Telltale signs

I was listening to an interesting story on mapping on This American Life today, and it gave me the idea of writing the short story or a novella in which a protagonist’s life is told through the scars on his or her body.  A series of keystone events in the protagonist’s life with a scar associated to each. Maybe a little contrived, but it might work for a short piece.

It also caused me to think about the scars and other imperfections on my body and map them out as well. They tell quite a story.

Here is a list of my scars, listed chronologically:

  • A double scar on my forehead, the first caused by a fall when I was two-years old.  My mother reported that I came out of my bedroom dripping in blood and screaming bloody murder. She was never able to determine the cause of the injury.
  • A two-inch scar on my right forearm, the result of a bicycle-on-barb-wire collision when I was ten years old.
  • A one-inch scar on my left wrist, the result of catching an exposed nail during a fall from a hay loft.
  • A two-inch scar in the palm of my hand, the result of an unsanctioned game of knife tossing at a Boy Scout fishing event.
  • A misshapen right pinkie finger, the result of numerous breaks. As a member of a drum corps in high school, we spent much of our free time attempting to smack each other in the groin with a drum stick. The natural reaction to such an attack is to block such a blow with your hand, and the result was at least half a dozen broken pinkie fingers.
  • Two one-centimeter long scars on my left index finger’s knuckle, the result of missing someone’s face in a high school fight and busting through a window instead.
  • The second forehead scar, covering much of the first, the result of a car accident when I was seventeen. My head went through the windshield, embedding glass in my forehead. For the next ten years, I pulled shards out from time to time, once just to silence a disbelieving friend and another in algebra class. At least one shard still remains embedded today.
  • A scar across my chin, the result of my mouth’s impact with the steering wheel during the same accident. My bottom row of teeth was knocked out in the process, and though eventually wired down and re-rooted, one tooth was swallowed and never recovered.
  • A six-inch scar on my right knee, the result of the collision between my knee and an air conditioning unit in the same car accident.
  • Two half-inch round scars on my left knee, opposite one another, the result of the post from the emergency brake sliding straight through my leg in the same car accident.
  • Three small, round scars on the back of my right hand, the result of grease splattering on my hand while working at McDonald’s.
  • A scar on the top of my head, only visible when my hair is wet, the result of a swimming accident when I was twenty years old. I smacked my head into the side of a pool and was rushed to the hospital by Bengi. Twenty staples closed the wound.
  • A misshapen right thumb, the result of closing it in a safe door, the most painful experiences of my life. I literally asked to be put out of my misery on the way to the hospital.

I haven’t added to my scar collection in almost ten years and am trying hard to keep it that way.