Monday, August 01, 2005

Listerine brand denture adhesive

I have a confession. Like many, I suffer from addiction to Listerine Strips PocketPaks.

I have built up a telerance for the Cool Mint variety, so that I often need two at a time to get the rush that only one used to provide. I keep stashes of them hidden around my office and home. I keep at least one Pak in my Pocket at all times. The times that I pull out a Pak, only to find no Strips inside result in a feeling of profound panic. I need one after every meal, just to feel fresh. It's sort of like a smoking addiction, but without the cancer risk, overwhelming stench, and social alienation that come along with that particular affliction.

I live in Atlanta, an area of the south known for the saying "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." We've been living through a summer of nearly 200% humidity every day - and that's in the morning before the thunderstorms get really cooking. We were more than 11 inches over the normal rainfall for the month of July this year, and July in Atlanta can feel like the Amazon rainforst on a good year. Why is this relevant, you ask? Well, Listerine Strips do not take well to moist, hot environments (other than one's mouth, one would assume).

I opened a brand new Pak this morning because my last Pak had run out an an inopportune time (7:28pm) the previous day. I stuck the new Pak into my Pocket, ready for use whenever the urge struck. For lunch, I went to a nearby Mexican restaurant known primarily for the amount of onion they put into everything. (Seriously - they give everyone free pico de gallo soup as a starter. It's basically raw onions and cilantro in water.) As you may well imagine, the need for a Strip was overwhelming by the end of the meal. That's when the disaster struck.

My Pak was no longer a set of independent Strips, but instead had become a Listerine PocketBrik. The heat and moist air had welded all of the Strips into a single, deep green brick of Cool Minty goodness. There were remnants of the individual strips in feathers along the edges, but no amount of fingernail coaxing could manage to pull them apart.

A sane person would probably have thrown this unnatural monstrosity in the closest rubbish bin. However, addiction makes people do strange things. Of course, I stuck the entire PocketBrick into my mouth, gleefully anticipating the overwhelming shock to my system that would surely result from the simultaneous ingestion of 24 Strips. (Merely three simultaneous strips have been known to render lab mice and some University of Georgia undergraduates unconscious - although it was a bit hard to tell with the UGA students.)

To my surprise, the forces which had welded the PocketStrips into a PocketBrik also removed nearly all of the Cool Minty flavor and replaced it with a sticky substance best described as "green goop" - which promptly stuck firmly to the roof of my mouth. For several minutes, I attempted to dissolve it with patience and time. Failing that, I lost patience and attempted to pry it off with my tongue. Finally, I was forced to physically remove it from the roof of my mouth with my fingers - to the disgust of other patrons of the local restroom. (It's never entertaining to see someone one sink over removing a large green mass from their mouth, no matter what you might have heard.)

I have recovered, although I am going through some withdrawl symptoms, having lost an entire day's supply in one shot. I find myself sucking on the roof of my mouth, trying to convince myself that maybe it wasn't so bad. Maybe next time I should stick it out longer. Surely the best stuff was just further into the middle - like in a Tootsie Pop.

The point here is that I think Listerine is missing a major market segment - PocketDentureAdhesive. It's portable, it leaves your mouth fresh and tasty all day long, and it's nearly impossible to remove. And it's a way to re-sell all of that product that will inevitably be destroyed by the heat - er, I mean the humidity - of the south.

Listerine Brick
Update 8/5: It's happened again! And this time I have captured an image of the elusive Listerine Brick. Note the bubbly goodness and the deep green tones. If only pictures could convey the rubbery texture, the experience would be complete.

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