I mentioned a few days ago that my dad got through his surgery with flying colors, no complications, and a mighty war wound to show for it.  The question of what caused the cancer in the first place runs from “lack of sunscreen” to “#*@#ing tobacco”, and in all honesty, it’s a coin-toss: either one has been a factor for several years more than I’ve been alive.

Said wound runs right from the end of his lower lip to his chin, so it’s going to be quite the rakish scar when everything heals up, and I’m gratified to hear the tone of his voice when he says “this is the last one” — he means it, and I know that because I know the tones of my own voice, which are often his.

The LOVEly close-up picture my mom sent of the stitches got me thinking about the little wounds and scars we pick up over the course of a lifetime.  My list should be relatively short: I’ve never had any kind of major surgery — four wisdom teeth, and that’s it. No appendix or tonsil problems, no compound fractures (no bone breaks of any kind, actually, except for two that I didn’t realize were breaks until long after they’d healed).

And I’ve never been a cutter.  I don’t even understand that particular angst expression.

So… head to toe, here’s the list.

  • Right at the very very  top of my head.  I fell head-first out of my bunk bed in the middle of the night and collided skull first with a cast iron International Harvester toy tractor that looked exactly like this.  I seem to remember bleeding.
  • Just to the left of the spot on the back of your skull where you have to shoot Syler to kill him. Pretty sure that was a chicken pox scar that I simply refused to stop scratching.  Don’t scratch, kids.
  • Forehead, two inches (my)left of center, star-shaped.  I was trying to pedal my red Schwinn Stingray (god what a great bike) up a steep gravel road for the first time.  I lost momentum, started to tip over, stubbornly refused to give up pedaling to – you know – catch myself, and plowed face first into the gravel.  Blood everywhere.
  • Right temple. Another chicken pox scar I wouldn’t leave alone, this one subcutaneous.
  • Left cheek, just below the eye. Three faint parallel lines. From a girl in high school who tried to slap me (I deserved it, I imagine) and instead caught me with her demonic claws.
  • Right under my chin. And inch-long scar where my whiskers don’t grow.   How should I explain this?  I was three years old. I went into my grandparents bathroom, covered most of my face with shaving cream, grabbed my granddad’s safety razor (which looked EXACTLY like this), tucked my chin up in the air as I had seen the men in my family do dozens of times, and sank that fucking razor into my chin right up to the bone.  Then there may have been some crying.
  • Left hand, thumb, bottom-most knuckle, top side.  The scar perfectly spells out “Hi” – entirely accidental. My foot slipped off a bike pedal while I was hauling ass to a class in college. In a stunning bit of nimble bad luck, the newly-freed foot shot forward, lodged itself in the spokes of my front wheel, and brought my bike to an abrupt halt. I, on the other hand, went sailing over the handlebars, somersaulted, and landed on my back in the middle of the street.  Then the bike landed on me.  Except for the scrape on my thumb, I didn’t have a mark on me.
  • Left hand, thumb, bottom-most knuckle, bottom side. A half-inch long scar that I got while breaking up a dog fight last year.  The little dog was in the big dog’s mouth and, unable to reach the big dog, reached me. Repeatedly.
  • Right hand, thumb, bottom-most knuckle, top side. A half-inch long scar that I got while moving into my current house.  That’s all I know — I didn’t even realize I’d gotten cut, then I looked down and there was a damn trough gouged out of my hand.
  • Right knee. Perfect blue dot.  It’s not exactly a scar, but it is a permanent mark.  In high school, someone jammed a pencil into my kneecap. The graphite marked my skin at that ‘tattoo’ level where it always shows, but never fades.
  • My feet.  Man… where do I start?  I’ve got a long one on the top of my right foot from the time the rain-slicked brakes on my road bike gave out and I plowed into a bike rack at full speed (late for another class), but most of the more recent and shinier ones are from the dog fight I broke up.  I was barefoot at the time and my hand wasn’t the only thing the little bastard got hold of.   I also have a really nice one right on the bottom  of my foot from when I stepped SQUARE on a protruding ring shank nail when I was about six.  That scene from Army of Darkness, when he steps on the nail? That was me. Damn thing went right through my work boot and up through my foot; it’s a wonder it didn’t come out the top.  Also? Ring shanks are designed to be hard to withdraw.  Ow.

Is that it?  Probably not, but I think those are the main ones.  Reviewing the list, I think the key takeaways are:

  • I simply shouldn’t ride bikes. I got off to a bad start, and I have not demonstrated learning behavior at any point since.
  • I have really poor awareness of where my extremities are.  Honestly, it’s a wonder I didn’t end up on one of those cautionary Farm Safety videos when I was a kid.  “Remember kids: don’t leave your hand resting on the thresher.”
  • I was late to class a lot in college.  Stupid, yet karmic-apt things happened as a result.

How about you? What kind of evidence-you-shouldn’t-be-here are you carrying around?