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The Column

I Am Everyday Pimple
1/12/03

No matter how clear your skin, no matter how old you get, no matter how often and zealously you attend your religious institution of choice, you will still, occasionally, wake up with a pimple the size of South Dakota.

You may think you’re immune to the red social death. But that’s just kidding yourself. You may not get one for five years. But it will come. Oh, it will come. Some of you may even have one now.

More often than not, your pimple will come on a day where thousands of people are closely examining your skin. No one gets a pimple when they’re planning on being home by themselves for a weekend. Though many people plan on being home by themselves for a weekend when they got a pimple.

I’m writing this column because this morning, I fell victim to that same fate. (Having a pimple, not staying in for the weekend). I have a standup gig tonight, so people will not only see my pimple, they will see it with the aid of a giant spotlight. As far as the crowd is concerned, I will become one giant pimple, which may impress them since few people have ever seen a pimple do standup comedy. The sheer novelty of it may be enough to win them over.

Growing up, I never really had a problem with acne, aside from spending a year confusing it for the company that makes all those anti-Road Runner gadgets. I never had more than one pimple at a time, and I went through entire months in high school with none at all. But in high school, acne would have been okay since everyone had some. You can’t really laugh at someone for getting a pimple when you can’t see past your own facial mountain range. Well, you can, but it’d be asking for trouble. As well as the pot calling the kettle, well, a smaller pot.

Now that I’ve past that awkward stage where everyone is just as awkward as each other, pimples are no longer welcome. Though we will all still get it occasionally, acne is much rarer - I don’t think I’ve had any in years. So while I’ve been eligible to mock the pimpled people for quite some time, I can now be mocked by all the people who are on their non-pimple cycle. This is why you need to treat others with respect. To paraphrase a famous, um, phrase - people who live in glass houses should not clean the windows with Stridex pads.

I’m an adult now, or at least at the age where I can be tried as one after assaulting the convenience store guy for selling me skin care products that don’t work. Now that I’m 23, there’s nothing quite like cosmetically rocketing back to 14.

The reason that teenagers make such a big deal about their pimples is because often, it is their greatest problem. When you’re in high school, your pimples affect your social standing, which is a high school student’s biggest concern. When you’ve already graduated college, your pimple(s) do not affect your ability to get a decent job or find an apartment or find a night job to pay for that apartment since you blew your paycheck at happy hour. Those are an adult’s biggest concerns, while a pimple is merely an inconvenience that might make you postpone a date. Or a comedy show.

I’m glad I have to do a set tonight, because it will allow me to use the pimple to my advantage. Instead of pretending there is no Vesuvius-like blemish on my forehead, I can come up with clever, self-deprecating jokes about how much it sucks to have a pimple.

Question: What’s the difference between a pimple and the plague?
Answer: Nothing!

My plan is to get them rolling in the aisles. That way, they can stop staring at my forehead, and instead concentrate on how dirty their clothing got from rolling in the aisles. Aside from making people laugh at my expense, the only other positive effect of a zit is 12 points in Scrabble. I can’t imagine using a pimple to your advantage in any other profession.

“Your honor, my client is an honorable man.”

“But we have a videotape of him stealing candy from babies while pushing an old lady into oncoming traffic.”

“Perhaps you didn’t notice that I have a pimple on my forehead.”

“By golly, you’re right! Case dismissed!”

Luckily, I’m in that unique position where having a pimple isn’t all that bad; this is a time where being a comedian will certainly help me. I plan on using my pimple to make people laugh and affect positive change in their lives (as well as in my career). Frankly, I’m going to embrace my pimple.

But not too tightly because that could get messy.

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