On Monday Burt Shavitz, the founder of Burt’s Bees, died at 80 years old. Here is a transcript of heartfelt eulogy delivered by Shavitz’ colleague of thirty years, a little tube of beeswax lip balm named Tubey.
[Tubey rolls up to the microphone and removes his cap. He knocks his plastic rim against the mic a few times. Mic feedback. Mild laughter]
Good morning. It’s a beautiful morning – the kind of morning Burt loved. Clear, warm, honest. Burt was nothing if not honest. Burt is gone, so – Excuse me. I’m sorry. [Long pause. Sniffling.] Burt is gone, so in the spirit of his honesty, I’m going to stand here today and tell the truth about the one thing that Burt never could. I was not just Burt’s oldest colleague I was also his romantic partner. For thirty years, I was the first thing he smeared on in the morning and the last thing he blotted his mouth with at night. I was his confidante, his best friend, his lover. I was his biggest supporter, his harshest critic, his “stiff stick of off-white stuff.”
[Soft crowd grumbling]
I’m sure some of you are shocked by this revelation: Burt and I kept our relationship a secret from everyone we loved. He thought it would hurt his public image to be the big time lip balm CEO who sleeps with his lip balms. So we lied. I would play the role of loyal Burt’s Bees lip balm and spend all day jingle-jangling around in his pocket, knocking up against his keys, some change, a half-eaten Luna Bar. But as soon as we were alone, he would pop off my cap, twist my bottom until I was fully extended, and then gently fellate me with his pruned, bearded lips. And that was how we had sex.
[Lots of coughing. More coughing and throat clearing.]
Of course Burt had a human wife – he had to, for appearances. And sometimes it was excruciating, rolling around on the nightstand listening to him, mere inches away, having non-balm sex. Afterward, when Marjorie was asleep, Burt would take me in his hands and breathe on me to warm me up until I was very, very soft. “Oh, Tubey!” he would whisper. And then he’d use his finger to smear me all over and around his mouth in circles. And that was also sex for us. It wasn’t fair to Marjorie, I knew that. But Marjorie is dead now.
[Unidentified woman’s voice yelling “No I’m not!”]
We deceived you all – our friends, our family – and for that I apologize on behalf of myself and Mr. Mouth – that was my nickname for Burt. But I won’t apologize for what we gave each other, because that was the truest thing I’ve ever known, and I’m a thirty-two year-old tube of beeswax lip balm. It was love. Simple as that. Plain, boring, old-fashioned, man and stick-of-lip-balm-created-by-that-man love. And I think anyone here who has been lucky enough to find love, to feel love, and to express that love by inserting an ice-cold tube of beeswax into their rectum, can probably relate to that.
[Urgent whispering, violent coughing. Glass breaking.]
Burt, I love you and I miss you, but I’ll never forget the feeling of your big, hairy fingers around my tiny plastic neck. Thank you.