Tiger Balm is not a panacea

If you’ve been raised by an Asian person, you already know that Tiger Balm cures everything. I don’t care if you have a stomachache, headache, irritable bowel syndrome, a sprained ankle, or hemorrhoids, Mr. Tiger Balm is your go-to guy. Roar.

I’m going to tell you a story. In 1992, little Genevieve was 7, and a pretty resourceful kid. She drafted poems on old napkins (a little JK Rowling in the making, really), drew on the wall when there wasn’t any paper, and sometimes, just sometimes, thought about peeing in a water bottle if there wasn’t a bathroom around. What?

Before Skip Its and Pogs, there were posters. Remember the Scholastic Book Club? They gave posters away for free, and they were pretty cool.

Young Genevieve cherished her posters, but had no way to adhere them to the wall. “Where’s my tape?” she wondered, and quickly abandoned the thought of finding it. “Let’s see…what’s sticky?” After looking at tacks (no holes in the walls allowed!), post-its (not strong enough), and a container of calamine lotion, her eyes landed on a small, gleaming jar of Tiger Balm. Its shiny bronze cap stared enticingly at her. Tiger Balm was calling little Genevieve’s name: “Uuuuse me. I’m sticky!”

Not one to miss an opportunity, she dug a chunk of the chestnut brown goop out of the tiny jar, and smeared it on her Out of this World poster. “Wow. Just like paste!” She proceeded to do this with all 5 of her posters, first rubbing the substance on the glossy paper and then proudly sticking them to the walls. They stuck!

It was in this moment that she was more than convinced that Tiger Balm could cure anything. She also considered becoming a boyscout.

Like most good things, this delusion of grandeur and competence had to come to an end, and the posters slowly unraveled down the wall and fluttered to the floor in a slow, graceful death. Unfortunately, the Tiger Balm grease did not join the posters, but stayed on the walls for months to come. Their presence resulted a moderately painful beating for poor young Genevieve.

The End.