Friday, September 19, 2008

Scars Remind Me That The Past Is Real

Sitting at work today, the song "Swing Life Away" by Rise Against came up on my play list. As I was listening to the words and possibly singing along I was struck by the following lyrics.
I'll show you mine
If you show me yours first
Let's compare scars
I'll tell you whose is worse

That got me thinking about some of the scars that I've managed to give myself over the years. Most, if not all, are mainly due to stupidity on my part. I remember three scars in particular that I inflicted on myself. One on my left index finger, one on my chin, and one on my chest.

When I was five or six, my family and my grandparents went to visit my aunt who was living near Denver. She had a two story house with a basement that provided 3 floors for me to play on. I had a fun time, until the last day that we were there. At that age, I had a habit of putting my hands on counters, or tables, or anything too high for me and push myself up so I could get a better view of whatever it was I was looking at. My aunt had one table that had a glass covering with the glass broken up into 3 or 4 big pieces. Now I, of course, saw something on that table that caught my interest, so I went over and pushed myself up so I could see. There must have been something under one of the pieces of glass, because as I pushed myself up, a glass piece stuck up in the air. As I lowered myself down the piece of glass that was sticking up went right into my chest. I don't remember a whole lot about the experience except crying a lot. I don't remember it hurting or anything thing else about the experience, but I'm sure it freaked my mom out.

When I was fifteen, I had a job working as a custodian for the high school during the summer. I was helping with general clean up and getting things ready for the upcoming school year. I wasn't old enough to drive, and had to ride my bike to work everyday. After work I would come out, get on my bike, and ride home. No big deal. Until one day I got off of work and got on my bike to go home. The bike rack was up on a sidewalk area next to the school and I decided to jump my bike off the curb into the parking lot and ride home. That was my mistake. Instead of riding away as I expected, my bike fell apart. Literally. As I landed my bike broke in half at the welds and I ate asphalt. My chin was the first thing to hit the ground. I split it open pretty good and was bleeding all over the place. I somehow managed to get up and make my way back into the school so someone could call my mom. She came and we got to go to the emergency room. I got stitches and a huge bandage on my chin. I was a typical image conscious fifteen year old and having that huge bandage on my face was so embarrassing.

Just before my mission, I was working at an embroidery factory. I ran one of the huge sewing machines that embroidered 12 shirts at a time. Each shirt location had about 10 needles, each needle with a different thread color. When the machine finished with one color, the computer would switch the needles to a different color to continue with the design. It was my job to make sure that the machine ran smoothly, the patterns were straight, and make sure there wasn't any loose thread or broken needles. The proper procedure when there was a loose thread or a broken needle was to hit the all stop button on the machine, fix the problem, and then start the machine again. I guess I was in a hurry or something because I saw a loose thread and decided to pick out when the machine was changing needle color. I thought I could be faster than the machine. Turns out I wasn't. The new needle came down and went into the tip of my left index finger. I was so surprised by it that I jerked my hand away and tore open the tip of my finger. Of course I was bleeding everywhere, so I went to the restroom to clean my hand off. My boss saw what happened and asked me to wait about 15 minutes until the shift ended so he could take me to the hospital. As it turned out he didn't have a car. I had to put his bike in the back of my truck and drive us to the hospital. I ended up quitting that job a month later and went back to working at McDonald's. I don't think that I've touched a sewing machine since.

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