehouse.

And certainly -- puleeze, do not insult me – not housed at Gone but not Forgotten.

Hello. I checked with them, like, two years ago.

I mean totally used-up as in what happened to the stash I scored after the first wave of the Origins Ginger Glimmer crisis was made known to me. Those 14 tubs that I located at the shop at The Westchester last Chanuka after calling every last store in the Northeastern United States once I heard that the company was discontinuing my favorite body cream????

Gone, baby, gone.

Those Mudd calf-high combat boots I bought at Kohl's three years ago and wore to freaking death?????

Well, if you want a left one only in size 9, you should be able to replace your beloved pair by bidding quickly. Only 19 minutes left. Otherwise, this fine footwear is forever lost to humanity.

I did have a recent discontinuity scare with a favorite tea of mine -- the trippy Lapsang Souchong. (There is a sweet little story concerning how I managed to identify and then locate it in NYC after drinking about 20 cups on a damp and chilly Saturday afternoon in Dublin and then departing to the States without asking the name of the phenomenal smoky drink I had been imbibing all day.) I was recently concerned that Twinings had discontinued production based on my failure to find it in the tea section of Fairway at both the Broadway and Harlem locations.

Trepidation seeping into my soul, I researched the matter and found that Twinings was thankfully still smoking its Lapsang Souchong leaves. Fairway simply stopped carrying the product, possibly because my taste is not shared by many residents of the Upper West Side.

Now, in order to avoid the anxiety-producing empty aisle syndrome, I intend to buy the stuff online.

On a far less frivolous note, I went into an actual panic a couple of months ago when it seemed that my natural thyroid medication had been discontinued; a possibility I had never before considered. After pumping my clueless doctor for clues, I took matters into my own hands and discovered an entire community trying to cope with a sudden shortage of this vital medication - the gold standard of treatment before the synthetics were invented. The experience of joining a fellowship of victims of a discontinued product was edifying. Other people -- far more frantic and radicalized than I -- had already bonded and organized, putting together an underground railroad for this excellent stuff as well as a clearinghouse for information.

Sometimes, discontinuity is a very serious matter.

But more often than not, discontinuity simply illuminates a sensual dependency that one develops for a beloved product, an addiction to a smell, a taste, a look. Oh, the time I have invested in trying to locate lost things; the hope I have nurtured that Origins may reverse their fatwa against Ginger Glimmer -- the most awesome skin product ever: gorgeously golden, spicy fragrant and sparkly -- and start up production ASAP; the pathetic hours I have spent trolling hardcore goth fashion sites looking for combat boots that might fill the void left by the demise of my Mudds, my foolish optimism that Steve Madden or Nine West or Harley Davidson or Aldo or Target or someone might steal Mudd's design and reincarnate these cheapo, cool accoutrements.

I think of myself as a serious person, given to spiritual yearnings.

So, why the stalker-like behavior to uncover a lost booty of body lotion, a crate of smoked leaf tea, those kick-ass combat boots?

Why do I care, indeed, why do I experience something akin to grief at the prospect of a perfect product being forever lost???

This is the stuff of my life, a few of my favorite things, the items that keep me anchored to the here and now. Some of them are silly; others essential. Here are the artifacts of my life, my personal expressions of self, islands of comfort and security -- a familiar smell, taste, style of shoe – the things you will know me by, portals to eternal plenty, perhaps an intimation of einsof, providing reassuring proof that I am alive.

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