Monday, 7 May 2007

My body: a map of experience


It occurred to me, whilst musing over my body's failings and foibles, that, while it might not be the perfect specimen of masculine form, my body does form an interesting aide to reminiscence. So, join me on a trip over my body's lumps bumps and imperfections and experience a selection of the events that caused them.

Let's start at my feet: large, hobbit like, flat as pancakes and recently scarred with 26 stitches at the hands of the excellent Mr Sundar, Orthopaedic surgeon. The surgery the result of my insistence on running for many years on feet that clearly weren't designed for it.

Moving over my hairy shins we arrive at a moon shaped scar just below my right knee, another experience at the hands of an orthopaedic surgeon when I was fourteen years old. This memory is not pleasant, not because of the surgery but because of the memories of repeated visits to the doctor, trying to convince him that there was something wrong: I knew there was - it bloody well hurt - but the experts of the time did not believe me. My memories of repeatedly hitting the sore spot to give the doctors
cause to listen, would clothe and feed a psychotherapist's family for months.

Skirting my hairy thighs we pause at mid-point to view two scars. One the result of childhood exertion: showing off trying to lift a climbing frame, aged seven, a piece of my bowel popped through the inguinal canal causing a hernia. The resulting four inch scar to pop it back would cause today's surgeons to chuckle as they removed most of someone's innards through a hole the size of a five pence piece (think dime for the US). The other scar is rather more personal; it is tiny and hidden in the corrugations of my man-parts. Its minuscule size is inversely proportional to the size of the family-limiting decision it represents; and though off less importance, the experience itself is worth a passing reference:
"Fame, I wanna live forever, I wanna learn how to fly (fly)...." trying to make small talk with a man wielding a scalpel at your testicles is not for the faint of heart.

Moving hastily on, we bypass the largely unscathed abdomen and pause a moment at an interestingly moon shaped scar just below the middle joint of my right index finger. This represents some of my irritating character traits: impatience and enthusiasm for invention without the necessary clear thinking pragmatism. Picture New Year's Eve 1978; I am sixteen years old and am to spend the night alone in the house - my parents have sportingly supplied me with a four pack of bottled Guinness. The Old Grey Whistle Test - the older equivalent of Jools Holland's excellent Hootenanny - is about to start and I reckon I've just got time to open a bottle in the kitchen. The familiar theme starts; I can't find the bottle opener, so in panic reach for the next best tool: a Party Seven can piercer - a Party Seven was a seven pint can of beer for which you needed a piercer to open - I had not worked out that the piercer's width was greater than the bottle neck width, so was surprised when the neck of the bottle snapped gashing my youthful finger. It bled until January 2nd.

Scooting over my face with its slightly bulbous, broken-looking nose (another story) we'll finish with what is my favourite scar. Atop my balding head, running transversely is a perfectly straight three inch scar. A sign of youthful exuberance and sheer stupidity that, I am proud to say, has never left me. Do you remember the Fame TV series? Leg warmers, dance and music - the seed of every youthful ambition to be in the entertainment industry. As the theme music played through the credits dancers leap into the air as they sing:
"Fame, I wanna live forever, I wanna learn how to fly (fly)..."
I was getting ready to go out for a drink, freshly bathed and wrapped in a towel I watched Fame in my bedroom. As the theme music came on cast aside the towel, ran naked along the landing of my parents' house and leapt into the air at the appropriate moment, failing to notice that I was positioned directly beneath the bathroom door frame: four stitches no local anaesthetic...the doctor lied.

Hope you have enjoyed this journey across my body; hope you kept your dinner down.

1 comment:

nursemyra said...

so tell me more about the moon shaped scar just below your right knee....