Tarnished Vanity

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Tarnished Vanity

It was an itch on my right cheek.

I scratched the itch.

Another itch came to my other cheek.

I scratched that itch.

Other itches came to the face near the eyes.

I scratched those itches.

I was sitting in a hotel bar with friends

The friends noticed my discomfort.

“Are you okay?” a friend asked.

“Excuse me, I must go,” I said.

I left the table and went to the Men’s Room.

I looked in the mirror.

Red blotches covered my face.

The itches started on my chest.

I was mortified!

I went to my hotel room.

The itches continued.

I became frantic.

I went to the nearest hospital emergency room.

The intern told me I had Hives!

Who knew!

I never had hives in my life.

The intern called it ‘CIU’.

‘Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria’

Fancy Medical terminology.

‘C-lasting over 6 weeks’

‘I-no one knows the cause’.

‘U-medical word for Hives’.

The intern gave me a shot.

Gave me a prescription for medication.

My CIU was gone in 3 days.

Over the next six months,

I had new breakouts of CIU.

Treatment, the same:

Emergency Room.

Medication.

Gone in three days.

Okay, I know this likely has very little interest to most of the readers. However, at the time, I was into acting: doing TV commercials, some stage and film work, plus modeling. My humility notwithstanding, the vanity did come into play. Hives (CIU) had never been a remote part of my consciousness and it scared the proverbial daylights out of me.

As a teenager I had acne issues, at the time a most serious intrusion into my young life. It was a mild intrusion but I made it much too big in my high school years. There were several young ladies I wanted to pursue, a lovely majorette and a cheerleader, and it had reached my ears that they wanted to date me… I even got up enough courage to ask the majorette out for a movie date, got ‘cold feet’ by the time the date day came around and stood her up. Going to her school locker the next Monday, she passed me with her eyes fixed on the ceiling, letting me know she hated me.

Later, while in the Navy and home on leave, I had my date with the majorette. At least, she no longer hated me.

When my Navy years were behind me, my face all clear of pimples, I became a womanizer and lotus eater of sorts…living, as they say, in the ‘fast lane’.

Somewhere along the line I grew up and became more responsible. In my life. Looking back on those teen and pre-teen years, there were a lot of emotional obstacles. I was easy prey for zit time…it was just an added default position.

If young people are reading this and going through the zit-period, try to keep your sanity. The zits will go, and that’s a promise!

Billy Ray Chitwood – October 15, 2016

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