I’m not referring to prophecy, but to an odd situation everyone invariably suffers, whether you’re a high school kid on a date, an adult preparing to deliver a sales pitch, or God forbid, before a job interview. At some point we’ve all had them. They punish, attack, and embarrass, at the worst possible time.
These assaults have pestered humans since caveman days. Advertisers call them blemishes. Mothers call them pimples. Kids at school just plain call them zits. No matter who you are, how old you are, where you are, or what you do, they strike without warning and can destroy on any given day one’s self-esteem. They may even ruin the entire day. A zit outbreak can definitely alter the course of natural selection. They’re worse than spilling coffee on beige khakis – you can’t change your face but you can at least change your pants.
My “harasser” struck shortly after I talked with a newspaper editor about writing a monthly column. We spoke on a Friday.
”Can you come in Tuesday to sign paperwork? Our photographer will also take your mug shot.”
”Sure, I’ll be there.”
Cool, I’m a columnist……with a photo!
On Sunday afternoon I felt swelling on my left cheek and knew something was amiss. Could it be what I thought? Aw, give me break. I did what any guy would do. I’d nip the problem in the bud and apply force. A blast of pressure followed by a cool rinse, and I’d be ready for Tuesday’s photo shoot no problem.
By Monday morning the blemish gained momentum. I tried again to eliminate this menace, no luck. And worse, my skin was now irritated. Self-consciousness started creeping in. I’m a grown up for crying out loud -I haven’t had a blemish for years – why me, why now?
On Tuesday morning there was no visual improvement or progress. If anything the zit looked worse and the photo shoot was less than 10 hours away. More self-doubt crept in because I also have a small mole on my left cheek. My mom told me it was a birthmark. In family photos it looks like a bug landed on my face. “You got it from your dad… his genes not mine.” That line got me through adolescence but for today? What if the photographer turns my head to the right and photographs my left profile? Both a mole and blemish on the same side of my face? Royal bummer. “Nah,” I thought, “he’ll turn my head the other way.” In haste, I consulted an expert – my high school daughter. She’ll know what to do.
Kate was amused by my cry for help to zap the zit, especially since she has beautiful clear skin. Her demeanor was calm but clinical. “You need an oil-free skin cleanser and make-up. Use this tan colored stuff, put a little on your finger and massage it in. Then never touch it again.”
I couldn’t believe I was wearing about a square inch of Kate’s make-up. Why couldn’t I have a dimpled chin like the actor, Kirk Douglas, instead of a moled and pimpled cheek? I deployed the miracle ointment two hours before the shoot hoping that the salicylic acid would eradicate the problem.
I arrived at the Editor’s office and was introduced to the photographer.
I didn’t see the final photo until my article appeared in print a few days later. I’m at peace knowing that either the make-up or Photoshop worked. It’s these imperfections that create our individuality and make life unpredictable. Our blemishes eventually go away but they also contribute to what makes us a whole person.
Kids, here’s some advice: Watch out. You’ll never be safe from a zit attack no matter how old you are…but with a little humor you’ll get through it.
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