Sunday, August 2, 2009
I am nearing 40 years old. Just like I did when I was 16, I lament my still acne-prone skin. It is such a bummer. I thought for sure that if I did my time in my teens, I would be released from my vexation as a well-adjusted, extremely self-confident adult. No such luck. I still have pimples. Is that too real for you?
To add insult to injury, my brother had nice skin. He was never afflicted with acne as a teen or an adult. Needless to say, he wasn't very compassionate and understanding of my pathetic pubescent plight. He was my brother, after all, AND a guy.
So I have this huge red bump on my face right now and my children have been trying to be inconspicuous in their staring and discreet in their comments:"what is THAT?" I tried to explain the bane of my existence, trying not to put the fear of puberty in them. My thorough scientific explanation was lost on them. My daughters just say that they are never going to have acne (like you get to decide?). My boys just like the word "zit".
The blemish on my now wrinkled, middle-aged skin made me think of this funny story. My parents, brother and I were out to dinner sometime in the late eighties. He had a mullet and an earring. I had big bangs and shoulder pads. And a zit. It is bad enough to suffer through acne when the rest of the world politely pretends that they don't notice the mark on your face. But to have a cold hearted, callous, crass, unfeeling...well, ummh... younger BROTHER is just too much. Bryan was sitting across from me at Marie Calendars and exclaimed the words that have been seared on my heart forevermore. Here they are:
"If that thing had hair, you could name it and call it your twin!"
To be fair, my parents endeavored to hold in their chuckling. I want to believe that they attempted to be tender and sympathetic. But they didn't try too hard. All three of them busted into big belly laughter. To this day, I am scarred. Not just scars from acne either! In fact, I don't think I ever forgave Bryan for those heartless words. And since he is dead now, I think I will. Right now. After I lick my wounds and remember the anguish of that moment--you clear-skinned, indifferent, funny brother of mine. My kids, who are racing towards their tumultuous and acne-prone teens, will be lucky to miss out on that menacing milestone with Uncle B. See? I am learning to look at the bright side. And to forgive.
Posted by Reilly Fitzpatrick at 4:27 PM