Thursday, September 4, 2008

Acne Acme

I realize this may be disgusting to talk about – but I cannot help it any longer. I need to get this off my chest. And face.

When I was growing up, it was my understanding that pimples would pester me until around age 20. Then zits would fade away and I could move into adulthood and all the attendant joys associated with it – love, marriage, baby carriage, life insurance, etc. Something like that.

I accepted this fate philosophically as a teen rite of passage. I was OK with it.

Well, here I am in advancing yet feisty middle-age, and still, every month or two, Mr. Blemish makes an appearance.

As I write this I’m being plagued by zits – two to be precise; including one of those huge monsters you can feel coming but can’t do anything about because it hasn’t ‘ripened’ yet.

This thing is going to be the size of a cupcake by early indicators – right before a big presentation in a couple of days. I get to stand in front of a large roomful of people with an oozing red crater on my face – charming.

Now don’t go telling me I need to wash my face more thoroughly, or use a cleanser or a laffah or defoliate or whatever. I wash my face in the shower every morning quite thoroughly if you must know, so if I’m doing something wrong then why don’t more zits appear more often hmmm? There – I’ve run logical rings around you already and we’ve just begun. Ha!

And by the way – men don’t wash their faces like girls each night before bed either – it is unmanly and we won’t do it. That’s what pillowcases are for – facial dirt, drool, occasionally lipstick if we’re lucky. Or experimenting. Whatever.

Some of my more poignant memories are acne related unfortunately.

I can remember to this day the morning of the first day of grade 8. I was quivering with anticipation at being able to see The School Hotties.

I had life-threatening crushes on all of them, even though our only interactions were an occasional “Hi” in the hallway. These casual greetings naturally fueled many (OK, all) of my lurid sexual fantasies and if you’ve ever been a teenage boy you’ll know what I’m talking about mmmkay?

My hormones raged. These girls were known as the Terrible Ten for some ironic reason. And, oh my were they cute. They had legs and bosoms and wonderful smiles and bosoms too. One of them even had hair down to her bottom – probably the most erotic thing I had ever seen on a real, live person.

Where was I? Ah yes – back to school, grade 8.

So I wake up, shower, stand before the mirror, and there at the tip of my nose is the most humongous boil I had ever seen outside of a horror movie.

It was an angry red pustule that could not be hidden no matter how much of my sister’s makeup I rubbed on the monster, and could not be popped - yet. I was crushed, defeated, deformed. I wanted to wear a mask or cut my nose off. I wanted to be admitted to hospital for the first semester. I considered calling in a bomb threat but my eyes were crossed from staring piteously at this Rudolph-like orb on my face.

At school I slinked down the hall and…the girls said hi to me anyway! They wouldn’t come within twenty feet of me of course – a boil is still a boil. And that sucker hung onto the end of my nose for weeks without being able to pop it.

But it was a start. I was on my way into puberty - shaken, covered in stolen makeup, but relatively unscathed.

And so all was sunshine and rainbows for the rest of my entire life.

Actually, now that I think about it, this column was supposed to be about the election. Nevermind.

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