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2004-09-22 - 4:38 p.m.

I never win scar fights. Youíd be amazed how often the permanent disfigurement of oneís epidermis comes up in manly roundtables around poker chips, cheep beers, campfires or piles of Halloween candy.

As of now, my scars are fairly limited. I have is a small scar over the cleft of my chin. Not the sexy kind that adorns Mr. Harrisonís chiseled features, just a slight discoloration from when I was a kid. I was apparently so happy to have my first teeth, I went around chomping in the air like a deranged Pac-Man. Eventually my baby flesh somehow got caught in the gears and I managed to shove my lone tooth right through the front of my face. When others have stories involving, sex, drugs, and juiced up hogs, this particular heartwarming story doesnít quite impress with masculinity.

The general consensus is that if something on your body itches, itís best not to itch it, but we all know better. To fail to itch an itch is to defy its inherent nature and render it meaningless. With empathy in my heart I only set out to verify my chicken pockís existence and purpose by scratching the well out of them. They left little white marks all over my chest. While they do prove I could, in fact, be whiter, Iím still gaunt enough for them not to show up. Still it does mean if I ever get a tan Iíll look like a photo negative of a connect-the-dots worksheet.

Most of my scars are on my hands. Nothing spectacular and large. Just a little line running this way, a oval over here, and indentation to the left. At last count there are about eight of them speckled over my hands; most recently one on my right pinky. The result of a chipped glass I was scrubbing with a little too much intensity while doing the dishes. Even more evidence that the universe is trying to keep me from doing chores.

Almost no one enjoys the wounding that results in a winsome gash later on in life. The point is that whatever the pain, it was survived. The greater the scar, the greater the tragedy that was lived through and moved from.

Today on the subway, obviously a perennial winner of the scar fight, a man getting off the train flashed a scar in the shape of two lips on his cheek. I thought it was lipstick, but his hand brushed his face, and it stayed.

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