Liquid Versatility

February 13th, 2011

For more than half a century secretaries and stenographers have been erasing their mistakes with a potent little fluid called Liquid Paper. But few know the origins of this surprisingly delicious substance. Bette Nesmith Graham, mother of the sullen toqued Monkee Mike Nesmith, was working as a typist in her kitchen and had created the corrective substance from items found in the cupboard. Scrumptious solvents and powders like naphtha (which tastes like fennel seed), Dispersant (a gummy substance also found in children’s candy), and trichloroethane (which definitely packs a punch). She had been using corrective fluid and making a little extra money selling small bottles of the fluid to her co-workers. But one late night when her moody son Micheal had come downstairs with a shoe-box guitar wearing his trademark toque, distracting her with his off-key moans and crummy guitar-playing, Bette slipped the boy some of her fluid. Maybe she thought it would kill him, that has never been determined. It did, however, send him into a quiet hallucinogenic state for hours on end, allowing Bette to finally finish her work. This started Mike’s sad addiction to Liquid Paper, which followed him into his career in music and lasted until the 1980′s when Liquid Paper came under attack for causing a several deaths (at which point they removed trichloroethane from the product). Mike had introduced his liquid drug to his bandmates, to Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper. The product was the inspiration to songs like Auntie Grizelda, While I cry, Mother’s Milk, Cumdrop Island and most of the album Head. The landscape of the 1960′s would have looked a lot different without Bette Nesmith Graham’s handy little bottles of poison.

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