Meandering Monday about Clones and My Scars

Remember the scene in Jaws, where Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfus start comparing scars and trying to one-up each other? (You know what scars are, don’t you? They’re those blemishes that you weren’t born with that help tell you from your clone. It’s nice to have a few of them, in case the clones try to impersonate you.)

I’ve been around a bit – long enough to accumulate some scars of my own.

I’m sixty-five, and considering all those sixty-five years, my scars wouldn’t win any sort of bragging contest, but I remember them, and hopefully others will for when it matters.

My earliest one is a horizontal line under my left eye. I have often referred to that one as my fencing scar. I really did fence, but this scar happened much, much earlier – I was either three or four years old and fell face first on the edge of some cement steps while trick-or-treating. They could have stitched the cut closed, but for some reason they used a wooden clip instead (hey, it was the early sixties.)

The next scar was a dent in the middle of my left shin. This happened during winter when I was in sixth grade. It was Saturday, and as I stepped up onto the school bus (I was going to CCD – the Catholic version of Sunday School), I slipped and banged my shin on the corner of the step (between that and my first scar, you’d think corners on steps would be outlawed, but I still see them to this day.) My leg felt very warm, but I was too embarrassed to look at it (you see, I was wearing thermal underwear, so I would be showing my underwear to the world if I lifted my pant-leg to check. It wasn’t until I got home that I saw all the blood that had soaked my thermal underwear down to my ankle. The dent is still there to this day.

I have a white scar about three inches long near the inside of my right wrist, heading toward the inside of my elbow (no – I did not try to slit my wrist – I was at a local swimming pool in my teens and slid my arm on top of a chain link fence. There was a loose wire and when it cut me I remember watching the cut fill with blood and stop.

My next scar was from my first surgery (I’ve only had two) – a horizontal scar across my lower abdomen when I was twenty-one. I was told at the time that I was having a hydrocele repair, then years later I was told I must have it wrong – that it must have been a hernia – but from what I’ve read, I was told right the first time. This one was interesting, partly because I got to experience being under the knife (If you’re like me, any new experience is worth remembering. I won’t deliberately seek to be hit by a car, but if it happens, I’ll make the best of it. Grist for the mill, and all that…), and partly because of… references I cannot repeat in mixed company. Pity…

When I was – maybe – twenty-three, I was installing solar mirrors behind a school in (a town in Texas that begins with “M”, but I can’t remember the name.) I stepped out of our pickup truck, put on a brand new pair of sunglasses, turned to my right,  and broke the sunglasses and the skin to the outside of my right eyebrow, so that I now have a vertical scar there.

Next came the slice across the left three knuckles on the back of my left hand. I think I was twenty-six. I was in our apartment complex’s laundry room, and when I pulled some clothing out of the bag, I raised my hand over my head just enough to slice the back of my hand and part of my tendons open on the metal blades of the ceiling fan (I remember thinking when I first walked into the laundry room that the ceiling fan was awfully low – I should have listened to myself.) The plastic surgeon did a good enough job, but there’s a smooth, shiny line there.

When I was thirty-six or so, I was playing indoor soccer and got tangled up with an opponent. I sat up and in my typically polite fashion asked if he was okay. He was not as considerate as me – he saw the ball behind me, leapt up and hit me in the mouth with his knee and split my lower lip on the right side. I kept playing, with blood dripping onto my shirt, until MY SIGNIFICANT ONE and teammates convinced me that I should go get my lip stitched up. They ue=sed self absorbing stitches, except they didn’t really self-absorb – it was more like having little white worms working their way out of my lip every so often. I can still feel the scar with my tongue.

That should be enough for a proper identification, should something (anticipated or not) happen to me – you can all be my witnesses.

I worry for younger people, though. Medicine may be getting too advanced, too practiced at avoiding scars. I had bone spurs removed from both of my feet in my fifties, and I don’t think I have any scars from that. You may think that’s a good thing, but remember – the people working at not leaving scars are probably the same people working on cloning. You have to wonder about their motives.  

Just Saying…

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Reaching Out

William Mangieri’s writing has been published on Daily Science Fiction and The Arcanist. His ninety or so short stories and related collections can be found at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:

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