You know how you see a really great scar on someone and catch yourself staring a little longer than you should, wondering what could have happened to have left such a mark? Or better, when it’s a friend and you finally ask and they kinda light up and say, “Oh, dude it is the best story!” When I think about that, it’s pretty ironic. Dude, let me tell you about the time that there was such an extreme amount of energy forced against my body (whether its temperature or kinetic) that caused enough damage to the structure and cells that it left permanent sub-par tissue in its place. And energy transfer resulting in an injury to result in a scar can almost, in no physical way, not cause pain. And those of us who have our own scar stories always talk about the pain. Or the blood. Or the infection. All kinds of excellent bodily excretions and functions that go along with severe injury.
But nevertheless, people love to tell their scar stories. Over and over and over. No matter how gruesome. I, for one, turned my apartment into what appeared to be a murder scene once. Victim: left hand. Scene: Doing dishes. Culprit: broken IKEA glass. Bled for: 26 hours (this is not a lie). Medical care from Student Health Services: probably sub-par, but adequate when in a pinch with blood dripping down your elbow in the waiting room. Scar: small, triangular, pillowy, white and soft.
And while that story doesn’t really fit with my thesis to why people love their scar stories (I know, right? There is a point to this), it is still my scar. My story. And sometimes when I tell it in person, it is hilarious.
People like to tell their scar stories because it’s proof they made it through something. So yeah, that kind of makes mine lame and your thinking “Wow, Katie, you’re congratulating yourself on completing one sink load of dishes?! What’s next, matching socks?” But, you could take it in a more philosophical sense of at least I was out there, living on my own, taking care of my basic needs, which I haven’t always been able to do and not everyone can/does. And think of the scuffed knees we all have. My knees are a veritable patchwork quilt of rough, scarred, discolored scars. I had many encounters with surfaces less soft than my own body as a child such as the pavement, the curb, the ball field, bricks, tree roots, walls, stairs, sharp corners, and playground surfaces. I let all kinds of foreign bodies enter my system via open wounds on the knee. And all the best/funniest/goofiest/most memorable things I did as a child? Those things earned me another scar on the knee. Because right before the scar, is when people are truly living.
And that’s not to say that you aren’t “truly living” if you have less dangerous hobbies* or are actually able to work the brakes on your bike (oh my gosh, Kim and Dad, please tell me you remember the time I up-and-overed the curb into the McKeon’s yard riding a ten speed for the first time). But scar stories are indications of times where we pushed the boundary a little bit, maybe just a little far, and we got hurt. But it was still worth it, and eventually we pride ourselves, even just a little, on the stupid things we tried. Because, hey, at least we tried. Better than tried really, because even if the outcome wasn’t exactly what we wanted, we survived it. And maybe learned from it. Or tried and failed more triumphantly later!
*I do not now, nor will I ever, consider finishing a load of dishes truly living. Unless I am hanging upside down over a riverbed filled with alligators, without the use of my hands, blindfolded, with a toothbrush, all while singing the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation theme song (Christmas Vacation by Mavis Staples– google it and for sure you will smile bunches). This would be a dish-doing adventure, scarless or not, worth sharing.
This was taken 2 weeks after the initial injury. If I had shown that picture, you would have puked. I share this one, just in case you are eating breakfast. It’s the most important meal and I don’t want to be the cause of your nutritional deficiency because you didn’t take the warning in the title seriously. I know, warnings like that only make people want to look more. That’s what I was hoping, after all.