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Chicks DO Dig Scars
Well, at least I do. Iíve seen lots Ė from minor to major, from feet to scalp. Busted noses, lumpy knuckles, missing fingers, discoloured skin, the track marks where the surgeons did their best to piece a human being back together. Scars from accidents, from surgeries, from fights, from errors in judgment, from pure and simple stupidity. And, except for the one or two truly horrific examples, I have found them interesting. Intriguing. And in many, many cases, downright hot.
I am writing this for a friend; a great guy who damaged his arm something fierce this summer, then started wearing longer sleeves so no one could see his torn bicep. He seemed uncomfortable about his injury, and I couldnít seem to get across to him that I thought his scars improved him, not diminished him in some way.
Scars are a living breathing symbol of risk. If youíve never stepped out of your bubble, never put yourself out there to live life and push the boundaries, you probably donít have any scars.
I work in an engineering office filled with pasty, pale, play-it-safe guys. The ones who probably stayed indoors on beautiful Saturday mornings when they were kids, only going outside when their parents kicked them out the back door, who thought the treehouse was best used for reading a good book. It is a great place to read a book, but unless you also turned it into a pirate ship, swung on a rope over its railing and wound up in your mamaís kitchen with a split lip and an icepack on your head, you never really enjoyed it.
I have some co-workers who donít have any scars and are proud of that fact. One guy jammed his pinky finger playing rec basketball at the YMCA last year, and wound up having physio to correct the minor bend from the last knuckle. It functioned fine, it didnít cause him pain, but he didnít like the idea of living with a bent finger for the rest of his life. My grandma had a word for this kind of guy: milquetoast. A nice enough fella, but nothing exciting.
Now contrast that with, say, my guy. His nose isnít where God originally put it; a legacy of a teenage jiu-jitsu demo done full out to wow the crowd, and a move that went just a little bit wrong (note: he finished the demo anyways). That part in his hair? Itís not a part; itís the place where they sewed his head back together after his brother corkscrewed their car down a dark slick road. The grizzled knuckle tells the story of losing his balance while putting a roof on in the rain. The tiny pockmark in his calf speaks to a vicious poodle attack he didnít actually think broke through his jeans, and only discovered later when he noticed blood on his socks.
Scars come packaged with stories. As you go though life, living full out, you are bound to accumulate some damage. Scars are the souvenirs you carry with you instead of leaving on a shelf. Ask someone about their scars and youíre bound to hear some great stories Ė about that fishing trip with his dad when he was ten, about that surgically corrected heart defect that affects all the women in her family, about how he learned first hand to be careful around pneumatic nail guns. A scar is the beginning of a conversation.
And that conversation might just lead down a dark road. Lots of scars are the result of bad detours. Needle tracks, the long-healed bullet wound on a refugee, the tortured skin where a tattoo once existed. All those are human too, souvenirs of trials survived and overcome. Stories worth hearing.
Ok, so maybe you have a scar, but itís a perfectly boring tale as to how you got it. Embellish! Sure, maybe you dinged yourself falling down the stairs, but the story sounds so much more interesting if you happen to be giving CPR to a baby kitten at the time. And that faint line from routine surgery isnít so Ďroutineí if it happened during the big power blackout of 2006 and the doctor completed the stitches by flashlight.
And as for me Ė weíll sit down over a beer sometime and Iíll tell you about breaking my nose when I was three, and how I drove a piece of bamboo through my foot at summer camp. I might even show the foot I dropped the hay wagon tongue on when I was hitching up the tractor, and, if youíre in the mood for a laugh, Iíll point out my gnarled knuckles and tell you how I busted two fingers on my left hand and had them buddy taped into the nanoo-nanoo position for weeks.
Imperfection is the spice of life. It should be celebrated and shared. Who would you rather sit beside on a long bus ride Ė the milquetoast man or Mr. Torn Bicep? I know which seat Iíd choose.