November 1998
s m u g
by Andrew Springsteen


BillyBee Honey

As I write this I have sitting next to me a transparent container of Billybee Natural Honey shaped like a bear. Like all good bears he is smiling contentedly and holding his tummy which itself holds a heaping helping of the finest No. 1 white honey that money can buy. Every once in a while I take a sip of honey from the bear's pointy yellow head and smile. Some would call drinking honey from the bottle a bad thing, and I guess they might be right, but I have no choice, this is now a major part of my life and I can't, nor do I want to, stop.

It started when I was a kid. There was always a small plastic container of honey in our cupboard that my mom would bring out every few months to top various dishes for my sister and I. We'd have honey on toast and oatmeal mostly, but just a little. Mom had this idea that giving us too much densely concentrated glucose at once wasn't good for us; go figure. Occasionally if I was hanging around the kitchen while she was preparing some kind of honey-adorned food she'd let me eat half a spoonful, which always left me happy, (not to mention annoyingly hyper) for hours. I remember each time I'd have this rare taste of the pure stuff thinking that it was the absolute best tasting food in the world, even better than the more elusive maraschino cherry treat I'd get a few times each year at Christmas.

I guess because I never got a ton of honey I never really gave it any thought during my off-honey seasons, but this year it came to me. Hey! I can buy my own honey! Once that realization hit me, all hell broke loose. It pobably would've been okay if I had just bought the small tub-shaped container but no, being the whimsical food packaging fan that I am I had to buy the bear-shaped bottle.

The first thing I noticed when I started putting honey on my english muffins along with peanut butter was how the two substances mixed together almost like oil and water, but with a pleasant warm aroma and a tasteful watery brown look. Immediately I began to fall visually in love with honey, which I already enjoyed for the taste, an appreciated intellectual level. (Conceptually, honey is the greatest food simply because it's made by animals.) An important distinction has to be made here from food created by animals by accident: Some food is made because the animals happened to be standing over a bucket while they lactated or they were born in a country who'd rather season and cook them than make shrines to them, but honey comes from little insects who intentionally set out expressly to make it. This concept still boggles my mind and impresses me just as much as if there were horses who manufactured some sort of motor vehicle or non-stick cookware or something.

Once I reached this point it got pretty weird and I started putting honey on almost everything I ate. I began dripping honey on italian sausages as i simmered them in cherry coke, thus creating the most disgustingly sweet gooey dish ever (the cherry coke caramelizes slightly on the sausages after a while) and I loved it. I even tried mixing honey with pop a few times but it would always just float to the bottom of the glass and I'd have to try to eat it by sticking my finger into the glass and scooping it up.

I eventually ended up skipping the middle-man and just eating the honey right from the dispenser which is still my prefered honey intake method. There's nothing better than just fitting your mouth around that beatiful smooth yellow plastic nipple and happily sucking away. If the honey doesn't come fast enough (this'll happen if the bottle starts getting down to about half-full) you can give the bottle a gentle squeeze and that wonderful golden goo will slip out, through the molded tip and onto your waiting, longing tongue. The delicious spurt of sweetness in your mouth is momentary but intense and sometimes if you take a bigger draw you can make the buzz last 10 or 15 seconds before the honey dissolves into some kind of tasteless, surely organ-ruining substance travelling from digestive system to colon, where my more health-conscious friends assure me everything winds up eventually. (Actually I think a certain percentage of the honey is used by your body to make your breasts bigger, but maybe that's just something else entirely specific only to me.)

After reading my description of eating the honey from the bottle and how my mother seems to be entwined in the whole business (another point to note along this line of thinking: I started eating honey from the bottle a short time after I moved away from home) there are some I'm sure who'd say that I had some weird kind of Freudian desire for mother's milk or some kind of breast-envy going on. Truth is, for all I know that could be the case and normally I'd be worried, but the honey is just too good to let little points like that worry me (Well, also the fact that if mother's milk was this good I can't imagine why I ever quit breastfeeding, except my dad's explanation: "She cuts everyone off after a while son"). Some things in life are meant to be analyzed and worried about and some are just meant to be sucked down through a transparent plastic breast like the sweet golden pap that they are, and honey is one of these things.


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