When I was a little kid — I’m sure partly because I couldn’t see all that well — I fell a lot. Then I got glasses, but by then I’d learned that what hurts heals and you get to have a SCAR! “Be proud,” my dad said, “scars show you’ve had adventures.” I guess that’s one way to get your kid to stop 1) crying and 2) picking at her sore.
I have a lot of them on my legs, relics of bike accidents, playground fiascos, fences almost — but not quite — cleared. Each one has a story and some of the stories go back to before kindergarten.
There is a scar from an art accident — never underestimate the danger of art, especially when you use your left hand where you ought to have a vice or C-clamp and there is a carving tool in your right.
Of course after being hit by a truck and landing on your face on the curb, there’s going to be a little damage — 14 stitches in my upper lip. It was a pick-up truck, I was on a bicycle, and I think the guy’s mirror swiped me and knocked me off my bike. I don’t think he ever knew, in any case, he didn’t stop… Luckily, my brain wasn’t damaged, but I lived through a surreal couple of weeks while the concussion, the bruises, cuts and stitches healed.
Just before I went to China in 1982, I got appendicitis, so there’s a record of that — not the little record people get today but the old-school three inch evidence.
In my 50s, pure vanity, I had surgery to remedy genetics (varicose veins) and ended up with 18 little scars on my right calf. The funny part about that is that I had to clean and dress those little wounds, but wounds on myself make me faint so I sat on the bathroom rug and tended one wound, passed out, came to, and did the next.
Most dramatic is the 12 inch beauty on my right hip/thigh where they opened me up to install new parts for a hip joint.
There’s a tiny scar on my face where Moh’s Sander removed layer by layer of cancerous skin. I’m sure there will be more of those as time unfolds.
Some scars are invisible — worn out joints, broken (and repaired) teeth, scars of the psyche, but you know, philosophically I’m with Sonny Steele (played by Robert Redford) the protagonist in Sydney Pollock’s great film, Electric Horseman.
“I been hurt. I still get up.”