A dermatologist once told me that a person’s skin is a diary of his or her life.
If you smoke, he said, your skin will show it.
If you work outside, as a farmer or construction worker, or work inside with
your hands as a carpenter, your skin will show it.
And if you live very long, you will have scars, and every scar is
Two scars; two stories
I’ve got a crescent-moon shaped scar on my left knee. I got it when I was 10 or 11
years old, playing one afternoon at Scott Bowers’ house, which was on Maple Drive across the street from my house.
I was running down the side of his house and somehow fell into a pile of
clinkers (sometimes called cinders), jagged byproducts of coal burning. Scott’s house, like most in the neighborhood, was heated with a coal furnace, and I
guess that when his mom or dad cleaned out the ashes and clinkers, they had
dumped them along the side yard.
However they got there, they were there in a pile, and I hit the pile with such
force that a clinker ripped through my pants leg and essentially punched a
nickel-sized hole in my knee, just to the right of the kneecap.
An emergency trip to the doctor’s followed, as did stitches. And as did the scar, which will always be a part of
the skin in which I live.
So will another scar, on my side, caused by, of all things, an exploding Pepsi
bottle. I picked up a glass bottle of Pepsi in a grocery store when I was, I
guess, 14 or 15, and it just blew up. Apparently a weak spot in the glass gave
way under the pressure of the carbonation, and jagged fragments flew out every
which way, including one that lodged in my side. No stitches this time, but a
scar and a story anyway.
So what about you? What about the scars and marks on your body—and the stories that go with them?
Go to the House Organ Web site and click on the Body Stories button, and write
about your skin and the stories that go with it: the bike rides gone bad, the
Caesarean scar from when your daughter or son entered the world, any story at
all. You can even send along a picture, if you like.
Later this year we plan to publish a health and fitness issue built around the
theme “Stories of the Body,” and your story may be one of those included.
Don’t think that your story isn’t dramatic or interesting enough—hey, did you read the ones I wrote above?—just tell it.
We all have something to learn from the wisdom of our bodies, and the stories
represented on our skin.