I have a 1/2 inch scar on my left hand from the exact moment I learned why C-clamps and vises are good tools. It was a strange moment. I was carving a piece of wood for some reason that I don’t remember any more. I was fifteen or sixteen, using a chisel of some kind (whose? why?) When the chisel slipped and opened up my hand between my thumb and forefinger, the cut was so clean that there was no blood. I looked straight into it at what I think was a layer of muscle.
Then I went upstairs to tell my mom, and then I fainted. My mom drove me to the doctor. The doctor quickly and neatly did what doctors do to a kid who’s carved into herself.
On the way home my mom said, “I don’t know what you were bellyaching about.”
“I could see INTO it mom.”
“It wasn’t really that bad.”
Under the bandage were two little stitches. My first stitches, and I was proud of them. I had the idea that wounds and scars were signs of a life of adventure and heroism. Since then there have been maybe a hundred more and now I know they’re usually signs of poor planning, clumsiness and physical malfunction.