My dad has a nickname for me: Secondhand Bookstore Waif.
Don’t you laugh.
As someone who spent practically her entire childhood indoors on the couch with her nose in a book, you would probably think I don’t have any interesting stories.
Au contraire my lovelies, au contraire.
The other day I was with a group of people when the topic of scar stories came up, and as my fellow compadres told theirs, I began to realize something: I have some seriously wacked-out scar stories.
And of course I’m going to share my favorite of them with you all. Aren’t I just such a dear?
Let’s go back a few hundred years to a time when dinosa…wait…
I was in third grade and it was mid-January. The time of year is important because there was still a slight layer of ice over any outdoor surface. Yeah, it’s one of those stories.
My childhood friend Bertha (no, that’s not her real name) had the lovely idea of running back and forth on a particularly slick bench and then jumping off in the playground before classes began. Oh, did I mention that she was jumping off backward?
Me: “Oh what a marvelous idea! What could possibly go wrong?”
Without further thought I hauled my chubby little third-grader body — I was a bit of a chunkymonk in my earlier years — onto the icy bench of death and readied myself to jump.
This is the part in a movie when the ominous orchestral music would begin playing and everything would slow down. As my disproportionally large feet left the slippery edge of the bench, a small ribbon of panic bubbled up in my gullet.
And my face came straight down on the edge of the bench.
I was completely stunned.
I believe my first thought was, “Oh poop, I really hope no one saw that.”
My second was, “Aww, I split my lip.”
Oh how wrong I was.
I went up to the playground attendant and showed her my bloodied lip, asking to go to the nurse’s office. The panicked look on her face as the color drained from it should have been my first indicator as to the status of my mouth. Nope, I was still completely oblivious.
I went to the nurse and was met with the same reaction as with the playground attendant, only this one was accompanied by, “I…uhh…I’m going to call your mother, dear.”
My mom, who happens to be a nurse, showed up shortly after. One look at my mouth and her face took on a fairly unpleasant light green hue.
In my concerned state over my mother’s new skin tone, the first thing I said was, “I got blood on my new jacket. I’m sorry, mama.”
She hushed me with a concerned look and bundled me into the car. Away to the ER we went.
In the waiting room of the hospital I finally got to look in a mirror.
Oh dear Buddha, the carnage.
I can say with absolute truth that I have no idea how I did not break my nose (which I did actually do two years later) or chip some teeth.
My collision with the bench had sent a large portion of my upper lip between my two front teeth. Now I realized why it had been so difficult to speak.
Oh, and for the record, I don’t have a gap between my two front teeth. Yeah.
I ran my tongue along the trapped skin inside my mouth and looked up at my mom who was now sporting a much darker shade of green.
I was finally called into the doctor’s office.
All I remember from this is the doctor’s uproarious laughter and his question: “How in the world did you do this?”
An hour later I was in the car on my way home with four stitches ornamenting my mouth and a much puffier upper lip.
To this day my mother still talks about the incident, much to my extreme embarrassment.
She likes to point to my still full upper lip and say, “It’s like you got a free lip enhancement!”
Yes, and what an absolutely traumatizing and shudder-inducing lip enhancement it was.
Until next week my kooky comrades; Live long and prosper. Tallyho!