Zoe is angry at me because I wouldn’t let her miss school today just because she has a ginormous zit that has set up camp on the tip of her nose.
I felt awful for her because having “been there, done that” too many times to count in my own youth, I knew exactly where she was coming from. Who among us has not suffered a similar fate back in high school? One minute, everything’s fine and you’re busy fiddling with your walkman, singing your lungs out to Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, fixing your shoulder pads and emptying a bottle of AquaNet into your hair and then WHAM! All of sudden, you are the second coming of Rudolph and you’re panicking because you know you won’t be allowed to play in any reindeer games.
And for those of you sitting there and acting all cool, because you wouldn’t have been caught dead belting out You take the grey skies out of my way, You make the sun shiner brighter than Doris Day, I just have one word for you: LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE. Now go stand in the corner and shout Don’t leave me hanging on like a yo-yo at thirty second intervals and think about how your actions affect others. And then go douse your pants.
Now, for the rest of us who are not ashamed to admit to a little dose of George Michael every now and then … emulating Rudolph sucks, no?
But I couldn’t let her stay home from school because she’s an honor roll student and if genetics have anything to say about it, this will probably not be an isolated incident and if she stays home every time it happens, she’ll be getting her GED about the same time she qualifies for social security.
Why can’t genetics just shut up for once? Maybe then, I wouldn’t have to take cholesterol meds or hem all my pants with duct tape or pay $30 for an industrial strength bra or have a pound of bone shaved off my nose before I could legally drink.
Stupid genetics. Boo on you.
I tried to talk to Zoe about feeling her pain but talking to Zoe under these kinds of circumstances is kind of like having a conversation with a volcano. You can talk and talk and talk to your heart’s content and it will just sit there, stoic and silent, with bits of steams escaping every so often until all of a sudden, it blows its top and goes all Mt. St. Helens on your ass, after which, it will simply fume and ignore you for the next couple of decades.
Remember what it was like to be fifteen? Show me a teenager who thinks her parents had a life before she came into it and I’ll show you a teenager who thinks texting is the work of Satan. As far as my own fifteen year old self was concerned, my mother teleported to earth the day I was born, complete with credit cards and a Buick and mad culinary skills, having never experienced life as an embryo or infant or toddler or tween or teenager. What the hell did she know about zits?
But nevertheless, I tried.
I was all “Zoe, I know you think it’s horrible but every single kid in school will go through this, you are not alone” and she was all “NO YOU DON’T, MY LIFE IS OVER.”
And I was all “I used to get acne like this when I was young, I know how awful it feels” and she was all “NO YOU DON’T, I MIGHT AS WELL DROP OUT OF SCHOOL AND MOVE TO SPACE.”
But when I was all “Zoe, it sucks, it truly does, I know exactly how you feel” and she was all “NO YOU DON’T, YOU NEVER HAD TO WALK AROUND WITH YOUR FACE ALL MESSED UP, I WANT TO DIE,” then I had to draw the line.
A big, fat, thick, enormous black line with a jumbo black, permanent Sharpie.
I don’t know what it’s like to walk around with an abomination of nature on my face?
Oh No, She Di -Int.
Excuse me, Zoe … have you met my face?
Need I remind you of Bernice?
Who could forget Bernice? The cold sore that parked her ass on my lip on July 4, 2008 and within six hours, blew my lip up to what you see here. Not only did she triple the size of my lip, but she also gave birth to multiple leaking blisters and canker sores. This would be the same Bernice who thereafter turned the inside of my mouth to raw hamburger, causing my entire face and neck to swell and ache for three of the longest weeks of my life.
Now, let’s meet Bernice’s younger sister, Millicent.
Millicent moved in yesterday. This was two hours after onset. I have no idea how long Millicent intends to suck the life force out of me, but I’m guessing my lip will be entering a room five seconds before the rest of me does for at least two weeks.
And who could forget my thrilling bout with Bell’s Palsy, when the entire right side of my face became paralyzed and drooped lower than my boobs? And I had to walk around drooling and holding my eyelid open? For six weeks?
So yes, I do know what it’s like to walk around with a neon billboard stapled to my forehead flashing FREAK OF NATURE.
But life goes on and as much as I would have liked to have stayed in bed in lieu of a face transplant, I still had to go grocery shopping, to playdates, to the kids’ schools, to meetings, to swimming, to restaurants, to parties, to holiday dinners and, the best part of all, a July 4th picnic which coincidentally, occurred at exactly six hours after Bernice’s arrival, five minutes after that first photo was taken. Whoo hoo!
But, apparently, because I’m not fifteen and didn’t have to go to Global Studies at 7:30 a.m., I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING.