I was noticing this the other day, and I sort of starting thinking about all of the scars that I have, how I got them, and what the story is behind them. I have a lot of them, I don’t think it’s any kind of record, but I seem to be littered with them. I have 23 scars that are easily identifiable ranging from a slice on my finger from hedge shears, to Mt. St. Helens removing at least 1.5 layers of skin on my leg as I repeatedly crash in the pumice, to the monster scar that has taken up residence on my abdomen from my transplant. Only 5 of the scars are the result of being hospitalized, and only 8 of them required stitches.
If I were to rank them in order of the most fun, I would have to say the cheese grater marks on my leg gave me the most enjoyment of any of the scars. Riding up the side of Mt. St. Helens was a blast, an epic ride where I was completely dusted by the guys I was riding with. Riding up the side of a volcano, above the tree line in loose pumice was something I will always remember, almost as much as riding along a 2 foot wide goat trail (same trip) with a slip grade slope upwards, and a near shear rock face down. The least fun would be from my transplant. Although I have to admit they administered some damned fine narcotics during my stay at UPMC, the hallucinations and weird side effects of a bad combo of Morphine and Oxycoton alone are enough to make me not really ever want to go through that again. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the mind-numbing pain during the first few weeks.
I have a tie for the two stupidest scars too. One on my left hip, and the Frankenstein on my left wrist. Both bike related, more than decade apart – and both really dumb. I got the one on my hip shortly after getting my first racing bike in the 9th grade; a Centurion Iron Man. I was riding around (in Florida), got hot and decided to tie my helmet to my handlebars – and crashed. W00t! w00t! I busted my wrist while waiting for my buddy Craig to get his but over to my house in Oregon, so I built a ramp in front of the house, got on my Mtn. Bike, hit the ramp, busted the plywood ramp, went up on my front wheel pushing the wooden box along the road for a while. Then the road decided I pushed the box far enough along, grabbed it and over I went. I knew it was busted the very second it happened. It didn’t really hurt though. The part that hurt was after the doc put my hand in some freakin’ torture device and pulled down on my wrist and squeezed it all back together to put it in a temporary cast.
The part that I find most interesting about the bike crash is that in all the years I raced, both on the road and on the track, never once did I crash. I’ve gone bombing down the side of a mountain on my Mtn. Bike at 48 mph, jumping stumps and flying through brush so thick I couldn’t see the other side – never once got hurt badly. I blame Craig, if he had shown up earlier I wouldn’t have been trying to build ramps. Ha! Yeah, he probably just would have been there to witness it in reality…..
It’s interesting to look at the scars I have and try to remember how I got them all, and if there is a story behind them. Some I have no idea how they got there, others I will never forget; some I am grateful for. Maybe a bit morbid, but they’re all mine – so in a self-centered sort of way it was fun to think about.