An Admirer of Acne
by Gustav Hasford

Sometimes people are like gold coins he ate when he was a boy.  You peel off the gold and the gold coin is only a piece of chocolate wrapped in tinfoil.
    Underneath the skin are hundreds of tiny oil sacs called sebaceous glands.  As oil forms in this gland, it forms sebum, a thick white substance.  Due to causes not understood, sebum creates blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and abscesses—your basic comedones, papules, pustules, which create scars.
    A woman walks toward him—right at him.  The woman is tall, slender, with tanned legs and forty-five inch breasts.  She is beautiful.
    His eyes watch her face.  He thinks… Maybe this one…
    There is great distinction in having pimples, he believes.  It takes a long time to grow a full face of pimples.  It takes years of pain to squeeze simple blackheads into authentic scars.
    The woman comes nearer and nearer.  His hopes shrivel up and pass away.  The woman is only a girl.  Only sixteen or seventeen.  It takes more than seventeen years to develop a skin condition awful enough to nullify being beautiful.
    The girl slows, stops, smiles.
    He stares out across the hard surface of the ocean until she walks away.
    They try too hard, he thinks.  And it shows.
    They punch holes in their faces with needles or ice picks, and fill the punctures with India ink or powdered charcoal.  It never works.  God can make trees, but only time can make a scar.  And any good zit man can spot a fake a mile away.
    He waits.
    He reads magazines.  He looks at the pictures in TITS AND ZITS and PIMPLES AND DIMPLES and BLACKHEADS AND BLONDES.
    Someday she’ll come.  Someday he’ll find someone to share his Noxzema with.  She’ll be sincere.  She’ll be a woman, hideous and fine.

 

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