top of page


This month, Jeffrey Zalles turns a pimple on his face into a political statement.

It’s gospel among writers that the most important part of a book or article is the first paragraph. It’s there that the reader will either be motivated to read on or not.

I’ve wanted to write about high drug prices for some time, but never quite found the “hook” that would make my letter interesting and unique. I felt that a letter that began something like “Thanks to our politicians in Washington, we pay more for prescription medications than any other developed country on Earth” would elicit a reader response of “So tell me something I don’t already know.”

When I went to the pharmacy to pick up an overpriced prescription, a light in my head went on. Once I came up with the hook-in first sentence, the rest flowed easily. Once again, the key is to write about an experience you have when you have it. Whether you’re in a situation that upsets or elates you, think at that moment how you can make a political point out of your experience.

Here’s the piece:

I have this little pimple on my face, and I’m angry!

My dermatologist told me it’s probably from a hair follicle that got trapped when I shaved. She prescribed an antibiotic cream to treat it. Sounds simple enough, but when I went to pick up the small tube of cream at the pharmacy, I was hit with a charge of $75 – and that’s AFTER insurance. I complained to the pharmacist, who replied that the same product would probably cost around $19 in Canada.

You ask; Why am I angry? I’m sick and tired of being screwed by our medical system. And I’m outraged that politicians like Senators Burr and Tillis have done absolutely nothing about it. Ever wonder why? I checked online and found that Senator Tillis has so far received $238,873 from pharmaceutical companies for his 2020 reelection campaign, only to be outdone by Senator Burr, who received a whopping $453,581 in 2016.

We have a choice. We can keep getting screwed, or we can vote these corrupt politicians out of office. I’ve made my choice, and, incidentally, I chose to pass on the overpriced cream and will use Neosporin instead.

--Jeff Zalles


bottom of page