Don’t Try This At Home

“Just ask me, I’ll show you the scars.” ~ Bob Dylan

You’re undoubtedly familiar with those questionnaires designed to make us reveal all kinds of personal things about ourselves… favorite color, favorite food, etc.

I don’t really care for these chain letters, but I did find a question on one of them quite interesting. How many scars do you have?

The first scars that came to mind were the most visible, followed by a few private scars. It took a little work to remember the one I am going to relate to you here. It has to do with this picture of a tricycle.

Seems like my brother and I spent many an hour riding tricycles on our little driveway back home in Maple Heights, Ohio. One day when I was three, maybe four, years old I was riding with a dowel in my mouth. Tip of the day: Do not let your kids ride around on a trike with a dowel in their mouths. They probably should not run with a stick in their mouths either. You can already guess where this is going. We’re talkin’ scars, baby.

I have a scar on the roof of my mouth, penetrated by a wooden dowel the size of a pencil. My memory of the incident is forgotten, but the following six months or more will never be forgotten as the tip of my tongue continually returned to swirl around the crater there, fascinated by the feel and strangeness of it.

The fact that I cannot recall the pain of that pallet puncture wound strikes me as one of the remarkable things about the way we are wired. I can burn my fingertips, for example, and experience excruciating pain, but a month later when I recall the incident I only remember that I burned my fingers. I do not re-experience the burning or re-feel the pain that accompanied the experience.

As for the trike and the dowel…. Alas! Live and learn, as they say. No permanent damage. Just a little adventure along life’s way. I’ve experienced a lot worse. As mom ever used to say: “Boys will be boys.”

Originally published at

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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