I should warn you that this column should not be read by the faint of heart, the squeamish or those who were endowed with ever-vigilant gag reflexes. In fact, I’m not even planning to read this.
But here we go anyway: today’s topic is pimples.
This issue popped up (har!) because my body has had more dermatological activity this past week than usual.
It’s not that I’m unaccustomed to pimples. I’ve experienced them since the moment I hit puberty, which was around 7:30 p.m. on a Wednesday sometime in the winter of my fifth-grade year.
I remember this because I was at an evening church event when—without provocation or warning—the glands in my armpits began to produce massive quantities of perspiration, the fumes of which caused every potted plant within a 15-foot vicinity to wilt.
Thankfully, I’ve passed the puberty stage of my life. But really, when I think about it, puberty for me is a little bit like an earthquake. The actual tectonic activity may be over, but in its wake is left cracks…in my voice.
However, this is all beside the point. By now you may be wondering where the point is. I’ll tell you: it’s on my back.
But I’ll get to that one later. The first para-dermal activity occurred earlier last week next to my eye. (Come to think of it, “Para-Dermal Activity” would be a good name for a movie in which a dermatologist comes into contact with supernatural phenomenon.)
About six months ago a little white bump about the size of the tip of a candy corn appeared next to my left eye.
My first reaction was, “Oh good, another pimple.” Except it wasn’t ready to pop. And it wasn’t ready to pop the next day. And it wasn’t ready pop to the next week.
After a month I decided that I just had a little dormant skin growth next to my eye, and would have to live with it forever. I started to become fond of it.
I even named it Steve.
Last week, however, it apparently decided it was ready to come out. And so with the aid of my girlfriend, Hanna, who has a very gentle touch, Steve is now gone.
After half a year with him, my eye feels a little lonely. But life returned to normal…. For a few days.
(This is when you might really want to start thinking about flipping over to the sports section or something.)
On Saturday morning I noticed a new bump developing over my right shoulder blade. By evening, the pimple had evolved into the largest zit I have ever had the dishonor of hosting.
Please note that I am not exaggerating these dimensions: the red swelling was approximately an inch in diameter, with the actual bump in the center akin to an average-sized playing marble lodged halfway into my back.
In other words, if I were to compare my average pimples to Yellowstone National Park mud pots, this thing on my back was Mount Vesuvius, pre-Pompeii disaster.
Not to mention it hurts. I can’t lean backward because I don’t want to put pressure on it. And I can’t lean forward because I don’t want my T-shirt to rub against it. So, even as I’m writing this, I’m sitting with the impeccable posture of a music-teaching, ruler-wielding schoolmarm.
Mr. Vez didn’t show any signs of being ready to pop until Sunday night, which is when it started oozing. Hanna seized this opportunity—sort of literally—to attempt to heal me of this pimple.
Here’s what happened (really, stop reading this now): Twenty minutes of squeezing produced large amounts milky fluid mixed with a little bit of blood.
Hanna at the helm, being as gentle as she could, had to pause every few minutes to commence dry heaving.
And I, being the incessant wimp that I am, was on my belly, writhing in pain and singing “Jesus Loves Me” in my head to unsuccessfully distract myself from the pain.
Despite our joint effort (me whimpering and Hanna gagging) there’s still a significant portion of pus left. But I have reason for hope: The issue seems to be coming to a head.