The scar where my foreskin once was. I never knew what a foreskin was until long after it was gone.
Under my lower lip, now hidden by an old man’s beard, is a little scar where I bit through it, at age one and a half, hitting the ground face first after flying through the air from the seat of a swing.
My right thumbprint is instantly identifiable by an ovoid scar, quite small, but distinct, caused by catching my thumb in the slot of an old-fashioned curtain rod, at age four. I had been using the curtain rod as a sword, playing Zorro.
A small, round, scar on my left bicep; the mark left by the scab of a smallpox vaccination. There is no longer any threat of smallpox, anywhere in the world.
At seven, playing with a piece of lumber, which had a bent nail through the end of it; Mother called me in to eat, and I threw the board away. The nail caught my right index finger, between the first and second joints, tearing a gash across it. My first stitches.
Camping with my Boy Scout troop, age 12; a bowsaw I was using to cut firewood took a wicked bounce and landed on the back of my left thumb, leaving a row of small cuts. They are each only a millimeter long, now.
There have been so many others since:
A scar on my back which looks rather like the round crater left by a bullet wound, maybe a shot fired from a .38 Special. But it is really only an artifact of the surgical excision of a cyst caused by the buckle on the shoulder strap of my postman’s satchel.
A scar in my lumbar region, between vertebrae L4 and L5, where a surgeon, using a very clever device, tunneled into my spine and relieved paralyzingly painful sciatica in my right leg by cutting away the disc material that was impinging on the nerve root. Microdiscectomy; small scar, big improvement.
A long slash mark in my throat, exactly along the line of travel of my right external carotid, left by an endarterectomy which removed a blockage in that artery. A wicked scar, like a souvenir of a knife fight, now hidden by my beard.
Several marks on the back and palm of my right hand, left by a pit bull terrier’s teeth. I got off lucky; the same dog later bit off the thumb of his owner, the same angry asshole who had sicced the cur on me. What goes around, comes around.