I hate to say the word but I will. Pimples. There.

Now, I will spend the rest of this piece searching for words that I can use in its stead.

Who gets sore bumps at this stage? Fifty years have passed since they were ruining my classmates’ lives and not making mine particularly comfortable either.

I understand the dings that come with the territory. The age spots, splotches and the various dermatological joys courtesy of the earth, sun, wind and other weather.

Beauty marks? Those we neither bargain for nor welcome. They sneak in when we are asleep and stay long past our waking hours.

It could be worse. These could be warts that turn into melanoma that turn into death. I feel lucky not to have any of those yet, especially the last one.

Rather than whiteheads, these are more like tanheads. Usually, they appear one at a time, something for which I should be grateful. Better one than a brigade.

It usually goes like this. A tanhead choses my forehead on which to plant its flag. There is plenty of room. The north 40, the south 40 and the 40 in between the 40.

I find myself putting my finger on the bump in order to check its status. I know this is wrong and that attention probably encourages progress. I can’t help it though. I have to know if this moon is waxing or waning.

I wonder if people are looking at me (how can they not be?) and what they are thinking.

"How can he walk around with that? You would think he’d be past that stage. Thank goodness it’s him and not me."

There might be a way to sneak through this because most people have a good side. One side of their face is more winsome than another. The problem is that when the bump positions itself in the center of your forehead, the only good side is the back of your head.

That entails having to enter rooms backwards, conducting conversations with your face turned toward the wall or only coming out at night like Phantom of the Opera.

Hats help but unless the style includes a small, round cut out so the tanhead can breathe, each time the hat goes up and down, the brim rubs against the bump producing a surprisingly unpleasant sensation that reminds you that all is not well.

Given that men are doers, what can I do besides throwing in the dermatological towel? I could try to eliminate it by performing the sort of homespun surgery that people in this situation have been doing forever.

Grab, pinch, squeeze and grunt, when the squeezing does not prove as effective as one would hope.

Rarely does this work but rather given that you have increased the flow of oxygenated blood to the area, you might as well have drawn a circle around it with a Sharpie.

Best to let it ride. Best to wait. Best to take your lumps on top of your lumps.

Live long enough and you get good at that. Live long enough and you will experience everything. Live long enough and you will see the good, the bad and certainly the ugly. That shouldn’t be comforting but it is.

Herb Benham is a columnist for The Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at hbenham@bakersfield.com or 395-7279.

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