Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Over the years I've acquired a modest collection of scars. Not that many, I suppose, but each one has a story behind it.

Right knee.  When I was three years old I saw a circus show on TV. So I went out and was playing circus on the swing set. Somehow I got my knee jammed up beneath a sharp metal edge. Result: a big broad scar which is quite obvious to this day.

Right bicep.  At age six I got the chicken pox, and it left a chicken pox scar on my right bicep. My brother caught the chicken pox from me, and he got a chicken pox scar above one eyebrow.

Left ring finger.  When I was eight I noticed a broken glass jar lying in the gutter at the curb. I picked it up and cut my finger on it, leading to a scar on the side of the middle joint of my left ring finger. (Yes, I'm left-handed.)

Right knee again.  When I was a junior in high school I was running in a cross-country meet, and part way through I slipped and fell, banging my right knee on a rock. I didn't think anything of it until I was coming up toward the finish line and a friend called out, "Hey Paul, what happened to your leg?" Once I got across the finish I looked down and saw my right shin covered in blood. Another big broad scar for my right knee.

Scalp.  Age 36, I got dragooned into helping carry metal clothing racks in a department store and put them in storage in a room beneath a stairwell. (Long story.) The racks were stacked up two high, which was not a very stable arrangement, and all of a sudden someone yelled, "Look out!" Too fast for me to react, one of the racks on the top level teetered over, like "Timber!" Right into my skull, 50 pounds of metal falling from three or four feet. Right side of my scalp, toward the back, was bleeding all over the place. It took seven stitches. I can feel the furrow in my scalp back there to this day. Only wonder is, I wasn't injured any worse.


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