Acne

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acne: (n.) the occurrence of inflamed or infected sebaceous glands in the skin, characterized by red pimples, usually on the face, prevalent among teenagers.

There are so many things about acne that come to my mind that I barely know where to start.

I was not one of those people who had tremendous amounts of the skin infestation. There were people in my class in high school who appeared to have a face of acne, with occasional interruptions of real skin.

This was not me.

My face broke out around my chin and sometimes in my lip area, which was frightening enough in itself.

Somewhere around my fifteenth birthday, I became convinced that my lips were huge. Matter of fact, I would occasionally purse them when I was around young women for fear that they might think I had some Afrikaan in my ancestry. Not only was that thought bigoted, but also ridiculous when you saw my parents, who made the Pillsbury Dough Boy look like he had just come back from Jamaica.

But the thing about acne is, in a self-conscious era, an even more obvious and visible affliction is placed on you. For those who wonder if God is cruel or just has a bizarre sense of humor, the gift of acne to adolescents is an excellent example.

As a teenager, you have a self-consciousness which teeters on suicidal to begin with, and to be given a red rash all over your face, to accentuate your lack of attractiveness, might be the definition of cruel and unusual.

It didn’t help to be around adults. Adults fell into one of three categories:

1. Understanding. Now, this may sound promising, but to hear someone say “you’ll outgrow it” is like the Mama Alligator telling her young offspring that his tail will grow back after the truck ran over it and severed it. It may be true, but it’s not very comforting.

2. Remedy people. These are the adults who are positive they have the perfect solution to get rid of your acne. And it always has something to do with a medication that burns or smells like crap. Oh, and then when you smear it on your face and it actually makes the acne MORE noticeable.

3. Then there’s the third group, which was inhabited by my mother. These are the people who warn you that if you pick at your acne, especially in the area of your chin and nose, that you are in the part of the face which she referred to as “the fatal triangle,” and that you could infect yourself, send poison to your brain and die within minutes.

So as you can see, there is no hope for those who are young and afflicted by Job’s cankerous sores.

I guess the truth is, you do mostly outgrow it, even though every once in a while, I will sprout a pimple, even at my age. It does not make me feel young.

It just brings back memories … of “the fatal triangle.”

Access Road

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Access road: (n) a road giving access to a place or to another road.

About ten years ago I purchased a home perched on top of a hill.

It was very beautiful–but quite difficult to climb when it was time to settle in for the night. It was more suited for a mountain goat than an out-of-shape Pillsbury dough-boy such as myself.

So almost immediately I noticed that there was a space between the tree and the bushes in the front yard where my car could fit through, propelling me up the grade to the front door of the house, where I could walk in like a normal person. Understand–there was no actual driveway there, and I’m sure when the next-door-neighbors saw that I was driving across the front lawn to acquire entrance to my home, and were a bit perplexed, if not amused.

But I didn’t care.  I required access so I made a road.

As I travel, I often find an exit on the freeway preceded by a series of tire tracks, where someone has discovered that it was unnecessary to go all the way to the exit, because a quicker journey could be made across the median to the awaiting highway. They had created their own access road.

We have access roads for everything. In a sense, we even have access roads in life for the truth. If we can find a better exit from our dilemma other a total revelation of the facts, we will certainly hasten to escape the main drag and scurry off to safety.

So I’m not quite sure what access roads possess in the way of righteousness. They are more or less short cuts that human beings take to get from one place to another, often with little regard for maps and signs.

To try to eliminate them totally, or legislate them out of existence, would prove to be unfruitful.

Yet to believe that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line that I create may be the definition of pride and presumption.