Thursday, October 14, 2010

Are scars really scary?

I've cut myself--on more than one occasion. Usually it is from doing some sort of work gone wrong, and almost always some sort of reminder is left behind. It seems the older I get, the more scars I collect.
Most of my scars came from my days in college when I was working at a grocery store. We would use box cutters, which are basically razor blades encased in a metal shell with the tip of the blade sticking out, and if you were not paying attention, the result could be unpleasant. I have a scar that runs down my left forearm from an experience of a case of good box cutting gone bad.
I also have a pretty decent scar on my left thumb from when I worked in the meat department. Let me just say that the knives in the meat department are rather sharp. One little slip and "Oops, there goes part of my thumb."
Some of my scars were not self inflicted. When I was around 10 or so, we learned that if you threw metal tipped darts at the asphalt street when it was dark, it could sometimes cause a visible spark. We also learned you could freak people out by throwing the darts near their feet. One of the neighbor boys turned out to be a pretty bad aim because one of his throws ended up stuck into my right shin. It stuck there pretty well, too.
Sometimes scars are from accidents when doing something nice for someone else. We had a foster brother when I was younger. I must have been 4 or 5 at the time. He was awesome. He loved to play with us. One thing we liked to do is have him grab us by our ankles and swing us around. He was swinging me one day and misjudged how close I was to a corner of the wall. I remember the trip to the hospital and I still have the scar on my forehead as a reminder.
What got me to think about this subject was something that happened on my anniversary this week. My wife and I went out to celebrate our 19th anniversary. I know! Can you believe anyone has put up with me for 19 years? Anyway, as we were holding hands, I noticed that she, too, had a few scars that were not there when we first were married.
These could have come from any number of projects she and I have tackled over the years (but that's a whole other story). Here is one I remember: I was on the computer, probably writing, or re-writing something for The Hidden Sun when I heard my wife call my name from the kitchen. She didn't use that tone of voice very often, and usually only when there is something significant happened (like when her water broke during her last pregnancy).
In this case, she had been washing the dishes and a glass pie plate broke in half, and in the process, cut a pretty deep slice into her thumb. She couldn't bring herself to look at it. I sat her down, and calmly I had her lift her other hand so I could see the cut. When I saw bone, I figured we better get to the hospital. It all turned out fine, but the scar remains.
What came to me on our anniversary was this: scars come from something that at the time can cause quite a "scare"--which is just the word "scar" with an "e" at the end. But then my mind started playing, as it tends to do, and I thought to myself, "Self, what if I were to move the 's' from the beginning of 'scare' to the end of the word. I'd end up with 'cares'". (My mind does stuff like that from time to time)
After figuring that out, I looked again at my wife's hands and didn't see scars. Instead, I saw evidence of how much she "cares" for me and our family.

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