When I was younger, I had terrible skin. One morning, before school, I woke up to count 10 spots on my top lip. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. A MOUSTACHE of spots.
I had the clearest skin EVERYWHERE ELSE on my face.
My top lip was actually HEAVIER. One of the active volcano’s was tall enough to touch the tip of my nose. When I think about my teens, I can trace how my anger grew over time.
One morning, I woke to find my face completely spotless……of course, the spot gods had a surprise. As I left the mirror brimming with joy and excitement at the day stretching ahead of me…….an itch…… NO….. a tickle, shot from the inside of my right ear. It was at that point that I realized I was leaning to my right. My center of gravity was off, the sounds of cars outside traveling ONLY through my left ear.
Confused, I did what all men would do in a state of panic. I took my baby finger out to investigate. What I found could not be classified as a spot, could not be labeled as a pimple, or a blackhead…………………………………….It was a DRUMLIN……..an elongated hill in the shape of an inverted spoon or half-buried egg formed by glacial ice acting on underlying unconsolidated till or ground moraine.
It had its own heartbeat. Its own personality. Big enough, to believe it had lived a long fruitful life, in the 8 hours from when I lay my head down on the pillow the night before.
Amazingly, it was at this moment that I fulfilled a decade long desire. The anger that grew during my teenage years graduated to blind rage. I had fascinated that acne was an ACTUAL PERSON. YEAH. I personified acne…….Hey ACNE! ……YEAH!??? What’s going on!??? AAAWW Nuthin JUST SPREADING AND RUINING LIVES!!!!
I pressed myself off the wall outside and reentered the bathroom, angling for the mirror. Thoughts of this person, this Acne, laughing at me raced through my head, each laugh matching the heartbeat of pain that shot from my ear. I reached my hand back as far as it could go almost dislocating my shoulder and landed the heaviest of slaps across the side of my face, all while roaring a battle cry that woke my entire family.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHYYAAAAAA!!! It was a battle cry combining Braveheart & Bruce Lee.
Then……..there was silence. Silence and complete darkness. When my eyes finally opened I was on the ground, shell shook from an explosion so great it had taken me off my feet. The silence was replaced with a loud ringing. I had knocked myself out. As I started getting feeling back in my face I’d realized that the beating pain was now gone. I placed my baby finger back into Mordor.
It was a battlefield, one where both armies were massacred. Clumps of white GOO were scattered across the cavity of my ear. My head had a lightness to it that was orgasmic, the same feeling you get after relieving yourself after a long wee.
My mother wrote a sick note to the school that read…..“Colm was unable to attend school on March 14th because his acne was too bad”.
From that day onwards, my skin improved. It was like that day had shocked my body into adulthood. The beautifully young and vibrant face you see in front of you had overcome years of torment not so long ago. So next time you think you’re skin is bad…….remember, that my acne, almost killed me.