When I was seven I had surgery on my right arm for a bone marrow infection. The scar looked like the doctors were not as worried about the cut as they were with saving my arm. When I wondered what other people would think of that ugly gash, my dad draped his arm over me, smiled and said, “Tell ‘em you were playing pool down at the bar and got in knife fight.”
I also have a small circular scar on my chest. It looks like someone jabbed me with a lit cigar. I don’t recall ever being tortured. One doctor who looked at it said it might have come from some rare kind of spider.

I have scars on a hand that got jammed under a skateboard at a high rate of speed. I remember that one. It hurt. I was about 12 years old. After the wreck I ran to my house, yelling for my mother, convinced this one was pretty bad. She washed off the blood with a garden hose, took one look at my hand, and told me to “stop being a baby.”

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