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Calling In Zit

"Here's the thing." I croak into the phone. I lower my voice conspiratorially. "I've been up all night with diarrhea. You don't even want to know where I'm calling your from Bob. It could be the sushi I ate last night. It might be cramps though. It is that time of the---"
"Jesus Christ Monica. Enough with the details already. Take something and get in bed. I'll find a replacement!" My news manager Bob bangs down the phone. I sigh, stretch languidly in my bed, and roll over for a few more hours of shut-eye.

So technically I'm not sick. But I do have a physical ailment. A big one. Last night, as I was washing my face, my fingers probed a burgeoning pustule. The deep, painful kind that burrow all the way to the bone with the diabolical intention of never leaving. The contours of this bad boy were roughly the size of a nickel. I could see its’ outline, beginning to press through the reddened skin on my chin.
"Goddammit!" I shriek into the mirror. "Bullshit! Such bullshit." I am angry. This zit should not be here.

A few weeks prior, in the midst of a late night nacho binge, I was flipping through the channels. As I just moved to New York City, and have yet to arrange a time convenient for both the cable man and myself, my viewing was rather limited. Suddenly, Jessica Simpson's luminous face filled the screen.
"I used to have severe acne. It made me really sad."
"Oh fuck you, shallow bitch!" I yell at the screen and lick cheese from my fingers. Obviously The Surge is on tour. Jessica pouts momentarily while reliving her horrific memories of traumatic acne filled days. Then she brightens.
"But after using this product, I've had no trouble at all."
"Yeah right, you airbrushed slut!" Max lifts his head and fires a questioning look my way.
"Look at her Max," I tell my dog. "She's full of shit. It's all airbrushing." He raises an eyebrow, gives me a skeptical look before resting his chin on his front paws.
"Seriously! I saw a special on FOX! Her boobs probably don't look like that either!" Max ignores me, rolling onto his back.

Maybe Max is right. I decide to give the infomercial a chance. A half hour later I am fumbling with my nachos, the phone, and my credit card in an effort to give customer service my information. I am now the proud owner of my very own zit kit! It will be rushed to me monthly, special delivery. I'll never have zits again! I dance a little jig until Max begins barking, so I get myself to bed before the neighbors bang on the floor with a broom.

That's why the appearance of this most recent demon on my chin is so upsetting. I've been religiously cleansing, using toner, and applying lotion for weeks now. But to no avail.

Every month, as my period begins to ruin my life, acne doubles the drama and descends on my poor unsuspecting face. I sprout colassal, disgusting cystic zits. The kind you can't pop. They just crouch, angry and red on my face, digging in deeper until I can actually feel my heart pounding inside them. Zit is such an ugly word. And pus. Such appropriate names for the bane of my existence, I think as my fingers probe skin, searching for a poppable pustule. Pustule, another absolutely horrendous word. But there's nothing to pop yet. So why such a lump?

Panic sets in. I can't be seen in public with this creature hunkered down on my chin. I've got to get rid of it. That's when the idea of a little home surgery strikes me. I've been to the dermatologist. I know the ropes. I can get rid of this sucker lickety-split. All I need is some ice, a fork, matches, and a safety pin. I enlist The Surge in helping me procure the proper surgical tools.

When I reel off the list, he tosses me an I-don't-want-to-be-privy-to-your-madness look, and continues reading his book.
"Fine, be that way!" I shout as I rummage through his jacket pocket for a lighter. "I don't need your help anyway."
I stalk to the bathroom and slam the door. I assemble my surgical tools on the counter and go to work.

I use the ice to rub the lump on my chin. When it's good and numb, I run the lighter flame along the safety pin. Must properly sterilize, I'm a professional here. Then I jam the safety pin directly into the eye of the storm that's brewing on my face. I grimace through the pain, and keep pushing, only slightly disturbed to hear the needle pop through layer after layer of skin. I've got to get to the root of the problem.
"What's going on in there?" The Surge asks from the other side of the door.
"Quiet!" I snap. "Anesthesia has been administered and I'm goin' in."
"Oh jesus." I hear The Surge mutter as he retreats from my acne wrath.

I withdraw the safety pin. Blood drips down my chin. Not to worry. This is all strictly routine. I calmly blot the swelling red pool with tissues and reach for the fork. I place the tines on either side of my wound and press down on my chin like I'm making a peanut butter cookie. This forces the pus to pop between the tines to the surface of my skin without damaging the delicate top layer. See, I'm not pinching or using fingernails, I'm simply pressing. Just like Doctor Tops at the dermatologist. Except when he does it pus sprays out into his little thingamajig. For me, nothing but blood trickles into view.
"Shit." Perhaps I went in too early. Should have let the zit develop more. I recall seeing my mom, who is a nurse perform this very surgery on herself.
"I use a syringe, see. The needle is very small, doesn't leave a mark." At the time she told me this I left the room in disgust. But here I am, elbows deep in blood, trying to get this bad boy to deflate before work the next day. But it's one of those cyst suckers where only clear liquid leaks out. None of the good, substantive stuff. Maybe I didn't go in far enough. I prepare myself for the pain, then jam the needle in as far as it will go. I pull it out and spot a promising white peak. Maybe I've hit pus! I forego the fork and get in there with my fingers.

