The Zit Peppered Side

I looked through the peephole and it wasn’t Lou.  It was some kid--an older kid, if he qualified as a kid, and if he didn’t, then he qualified as a young man.  You might say that’s a given, but when I think “young man” I think of some Harvard freshmen from the 1940s.  Some preppy type.  Pressed suit, polished shoes.  But this “kid” on the other side of my peephole looked more like a hell-raiser, a tobacco abuser, an underage drinker.  He looked like a high school dropout.  Possibly illiterate.  (There is a sign on my door.  It reads:  NO SOLICITORS).  And he had rung my doorbell.  This punk did.  Twice.  

I opened my eyes anyway.  I mean, I opened the door anyway.  And, yes, when I opened the door, my eyes were open--not that having them open helped the least bit.  Had I kept them closed I would’ve likely stumbled down the stairs and snapped my neck.  It would’ve ended my life, or left me a quadriplegic, but it would’ve saved me twenty bucks.  This is what you do when you don’t get enough sleep:  you open doors you should leave shut.  Only when you’re sleepy, your common sense slips.  And you open those doors.  Physical and metaphysical doors.  But the door in question, my front door, the one that leads into my house, unfortunately, for me, was, and remains, quite physical.  To be clear, my guard, at the time, was down.  My eyes were heavy.  So was the door.  Creaky, too, but I like creaky--or squeaky, if you prefer--doors.  Creaks and squeaks make a house somehow more authentic, I say.  With enough creaks and squeaks, nobody can sneak in and nobody can sneak out.  And this punk kid on my front stoop?  Sneaky.  Real sneaky.  Yes, yes, maybe more sneaky because I was sleepy.  But thank God the house creaky.  

Acne covered one side of his face.  As if he only washed the other side.  I don’t remember anything about the other side--the “clean” or “cleaner” side of his face, that is--but it must’ve been clear of zits.  I know this because I noted it in my notepad.  I wrote:  “He had acne on one side of his face.”  No observation with regard to the other side--the “clean” or “cleaner” side, that is--of his face.  I say “clean” or “cleaner” because while one side may’ve been clearly filthy (the zit peppered side), the other side may not’ve actually qualified as “clean.”  I would argue, however, that it would qualify as “cleaner” (than the zit peppered side, that is).

He wore ripped-up jeans and he reeked of cigarettes.  (As you see, I accurately pegged him, via my peephole, as a smoker.  SO THERE!  I am not entirely without credible powers of observation.)  Now:  An honest digression (one might inquire as to what qualifies as a dishonest digression, but, if you wouldn’t mind, I would prefer, at this juncture, not to digress from the digression I am about to embark upon):  Ripped-up jeans are or were (and will no doubt, if not now, someday again be) fashionable.  Indeed, when I was a lad, ripped-up jeans were, in fact, in fashion; way back then, however, one had to rip one’s jeans up all on one’s own.  These days, or in days recently past, one could, or can, as you probably well know, purchase brand-new jeans in ripped-up condition.  (One wonders if battered, rust-bucket Fords and Chevys will one day sell at a premium.)  Not long ago--say two weeks from last Thursday--my stepfather purchased a pair of designer ripped-up jeans (ripped-up, in all likelihood, by starving children in some dingy Indian sweatshop).  From the retailer, he proceeded to a tailor.  There, he paid to have all the rips patched up.  True story.  End of digression (or, at least, end of this digression--that is, end of this, if you will, “honest” digression.)

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