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Leave a mark

10/08/2012 @ 9:21am

As I was helping our plumber carry a new humidifier into our house, I tripped on the front steps. I scraped my shin and started to fall.  Since I didn’t want to crush the humidifier, because quite frankly it’s worth considerably more than I am, I twisted around as I fell and ended up scraping the middle of my back on the doorframe. 

The next day I was drilling some holes with a half-inch drill and the drill bit caught on a jagged edge of steel.  The bit stopped moving, but the drill kept spinning, with me still attached, so I sprained three fingers on my left hand.  The NEXT day I was firing up our wood burner for the first time this fall and evidently forgot that steel exposed to flames gets hot.  I did remember, but not until I grew blisters on three fingers of my right hand.  

Since I feel that any injury is a perfectly valid reason to whine and gain sympathy from everyone around me, I was telling the story of my injuries and showing off how my wedding ring was more or less embedded in my swollen finger.  The person I was talking to looked at me in horror and said, “You should do something about that.”

I looked at her and asked, “What would I do?”  

The obvious answer was to not be stupid in the first place, but that wasn’t her point.

“You should go to the doctor and have him cut your wedding ring off and then take the pieces to a jeweler to get it resized.”

“Why in the world would I do that?” I asked.

“Because your ring is altering your finger.  It’s leaving a big groove in it.”

I’ve been married for 37 years.  I gotta say, there have been quite a few alterations over the last few decades, and not just to my ring finger.  Life changes you, and always leaves a mark.  It’s just that some of them are visible and some aren’t.  

I’ve always maintained that all the great stories start with a scar of some sort.  I was looking at the various lumps and bumps on my right hand and realized that I had an hour or two of stories just explaining how I got them, and even though some of them are embarrassing, (the scar from the gunshot wound leaps to mind immediately), I wouldn’t really want to give any of them up.  And those are just the scars you can see.  There was a midnight trip to a hospital 80 miles away on wintry roads when our son was eight months old that left a big mark.  Since then there have been more rushed trips to hospitals, phone calls in the dark of the night, angry confrontations, bitter disputes, and enduring sadness.  All have left a mark, all provide stories, and all have combined to make me, for better or worse, who I am.

Today the swelling has gone down on my ring finger.  I can type now and my ring isn’t embedded anymore, although it still sits in a little groove between a knobby knuckle and a callused palm.  Some marks never go away.

And that’s okay.


Copyright 2011 Brent Olson

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