Five minutes and one very ravaged chin later I force myself to cease, desist and admit I'm dealing with a super spot. This is no garden variety zit. I've got a powerful cyst on my hands. Only problem is now I've completely turned my chin into hamburger. It looks worse than if I'd just let the cyst do it's own thing. I dump some Sea Breeze on a cotton ball and hold it to my angry chin. I can feel my heart thumping somewhere in there. Throbbing right at the root of this unrelenting bastard.

I open the door and tiptoe shamefacedly to my bedroom. Maybe I can slip into bed without The Surge noticing. He's happily reading a book on his side of the bed, lamp blazing away. Curses! Those lights will give me away. I run into the room and leap into bed, careful to keep my back toward The Surge.
"So tired." I feign a yawn. "Night."
"Let me see."
Shit. I roll toward him and remove my sodden, bloody cotton pad.
"What did you do? Try to burn it off?
"No! I tried to pop it."
"It looks terrible."
"Well I tried to fix it. Tried to clean it up and make it look nicer but I ended up digging deeper. It really looks that bad?"
He takes one look at my wobbling chin and proffers the right answer.
"Nah, I was teasing. You probably won't even see it by morning."
"Thanks baby." When I go to kiss him goodnight though he backs away.
"Lets give it time to heal. Don't want to irritate it."
"Yeah right!" I huff and roll over.

The next morning I am jarred into awareness by Max. He is on the bed, standing over me exhuberantly dragging his tongue across my chin. Back and forth, the pink muscle digs into the tasty morsel.

"Shit." This can't be a good sign. I roll out of bed and sway down the hall, stiff joints popping in the early morning quiet. I slam my toe on the hard, wet bone Max was obviously enjoying as an appetizer before he moved on to the main course of my chin.

"Fuck!" I'm definitely off to a rousing start today. I flip on the bathroom light switch and nearly keel over with shock at the monstrosity glaring back at me in the mirror. The Surge's description last night is accurate. I do indeed look like a burn victim. That's it! Maybe I can turn this into a humorous little anecdote I can share with coworkers! "I was going out with friends, we were getting ready at my house, having some pre-party drinks. My friend Natalie was curling her hair while I was putting on mascara and she backed right into me! The little bitch burned my chin! It was so funny! I guess you should have been there! Heh heh heh.. But anyway, that's why my chin is all fucked up. Isn't that a riot?"

I blink into the mirror in the desperate hope I'm still in bed dreaming up this little hell on earth that has become my chin. During 'surgery' last night I didn't realize the extent of the damage all my picking and digging had done to my skin. After eight hours of angry reddening and scabbing, the cyst had redoubled its’ effort to take over my chin. It had marshalled its’ dirt clogging forces, and to my horror I saw it had recruited two little buddy soldier zits.

"Mother of God!" I know I sound shallow, like one of these Paris Hilton types that boo-hoo over broken nails and slipping hair extensions. But have you ever tried to conduct everyday conversations with one of these monstrosities crouched on your chin? You feel obligated to point it out to everyone you come into contact with, if only to ease their burden. People that walk around in public with giant zits, or even legitimate wounds on their faces, pretending like nothing is there irk me. Stop pretending. We both know it's on our minds. Until acknowledgement of the blight, my eyes are drawn to it like a dog to peanut butter. I must stare. A simple, "check out the shiner I got when I was drunk last night", or "look at the size of the zit on my nose" puts me immediately at ease. Once acknowledgement has been made, I'm all good. I don't need to stare. We've both vocally recognized the existence of the zit/black eye/cold sore and can move forward. The catch-22 is that once you point out the problem on your face, you're effectively drawing all eyes toward it. Exactly what you don't want. Still, I'm of the opinion that they were already looking anyway, so you might as well acknowledge the blight and relieve all parties involved.

The particular problem with my current situation is that it's obvious that I've got a giant zit that I mangled by trying to pop it. A giant zit is one thing, but now people will look at me and know I had a tussle with it, and obviously came out the loser. I can't go to work. I won't be able to concentrate while my zit is trying to flag down coworkers. 'What's up boss lady? Look at me! I'm on Monica's chin. Aren't I disgusting? She never washes her greasy face, that's why I'm here! 'Hey! Hot guy in sales! Over here! We know you see us, aren't we gross? Monica spent an hour trying to pop us last night! Can't you just picture it?'

I touch the bump, desperately hoping it's ready to blow. No dice. A clear orange liquid oozes down my embarrassed chin. This won't do. I've got to be at work in two hours.

