I woke up this morning to find a zit on my prominent nose. Oh, wait — I mean to say I woke up this morning to find a prominent zit on my nose. A subtle distinction, perhaps, but one worth making from my perspective.
So here’s the thing — I am way past the age where I should be getting zits. While emotionally I may be stuck at age 15, chronologically I am several decades past that, and physiologically I’m the equivalent of the hoary character Keir Dullea morphed into at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. When I fill out the health questionnaire at the doctor’s office, I have to ask for a supplementary legal pad in order to list all my ailments.
But back to this zit. Yesterday my face was clear. OK — it was sunburned, and covered in greying stubble, and my crow’s feet are approaching actual-size, and I could style sideburns from my ear hair — but blemish-wise there was nothing to inventory. This morning, as I completed my toilette, I saw something white and bulging from the side of my right nostril. I thought at first it was an errant crumb from the muffin I’d buzz-sawed my way through along with my morning coffee from Cumbys, but upon closer inspection (meaning I had to remove my glasses in order to focus on the macro image in the bathroom mirror), I saw it was a pimple. It might have been my imagination, but I thought I could see it growing before my myopic eyes. I feared an eruption akin to when Woody Allen’s robot character makes instant pudding in Sleeper.
I won’t go into any detail regarding how I chose to eliminate the zit from its perch on my proboscis — other than to say I utilized a method all dermatologists abhor and yet everyone who’s ever had a zit attempts. Afterwards, I applied salicylic acid, triple antibiotic ointment, pancake makeup and a spritz of Windex (on the bathroom mirror, to — you know…).
Now, of course, I am desperately trying to figure out what I did that led to the emergence of the spot. Too many saturated fats in my diet? Something lacking in my nightly facial regimen? A hormonal imbalance, or delayed adolescence (both of which raise worries much more significant than a pimple)? Or was it due to something more fundamental (literally) — a warning from God in response to some heinous infraction? I considered what I might have done recently that the Almighty would inflict such a blight upon me:
- I dumped all our plastics in one recycling container, without sorting out the #2s that are supposed to go into a separate bin.
- I bought a book of stamps at the post office but asked the clerk to ring them up individually so I could save a dime by using my debit card on each transaction.
- I told my wife I’d washed her yoga clothes separately, on the delicate cycle, when I’d really just tossed them in with the towels.
- I apologized for a minor transgression about which a friend had expressed his dismay, when I really thought he was being kind of a dick about it.
After running through these scenarios, I decided He (or She, or They — I’m open) would not get into a tizzy over such petty infractions. In a world filled with threats of war, cataclysmic storms, political rancor, and hundreds of professional athletes choosing to take a knee as someone caterwauls the national anthem — the Lord wouldn’t be concerned with singling me out for punishment just because I’d failed to come to a complete stop before proceding through an intersection… right?
I’ll stop the theological self-interrogation at this point, since I need to head back into the bathroom and check the mirror again. I think I’m coming down with pink eye.