Bane of adolescence still tortures him

When I woke up Monday morning, refreshed and ready for another week of misadventures at the office, there was a pimple on the tip of my nose. My first reaction was to scream and sneak into the medicine cabinet to steal my daughter’s Clearasil, but then I got the bright idea to call in sick.
It popped out in the middle of the night as unexpectedly as a refund check from the IRS and just in time for some important presentations I had to give. How can anyone take you seriously when you have a pimple as large as a cherry tomato on the tip of your nose?
And who wants to stand in a crowded elevator looking like Rudolph? Everyone’s eyes would focus on it like heat-seeking missiles. They would stare like guys do when Pamela Anderson goes to the beach.
I’ve experienced this dermatological horror before, usually on the eve of a big event like the senior prom. There’s no greater embarrassment than going to the prom with a Band Aid on the tip of your nose with a girl who really didn’t want to go with you in the first place. That stuff haunts you the rest of your life — at reunions, at 3 a.m. when you have insomnia and when your kids look through the family photo albums.
“Dad, what’s that funny thing on your nose? I’m surprised they let you go to the prom looking like that. Hardy har har!”

The pimple brought back other unsavory memories of my wedding day. When I woke up that morning, I thought I had small pox and considered calling in sick but the priest wouldn’t let me.
As it turned out, all the excitement and anxiety surrounding that life-altering occasion was too much for my metabolism and my ph levels got messed up.
I still can’t look at my wedding photos. They didn’t have Photoshop in those days, so my pimples were preserved for posterity, and to this day, my kids get a good laugh at my expense. “Hardy har har!”
In one photo, the wedding party is lined up near a waterfall, and even though I retreated to a distant hillside, you can still see the zits on my forehead, which faintly resembles the produce department at Whole Foods.
This recent episode, I’m convinced, resulted from too much orange juice. It seems the tip of my nose is prime real estate for pimples. Can’t they break out somewhere less conspicuous — behind my earlobe or on my big toe?
I read recently that the scourge of acne is starting to affect grammar school kids and not just adolescents. Children are breaking out at a younger age, and “pediatric acne” is afflicting children as young as 7 because puberty is arriving sooner and causing hormonal microbursts.
With all the genius in the scientific community, you’d think they could cure this epidemic instead of concentrating on frivolous projects like finding the Higgs Boson miracle particle or developing Google glasses. Beyond a doubt, more research money should go toward curing acne and male-pattern baldness.
Every teenager in America would be appreciative. It might also inspire them to take more science courses instead of “Introduction to Trampolining.” And with more science majors, we could finally compete with the Chinese.

It’s painful for kids to go to school with pimples, but at least they can say, “You are not alone.” When a middle-aged bald guy has to go to a business lunch with a zit on his nose, it’s a career-ender. And it’s a painful reminder of what life was like at 16. At this rate, I’ll still be using Clearasil when I’m collecting Social Security.

Joe Pisani may be reached at [email protected]

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