Blame it on Kimmel
My name is Tracy and I’m a Popaholic. I blame it on Jimmy Kimmel.
My addictive personality tells me I need to take responsibility of what I can control. (Guess I could have not turned on the TV that night?) All I know is before Dr. Sandra Lee appeared on the host’s late night talk show, I had no idea who Dr. Pimple Popper was.
Her pseudo name, mixed with his staff reactions to her viral YouTube videos, piqued my curiosity. A quick Google search unearthed my new obsession.
Pow. Pop. Splat. A treasure trove of acne gold. Blackheads. Ingrown hairs. Pimples. And the holy grail. Cysts.
Serotonin oozes from my brain, synchronized with the pus oozing from infected cyst sacs on my computer screen. Deep breaths of surprise in cadence with off-camera gasps. Onlookers witnessing dead skin squeezing out of healthy cysts with cottage cheese consistency before the sac presents itself to be exorcised.
One hour turns to two. Two to four. Not just one time. Night after night. I can’t get enough. Absorbing—hanging, really—on every word she says. Until I convince myself, I can do that. If necessary, I’ve learned enough to help a fellow cyst sufferer in a pinch.
“Use the scalpel. Make the slice bigger.” I yell at the screen. “Nothing is coming out. Squeeze it from a different angle. There you go. Use the scissors to break up the goo.”
I hold my breath. Knowing it’s about to blow. “C’mon. C’mon.” I whisper like a greased virgin anticipating the climax in a porn movie.
One month and one hundred hours of wasted time leaves me bored. Annoyed. I grow impatient of Dr. Lee’s constant questions. Always in a raised octave.
“You okay? You’ll let me know if it hurts, okay? Cuz we don’t want to hurt you, m’kay?” The sing-song of her voice and chronic muffled dinging of her office bell interrupts my flow until I can’t take it anymore. I’m a popper junkie looking for a new high.
Dr. Derm snags my attention. His juicy pops—look up Exploding Idaho Potato if you dare—defy imagination. Glub. Glub. Glub. Dead skin clumps, submerged in murky keratin liquid, shoot out of an old woman’s back and land next to two holes. One, an incision Derm sliced. The other, a decades old exit wound torn open from the pressure.
It’s dirty. Yet, still too clean. I move on to amateur videos. A plethora of shaky camera work fixated on dirty fingernails wrapped around swollen red skin of a family member. Squeals of delight from the peanut gallery. The obligatory dog pacing the floor below, hoping for a scrap of skin.
I’m starting to realize I have a problem. It’s become an obsession. Like alcohol once did, my brain fixates on when I can get in the next pop. At the traffic light? After I finish this paper? At bedtime?
Controlled popping. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll only watch popping on weekends. Or during the week. But only blackhead videos. Those aren’t too bad. Unless it’s an earlobe blackhead. Mmm yeah. Those are good ones.
When this doesn’t work, I limit my popping to four videos. Every day, I’ll only watch four videos, and then I’ll turn it off. Sadly, the fourth video never ends with closure. Seductively ineffective. Bad camera angle. Or stopping before the sac is exhumed.
“It’s right there.” Rewind to the last 30 seconds. Pointer finger shaking at the screen. Screaming at the faceless fingers and the cameraman simultaneously. “Finish the job. Pull out the sac.” What am I to do but continue for another hour. Or two. Or four.
I know you can resolve almost any problem using the 12 steps by replacing the word alcohol with any issue.
Step 1 — Am I powerless over popping? Has my life become unmanageable due to popping?
Last night, I wasn’t getting my work done. Up late. Engrossed in massive zit explosions. Then I woke up in the middle of the night. Immediately started watching another compilation marked 15 Grossest Pimple-Popping Videos of All Time. Figuring out in my mind, how long can I reasonably watch and still get enough sleep to function tomorrow? Powerless.
Is popping making my life unmanageable? Well, this paper you’re reading right now? It was due last Tuesday. So, what’s your analysis?
It might be time to say those three little words. I need help.
If I end up back in treatment for this, I’m sending the bill to Jimmy Kimmel.