The other day when it rained I decided to practice my nude ballet instead of going to Lianhua Park. Looking at myself in the mirror as I danced, I noticed my body is covered in scars. Thinking about them, I realized much of the story of my life can be told by these scars.

My first scar was administered when I as just a few days old. My parents had the end of my dick cut off in a ritual called circumcision. I don’t remember it, and didn’t realize it happened until I was in 8th grade when I dressed out with other boys in gym. I noticed some boys dicks looked like anteaters and others looked like bullets. When I asked my parents about it they admitted they had the end lopped off. My dad assured me that it was a  genetic certainty I would have plenty left over.

The second scar was a little round mark at the top of my arm called a vaccination. I was always aware of the vaccination scar, but it was many years before I understood what the word means.

Next came a small black mark on my right knee. I administered this one to myself in second grade when the pencil I was using to write slipped off the backing, went through the paper and into my flesh.

One day when in third grade I told my mother I was too sick to go to school. She didn’t believe me and made me go anyway. Later the principal drove me home in his car. I was rushed to the hospital where my appendix was removed, leaving a 6 inch scar on my abdomen. The upside to this story is that from that day on whenever I told my mother I was too sick for school, she never questioned me .

When I was 12 or 13 I went ice skating at a rink close to my house. I fell down and a girl skated over my right middle finger, leaving a scar at its tip.

My most impressive collection of scars came while in combat in Vietnam. A mortar round exploded behind me sending 40-50 pieces of shrapnel into my head. back, ass, and legs. I am still so full of shrapnel that I can’t take an MRI.

While I was in the hospital my lungs began to fill with fluid from the shrapnel piercings. The docs made an X shaped incision in my right side to insert a tube to drain the fluid.

After a few days the tube was removed, but my lungs refilled with fluid. This time I was rushed to the emergency room for a second tube insertion, but I was not completely anesthetized. The pain was so great that I passed out. I woke up with another X shaped scar.

While working at the snack bar in the student union as an undergraduate, I cut my left palm in the meat slicer. The campus doctor was off duty, so the assistant, Mr. Pugh, sewed me up. He did a very good job.

At some point I developed a small cyst in my left cheek. I had a plastic surgeon remove it. His nurse had very bad breath and kept complimenting him on his work. It left a tiny scar.

At age 55 I had a heart attack and a triple bypass. I have a giant scar down my chest along with a few small scars on my legs where veins were harvested. I’m a member of the Zipper Club. This led to something good. I decided I’d rather travel than do anything else with the time I had left on earth, so I closed my business, divorced my shrewish wife and got my affairs in order. I’ve been happily living out of a carry on suitcase and small backpack ever since.

The day I was to leave Vietnam I leaned on the sink while stepping out of the shower. The sink broke from the wall, crashing to the floor and breaking into smithereens. I fell upon the shards, badly cutting my chest and right arm. I went to the hospital where they bandaged me up. At the Saigon airport, the doc re-bandaged me. On the flight to Hong Kong I was bleeding through my light colored shirt, so one of the stewards gave me his personal black shirt.  While I thanked him, one of the great regrets in my life is that didn’t get his card so I could write him a personal thank you letter and praise him to his superiors.

Anyway, I got to Hong Kong where the airport doc re-bandaged me. He didn’t want me to continue my trip but I told him I had no money, no insurance, and a doctor’s appointment awaiting at home. They allowed me to board the plane to Chicago.

When I got home I got more than 40 stitches in my right arm and chest. It required a plastic surgeon to fix my right hand.

My most recent scars happened in Shenzhen when I broke my right ankle in three places. The docs in Peking University Hospital did a good job repairing it. They made three 4 inch long incisions in the left, front, and right sides of my ankle, leaving scars. While in the U.S. I had it x-rayed three times. All the docs said the work looked great.

That’s pretty much it.

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