I have a disease.

Namely, I notice moles and beauty marks. All moles and beauty marks.

It’s an awful thing, and I blame my older brother. When I was a kid, growing up on the mean streets of Mahopac, N.Y., I had a protruding brown beauty mark located beneath my nose. It was big and ugly, and I friggin’ hated it. My brother—sensing an opening as only a brother does—nicknamed me “Mark,” and called me it time after time after time. It was dreadfully painful, and scarred me for a long time. Eventually, I grew a goatee to cover the thing. Then, about 12 years ago, I had it sliced off. Sweet relief.

The mark is gone. But the scars remain. Now, I notice every fucking beauty mark. Really, I do. In front of me, behind me, to the left, to the right. They’re everywhere. We all have them. Hell, I remember in high school, this one guy who sat in front of me in class had three diamond-shaped beauty marks on the back of his neck. At our reunion a few years ago, I looked and they were still there. Wacky.

I blame my brother for this.