By Matt Schepeler
Scars: We all have them, from thin white lines on our fingers left from “little boo-boos that left a mark” to deep surgical scars that tell the story of a life-changing event.
Some scars betray instances of stupidity, while others speak of unavoidable circumstances. Some are barely noticeable, while others can be wide and glaring.
How do we view our scars? I posted that question online and to some of my friends and got a variety of answers.
Ted Kohorst, a clerk at Buddy’s in Brooklyn, said he has a total of four scars on his abdomen.
“Not one of them am I ashamed of,” said Kohorst. “Each one is a direct link to when my life could have ended.
“Scars are my tattoos. Each has a story. I love them all.”
Not everyone feels that way, but many people do consider their scars badges of honor or reminders of hard-fought victories.
Of course, the best scars tell a story, and I asked people to share the story of one or more of their scars. Following is one of those stories. Much like the scars on their bodies, some are silly, others are profound.
“I had several corrective surgeries as a child because of my Cerebral Palsy. One stands out in particular,” said Parrish Stahl.
“I have a scar on each hip probably about a foot long. I spent the summer of 1976, at 10-years-old in a body cast from my ankles to the middle of my chest. We lived in a tiny house in Napoleon. My dad worked as a restaurant cook and at Clark equipment but we struggled financially.
“The memories of that summer are both horrible and wonderful. We had about four channels on the TV and no air conditioning. I laid in a hospital bed in the small living room hotter than I’ve ever been. The humidity was stifling.
“I remember how kind our friends in Napoleon were to me. They brought me gifts and fed me ice, told me stories, and kept me occupied. I have never forgotten their kindness.
I also have some PTSD from that time. I don’t like thunderstorms. One day we had a tornado warning; the sky turned green and the tornado sirens were going off. Everyone in town was in their cellar, but I was stuck in that hospital bed in that small living room crying. My dad laid on me with his arms around me and said we weren’t going anywhere without each other. I thought he was the bravest man I’ve ever seen.
It’s strange to have scars that represent horrific memories, but also make you realize that most people have incredible abilities to do kind things.
“I wouldn’t trade my scars or life experiences for anything. They strengthen my faith in my fellow human beings.”
To read more scar stories, check out this week’s Exponent.