An Ode to Zit


What a terribly wonderful word is “zit.” It encapsulates so appropriately the moniker for a pustule. It is rare, I feel, in the English language that words often sound truly appropriate to their designation. But “zit” really does it. It sounds like something that would be bursting forth with pus, irritated, erupting, bubbling bloody red and yellow. Zit. Furthermore, the fact that it so wonderfully utilizes the letter “z” is another great thing to attribute to it. So concise and vivid! When one says, “I’ve got a zit,” there is no questioning that you have just made a statement about something terrible. Even if you didn’t understand a lick of English, this declaration would be sure to instill insecurity and trembling in the listener, simply due to that condensed trio of phonetic terror, the “z” to the “eh” to the “tuh”. It’s a word loaded with loathing, dimunition, and disgust. A bullet of despair, yet with a kind of stoic pride, too. A kind of pragmatic zip, a coming to terms with the situation. “I’ve got a zit”; not, “I’ve got a pimple.” (A sort of stately evasion, an attempt at nobility.) And god knows, you ain’t sayin’, “I’ve got me a pustule.” You wouldn’t say that unless you were in the doctor’s office. No indeed, the use of the word “zit” is a kind of acknowledgment of the direness of the situation, that requires getting down into the muck of slang language to wrestle with in terms of one’s self image. It demonstrates an ability to cope, to look at the zit square in the pus, to say, “I’m gonna wait until you are ripe, and then I’m totally gonna pop you, motherfucker” kind of thing. You know what I mean. It’s just a totally inappropriately appropriate word, like “motherfucker” or “douche-bag.” And don’t even get me started on those ones.

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

2 thoughts on “An Ode to Zit”

  1. Totally. I’d thought to include “blemish” in my list, but I then realized that if anyone actually used such a word anymore, they were already hopelessly lost.

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