The sucker factor is off the charts: mass consumption has seen to it that we all have oral fixations in one form or another. So how do you excuse yours – or the ones you’re aware of, anyway?
Before we proceed, let’s get it out there that I know as much about Freudian psychosexual development of “oral character” and behavioral science in general as I do about piloting commercial aircraft. But we seem to be naturally equipped with onboard behavioral science labs, where finger-pointers in our heads tell us who pays retail, who doesn’t, who’s most likely to be struck by a bus crossing the street, and who will probably marry a drummer, speak the truth, or become a pain in the ass.
So while I may have no “official” business offering my theories of the internal and external forces shaping our personalities, I’ll feel free to ask, what’s your excuse? How many bottles that look like toy spaceships do you purchase, maintain, nurse from, neglect, or collect? Of the seemingly endless choices, how do you decide which ones are right for you?
- Innovative appearance?
- Important looking millimeter measurements up the side?
- iPhone connectivity?
- Spill proof-ness?
- Polymer resin construction per NASA specifications?
- Easy grip?
- Percentage of sales profits donated to eco-friendly charities?
How about the thermosy thing that tracks all of the disposable plastic bottles you’re not buying (a self-important do-gooder tug job if there ever was one)? My favorite is the one that opens and closes for you, in case you’re too fatigued to do it yourself.
The point is, many of these impulse buys can go for $90 and up. What’s your limit?
Well, I wish I could get that far, but truly crippling is my disgust at the way people slobber, suck on, and and slurp at their Snapples, sippy cups, and sodas. I just can’t bring myself to put my lips on any of those things. Hell, I remove and replace my Starbucks lids with every tilt, because first, I find it insulting to merely moisten my mouth with coffee, plus they splatter and leak the minute you pull away. Move too quickly, or bump the thing, and you’ve got a geyser.
You know those cameras that capture shockwaves of bullets and other high-speed objects? What if a person breast feeding coffee through one of those lids was filmed at a super high frame rate? How much slow motion coffee would we see flying all over the place, like watching a sneeze travel grotesque distances?
Secondly, I shudder at the “leavings” and “legs” of coffee dribbling down the sides of people’s cups. Friends have asked what my problem is, and I have no answer other than to say, “I can’t drink through a squirt-hole.” So yes, people, I’ll risk being scalded while driving and swerving into a bus bench full of children before I let one of those lids French kiss me.
I will not drink out of those water bottles with the plastic pull-nipples for the sole reason that I’m an adult and can’t wrap my head around carrying a personal baby bottle. I grimace when I see someone mouthing a blue stopper-plug as if they were starving but had no teeth.
And never mind the landfills, if you’re patting yourself on the back for your BPA-free plastic, a recent study from the University of Texas showed that most bottles still have chemicals that, just like BPA, can bring on puberty, lower sperm counts, and cause other reproductive changes – not to mention cancer.
I don’t care if your bottle is stainless steel or resembles a $70,000 Audi. No matter how slick the design and no matter how many designs there are, they’re all infantile. (Who knows? Perhaps my damage is from childhood memories of seeing young zoo animals throating gross white slop-goo through jumbo feeders.) Either way, there’s no dignity here.
And how many times have I gotten into a friend’s car to find one of ’em rolling around on the back seat with the dog hair and the running shoes? Watching people fumble with these things while keeping hold of their luggage, man-bags, purses, cell phones, keys, sunglasses, work materials, groceries, yoga mats, accessory infants and Chihuahuas or cigarettes makes me grateful I don’t need a comfort item to nurse throughout the day. But then I don’t require an emo pet when I travel, either.
But let’s get back to the absurdly designed little openings through which you’re forced to suckle. For me, the sounds of adult lips engaging and disengaging in a vacuum seal with one of these bottles is louder than any other sound in my immediate environment. My misophonia guarantees that outdoor events, gyms, and shopping malls are veritable symphonies of gargling, dripping, sloshing, sponging, licking, lapping, and sucking.
I’ve asked my friends to explain their collection of bottles and tumblers. Is it out of laziness that they fail to replace them in a timely manner, thereby avoiding a showcase of the bacteria and decay they’re willing to live with? They don’t seem to have a problem with the germs these things collect, yet when I offered my brother a gift of one that I found at a Goodwill store he recoiled in horror. He wouldn’t even touch it, so I kept shoving it at him, assuring him it was just like the one I saw under the seat of his Jeep; what was the problem?
Yes, we all feel better when we know the germs are our own, but it’s more than that. From vape pipes and e-cigarettes to cigars, nail biting, pill-popping, gum chewing, and the plastic barrels of Dr Pepper we carry around as though they were newborns, and even to beer cans engineered to change color when cold (wonder what chemicals we’re sucking up there…), mass culture has created a full blown Oral Industrial Complex. Billions of dollars are made each year off chug-jugs and ancillary products designed specifically for us to tongue.
Yeah-yeah, I’m way ahead of you, so maybe the fixation is my own. But some of my friends and family could benefit from seeing a picture of themselves wrangling their multiple containers. (And they definitely could get rid of the more revolting ones.)
There’s just no excuse for sounding like a gurgling medical instrument while you lap up a little extra bacteria in public. Isn’t it bad enough that you’re drinking from something probably manufactured next to a poison river in the Zhujiang Delta?
Aware of it or not, we’re stuck in an orally-fixated society mired in mouth merchandizing, and too many of us use our discretionary income to buy more things on which to slobber.
Sorry, is “slobber” too much? Then let’s review that high-speed footage, because the more we learn about the world, the more chances we’ll have to laugh in its face.