I get stuck on tiny issues throughout the day and obsess over the smallest of details. Today’s bit of worrisome minutiae arrived courtesy of the box of mints that I keep in a desk drawer at work for various emergencies. Over the past couple of years, I’ve begun to see the awesome power to solve all manner of crises that a well placed package of breath mints has. First and foremost, when I need to be quiet, a handful of strong peppermints usually does the trick. They relieve indigestion, provide temporary wakefulness when I’m working during the pre-dawn hours and are useful when shaken during impromptu songs. My favorite non-musical mint is the Wintergreen Lifesaver (shameless plug). I am always sad when the Lifesaver roll gets down to that last minty straggler with his two-inch silver wrapper chain hanging behind him. Right now, I’ve only got the venerable Altoids in their cheery, red tin. Inside, there is always a paper insert featuring some kind of trivial Altoid-ism. In the current tin there is a line about Altoids being used historically to fend off raven attacks. Good Lord! Raven attacks? What kind of mints are these?
The whole thing about being attacked by ravens is extremely puzzling. Is this a bygone English plague? Were poor, Dickensian children attacked by ravens as they begged for more gruel (“Please, Sir? Ow! Ow! Maybe just some lint covered Altoids to fight these birds, sir?”). Hopefully raven attacks aren’t a modern American trend. Are crows like ravens? I live in the northern middle west and would really be interested in growing hybrid corn modified with breath mints so the crows leave us alone. When I went out to run today, the ravens weighed heavily on my mind. I’d forgotten to bring the Altoids and began to scan the streets for marauding birds. I pictured having to run while consuming dangerous quantities of mints. White powder all over my face, foaming at the mouth, my peppermint tin clanking as I shuffled down the path. Nevermore. I’ll go to work tomorrow, eat the mints and toss the trivial insert. Oh, and switch to Tic-Tacs.