I never had bad acne. Every now and then, about every three months, give or take, I’d get a big zit that would last about five days and then disappear. This would usually happen right before a homecoming dance or rollerskating party. I felt pretty fortunate, though; who was I to complain about a zit every now and then when some of my friends were waging all out war against acne. A blessing, right?
What I didn’t realize was that this zit here and zit there pattern would be with me FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. I’m officially on the rounding-up side of my 40s and I still get pimple. I say, “pimple,” not “pimples” because it’s usually just one huge zit on a prominent place on my face: between my eyebrows, on the end of my nose, right underneath my nose, or anywhere that is visible from space.
Wrinkles are depressing. Pimples are undignified. When you have pimples AND wrinkles it’s as if the pimples are raised to an exponent and not just added to the wrinkles. It’s not just depressing and undignified — it’s embarrassing, ugly, unseemly, depressing, undignified, and just wrong.
I had one such zit on my chin last week. It was huge and horrible. It had festered and lingered, and I really had to do something. Sporting the Wicked Witch of the West look with that warty thing protruding so prominently on the end of my chin was giving me a complex! I was out of my own face scrub stuff, so in desperation I used the stuff I’d just bought for the boys at Costco. I scrubbed my face, concentrating on the vile zit and the surrounding area.
Hmmm, maybe I won’t have to buy my expensive stuff, this stuff feels good, I thought to myself. I went to bed, confident that the appendage protruding from my chin had met its match.
The next day, the corners of my mouth, my upper lip, and chin felt peculiar. By peculiar, I mean ON FIRE! I put some moisturizer on. That didn’t seem to take the burn away. I couldn’t see any redness or rash or anything, and neither could anyone else, so that was good. (Except, I got no sympathy for the fire on my face.) I kept checking the mirror, because I was absolutely sure my chin was red and flaming. Nothing. For two days I walked around in pain, but my face looked pretty much normal: just smile lines with a shriveling zit. So that’s good, right?
Then the burning went away. Finally! Phew. Relief. Thank God.
On the fourth day…
I took Sammy and Robby to meet up with their cross country team for a bonding event. I chatted with the coach, said hi to their teammates, and headed off with Madeline to sip some coffee at a quaint coffee shop while the boys bonded and climbed the incline. I ordered my coffee, smiled at the hipster dude making coffees, and sat in a comfy booth.
After picking the boys up, we rushed off to the driver’s ed office to meet up with their driving instructor for their on-street driving lesson. I chatted with the instructor. She really has good eye contact, I thought to myself. After dropping the boys off at the driving place we had some more time to kill, so I took Madeline to buy some new soccer shoes. (She’s been complaining about pain in her toes. No wonder! The poor child was wearing a size 5. I bought her a size 8. Women’s. How on earth am I going to win parent of the year like this?) The gal who was helping us seemed to be super busy. She didn’t even look at us; she just plopped the shoes down and ran off in a blurry. Weird.
We got Madeline her shoes, and I took the younguns to Jimmy John’s for sandwiches. There was this older gentleman working there who walked around asking if everything was okay, and offering free bread to all the customers. He chatted with us, making small talk with the kids, and making strange faces at me. Hmm. Well, that’s kind of strange. He’s the nicest rude person I’ve ever met.
We’d killed a considerable amount of time and needed to get going. We got in the car, and I pulled down the visor to use the mirror to make sure I didn’t have a piece of lettuce wedged between my front teeth . . .
When . . .
WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO MY FACE?
(Yes, I said hell. I might have said some other more offensive words too, but I can’t remember.)
My face was flaking and crusting and falling off. I looked like some kind of crazy phyllo dough facial experiment. The look could also be described as one in which I’d been drinking and spilling milk all over my face while lying on my back, and then allowing the spilled milk to sour, dry, crust, and peel and flake off my face. It looked curious and possibly contagious.
And then with this wonderful look I’d proceeded to interact with and talk to about fifty people.
Why didn’t you guys tell me I looked like this? The kids shrugged and said, “We thought you knew.” (These children have way too much faith in my ability to function as a normal person.)
In retrospect, the pimple really wasn’t that bad.
Kudzu. You know the stuff? The vicious vine from the innocent pea family introduced to the United States from Japan to control soil erosion which has instead sucked all the nutrients out of the soil as taken over the South, possibly gobbling up small children as it ravenously engulfs the countryside. A classic example of when the solution is worse than the problem.
My own personal facial Kudzu.
I was going to make a nifty parallel here about how those awful divisive political ads and political e-mail forwards and political Facebook posts are like that . . . Political Kudzu! But I have sooooo much work to do. I’ll let you make the connection. Consider it your cerebral exercise for the day. You’re welcome.