When did we decide that breath mints must play a vital role in our lives? Unless you are paranoid about stinky breath, the purpose of mints is to hide that you have been drinking or smoking when you probably shouldn’t have been, officer (in these cases, Life Savers are really more like ticket savers). And why do those dumb retro Altoids advertisements indicate that, because those mints are strong and come in a metal box, they are capable of making you hipper? To make matters worse, we can now buy Stress Mints, a “homeopathic stress therapy in a soothing mint.” At $5.99 for a box of 30 tablets, available at, I expected at least a few of my problems — “digestion, nerves and emotions” — would go away, but no dice. The directions suggest taking a mint every half hour as needed. Of course, that means if everyone is as stressed as they’re always whining about, we need to eat about 48 mints a day.

Tom A’Hearn pays attention here every other week. E-mail

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