Bridge from adolescence to adulthood endless, filled with bumps

You know what’s great about being an adult? Still getting acne. Did I say great? I meant the worst.

I was raised to believe acne was relegated to adolescence, and this belief was affirmed during adolescence, which was not bereft of acne. Luckily for me, I attended an all-boys high school where nobody cared what you looked or smelled like. A friend of mine once popped a zit during class to make everyone laugh, and spent the rest of the day unapologetically walking around with a bloody, blotchy face. (There’s a chance that friend was me, can’t remember.)

But now I am 36. Thirty-six. And it’s still an issue. Certainly not the issue it was during the teenage years, when I would ask my sisters for their zit cream and go to bed with sporadic white spots on my face hoping all the zits would be gone when I woke up, although they never were because that cream did nothing. NOTHING I tell you!

Where was I? Oh yes, it remains an issue, albeit on a smaller scale. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating as, again, I was under the impression acne would not be a part of the laundry list of physical issues that accompany adulthood. It’s like, really, God? My back is sore, I have to get up twice a night to pee, the lady at Great Clips now asks me if I want her to “get my ears,” and now I suddenly have a mini colony of zits on the side of my head? Really?

What’s worse is … two things, actually. First, the acne is no longer relegated to just my face. In a strange twist of events, this has somehow made me more attractive to my wife, who derives a strange pleasure from “excavating” my back and shoulders. If any of you young men out there want to know what marriage is truly like, picture yourself slumped over the bathroom sink, your wife treating your back as her personal popping playground as you, pressed up against the mirror, decide now would be a good time to pluck your nose hairs.

Second, as you get older, acne comes with the added stress that maybe it’s not acne. The life cycle of a zit used to be pretty predictable, but these days they often remain stagnant, forcing me to yell at them, “What are you even doing! WHO ARE YOU?”

As a result—being an Irishman with fair skin and son to a father who has something removed from his face once every six months, and who can only go to the pool if he’s wearing a safari costume—I started seeing a dermatologist last year. I monitor closely now what’s happening, and if something emerges that I’m not quite sure is a zit, I will try and attain peace of mind by attempting to pop it, which produces positive results approximately zero percent of the time.

Anyway, my point is that getting old stinks, especially when you’ve somehow managed to retain the only negative of being young. And it’s not like I’m vain enough to use the flesh-colored zit makeup my wife gave me. Ha, ha, can you imagine? What? No, it’s definitely not in my pocket right now. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

OK listen, it’s just … this isn’t high school anymore, you know?

Note: This column appears in the 9/25 issue of The Glendale Star and the 9/26 issue of the Peoria Times.


The "get my ears" thing really hits home. Ouch.
mkenny59 said…
Sorry to open wounds, TJJ, but also glad to see I have a brother in early on-set ear hair.