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Joice loved me, “warts and all,” that is, despite defects and without (for the most part) reservation.

Warts are those “small, granny skin growths that occur most often on your fingers or hands,” although I have some on my neck. When I was a kid, I had a wart on my leg and my fellow and knowledgeable peers told me to take a bean leaf, rub it on the wart three times, and then bury it. As the leave rotted, they claimed, the wart would also gradually disappear. It didn’t happen, perhaps because I kept peeking to see how much the leaf had rotted. I also had a wart near my thumb that interfered with my baseball glove. I worked it loose and persuaded my mom to cut it off with a razor blade (kids do dumb things--I didn’t try that again!).

We didn’t have Internet then or I would have known the wart was caused by an infection with “the human papillomavirus (HPV).” I needed to soak the wart and file away the dead skin “with an emery board or pumice stone and apply salicylic acid.” I would need to do this twice a day for 12 weeks, which is difficult if the warts are on your neck.

Many of us have warts, moles, pimples, scars, or other skin defects. We are part of the real world, although a local dermatologist nearby has just the right cream (or two) for our condition. Or, if it is more serious, the problem can be removed with a sharp knife. (Of course, skin cancer or melanoma should be taken seriously and treated immediately.)

I recently had a small portion of my right ear removed because of skin cancer. It took three tries with the dermatologist’s knife to get it all and 3 weeks to heal. Mike Tyson, who was a heavyweight boxer and very serious (and excited) about fighting, once got very close to an opponent’s ear and bit a chunk out of it. I understand that later he had a problem finding rivals.

I note that many actors keep large moles on their faces as an identity factor. If you watch movies, you may be surprised at how many moles or scars are visible on the faces of such stars. And while some have facelifts, moles don't seem to bother them much. They have exceptional talent, so why worry about a mere mole?

Actor Danny Trejo, whom I know nothing about, has his entire face riddled with scars “from acne pock marks to dents left by other boxers' fists. Once he made it onto a film set, those scars became his bread and butter.” I found this out by looking up “Which actor has a scar on his face?” Isn’t the Internet a wonderful source of information? And scars as “bread and butter?” An interesting and perhaps inappropriate and greasy idiom.

In warfare or other nefarious activities, a mole may be a person hidden behind enemy lines. He/she is there to help by infiltrating the ranks of an adversary. (There is also a game called “Mole Warfare,” which has 60 levels of activity to help you blow up your enemy.)

I think real cowboys have scars, not tattoos. And famous convicts often have mega-scars, sliced from cheek to jowl as it were. I have seen photos of Buck, Duke and Buster, each with prominent scars, not from acne but rather the result of big and sharp knife fights. However, Buck claimed that his scar, which ran from his upper lip in a circular and jagged pattern to just below his left eye, was from “brass knuckles.” Alpha men (less often women) with bold scars don’t need DNA Repair kits or surgery. They are proud of their scars.

There is a movie called “Scarface,” which Wikipedia reports as “a 1983 American crime drama film directed by Brian De Palma and written by Oliver Stone. Loosely based on the 1929 novel of the same name and serving as a loose remake of the 1932 film, it tells the story of Cuban refugee Tony Montana (Al Pacino), who arrives penniless in Miami during the Mariel boatlift and becomes a powerful and extremely homicidal drug lord.” I don’t think I want to see Scarface, although it is claimed to be “one of the greatest gangster films ever made.”

I won’t say much about pimples, but if you give someone goose pimples, their hair is going to stand on end. They will be excited, nervous, fearful, and probably run from you. I thought you gave people goose “bumps,” which are larger and may cause more anxiety than a mere pimple.

Many teenagers have pimples that become zits. There is a difference between the two. Pimples are the result of hormonal changes and blocked pores while zits are often caused by stress, poor diet, or improper skin care. Zits are the result of clogged glands and are embarrassing to a teenager. The comic strip “Zits” by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman features a “self-absorbed teenager, as he endures the insecurities, hormones and hilarity of adolescence.” However, it is not likely that many teenagers would think that zits are hilarious.

I have skipped dermatitis, psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, hives, athlete’s foot, candidiasis, shingles, and cold sores. A good thing too because if you are like me, you are probably itching by now. I had better stop, get some cream, and make an appointment with my dermatologist.

Karl Franklin


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