"Goddammit!" I've been awake for five minutes and so far I've uttered at least four obscenities. That's nearly one per minute, possibly a personal best. I stomp my foot on the floor and clomp to the kitchen to start the coffee. Maybe I'm overreacting. What's one or two zits? There are starving children in Africa! This sad fact has been jammed down my throat by the current onslaught of celebs with bucket loads of cash and flawless skin touting the cause. If P-Diddy, excuse me, Diddy isn't telling me to Vote or Die, Bono is barking incessantly about aids in those annoying sunglasses he insists on wearing at all times. Or that do-gooder Angelina Joli. Can someone explain to me how you can go from slobbering all over that old man, with a vial of his blood around your neck one moment to a globetrotting goodwill ambassador the next? Really, could someone at least shut up Bono already? I can't take the pressure anymore. I can't get my own life in order let alone a million kids in Africa. Why can't Bono stick to bitching about Ireland and leave it to us fucked up Americans to talk shit on the U.S.? It ain't exactly like Ireland is a thriving world power. I don't mean to take out my acne aggression on Bono and company. The recent Live 8 concert must have pushed me over the edge.

I am staring in the mirror when the light bulb above my head brightens. Actually, it's The Surge flipping on the bathroom lights around the mirror, but I have an idea too. As The Surge groggily scratches his backside, then starts the shower, I am pawing around beneath the sink in search of a box of band-aids I remember using the last time I attempted to shave the backs of my knees. Although I had nearly exhausted the supply, I think I nicked a major artery, I find just what I’m after. One of those little round guys is hiding at the bottom of the box underneath all the made for finger nuckles band-aids that never seem to get used. I set the band-aid aside, check to make sure The Surge is still in the shower (safe bet as he considers a half hour 'a quick shower') then bring out the big gun. Rubbing alcohol. I dump a liberal amount onto a cotton ball then jam it onto my super spot.

Direct pressure is key in an emergency of this magnitude. I wait through a verse of Rocket Man, The Surge has been watching American Idol again, then slowly withdraw the cotton. Quickly, I slap the band-aid on the dried zit. There! A band-aid is much better than a zit. You may think it's more distracting, but that's where you're wrong. It turns the disgusting bodily function that is a leaky zit into a mysterious injury. I can tell people the curling iron burn story, and now they might actually buy it. Maybe I was rock climbing over the weekend and banged my chin during a particularly terrifying stretch of near vertical cliff. Incidentally, I don't rock climb, but nobody needs to know that. Maybe I can say Max accidentally scratched me as we frolicked on the beach. Or the shore. Or whatever the hell it is that New Yorkers call the strip of land between the city and the ocean where hundreds of overweight, sweaty people that can't afford the Hamptons migrate for the summer.

I am startled from my reverie by The Surge emerging from the shower, a towel wrapped around his waste. He's slowly shaking his head in disbelief at the sight of my chin band-aid.
"That's it!" I shriek. "I'm calling in zit!” I march to my bed where I proceed to practice my sick voice before picking up the phone and dialing.

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    Very interesting, Great blog...Thanks!

Reader Comments (10)

Finally - a comparison to what I have felt for years when the painfully annoying cold sore takes over my lips.... leading to more than one "Calling in Zit"
September 3, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie
I get the same zits on my chin all the time. I did not think anyone else was suffering the same pain as
I do. The after shock of "Sugry" and wheather Neosporin will be better then baby rash cream for the night(Baby cream gives you a crust so thick make-up stays on the next day).

To see it in the morning is the worse if it leaks make-up will not stick, but a crust will hurt if I open my mouth the wrong way. Either way Im out of luck.

Thanks for sharing your pain.

-Pain in the Zit in TX

November 30, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterPain in the Zit!

That was a great read, I was laughing my ass off while sitting in my cube at work.

You are a good writer, keep them coming and continue to fight the good fight.

July 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBob
This is too funny. I called in Zit today.
September 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMellie
Haha thats awesome. I have a giant zit brewing on my chin as we speak and its bumming me out. I just googled the words "giant zit" and stumbled onto your page. You're a pretty good writer. I wouldn't mind getting paid to share my own personal experiences/drama/ideas. My e-mail is

Hit me up sometime if you'd like.
September 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKat
As I sat here, watching an entirely to long day tick by; I read this and laughed. My first thought was "Wow, that has got to be the saddest thing I have ever fu***** heard." Then it occured to me that my boyfriend had a the same problem with a rather relentless blemish on his ass. Right over his tailbone infact. I was quite amused by his reaction to the news and had to point him to this story. He was thrilled, thought it was funny and made the comment. "Oh screw Bono that tree hugging dipsh**." I simply laughed and urged him to keep reading. When he finished he gave me this why-the-hell? look. Of course me being the ever so sweet lady that I am, reminded him of his horrible interlude with what we now call "That thing on your ass."

The moral of this story. There isn't one. Thanks for sharing.
October 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLilly In Vancouver

i think i might have to call in zit today. i have a cystic zit right on my brow bone. it's making my eye droop pretty seriously. argh.

June 24, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkristen

I used to get these too, they take months to go away only to come back again. And, as a "picker" I would mangle my face each time. Finally went to the derm and they inject them with cortisone - gone in a few days. They also put me on an antibiotic and haven't gotten one in over a year!!

August 3, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterem

Your description is almost as good as the actual Popping of Giant Zits. Thanks!

November 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

Immediately thought of you... in the nicest way possible, of course :)

November 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

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