Friday, September 16, 2005


I always thought that listing the contents of my handbag was the lowest I could sink, in blogging terms (and yet I've managed to get away with it not once, but twice!). But earlier I had an idea for a post so awful that it makes the handbag inventories* look like the Lost Works of Aristophanes.

I debated the merits of posting or not posting, and finally justified it on the grounds that it's a bit like the artworks of Cornelia Parker, in that it's presenting fragments of ordinary things in an oblique way, so as to raise big philosophical questions about Life, Existence and The Nature of Things (yeah, look, that's my justification and I'm sticking to it).

So without further ado, I present for your edification a Topographical Gazetteer And Guide To The Scars Upon My Person:

1. Location: Top of left foot. Nature: Four small circular scars in cluster formation. Date sustained: Summer 1976. Method: Crushing of foot by falling paving slab, recklessly pushed over by younger sibling.

2. Location: Top of left foot. Nature: Large, chevron-shaped scar. Date sustained: Summer 2005. Method: Persistent and ill-advised wearing of dangerously uncomfortable flip-flops.

3. Location: Inner left ankle. Nature: Smallish round scar. Date sustained: Summer 2000. Method: Burning occasioned by garden flare knocked over by intoxicated hippy in Green Field at Glastonbury festival.

4. Location: Right knee. Nature: Classic cartoon-style cross-hatch scar. Date sustained: Summer 2004. Method: Stupidly falling over in Spencer Road, London W3, for no reason other than general lack of motor co-ordination.

5. Location: Immediately above navel. Nature: small round scar, indented. Date sustained: Summer 1997. Method: belly-button piercing (now abandoned) inspired by liberating break-up with psychopathic boyfriend.

6. Location: Left forearm. Nature: Two rather large, white linear scars. Date sustained: Summer 1993. Method: Self-mutilation with kitchen knife during period of post-degree exam stress disorder and reckless drunkenness.

7. Location: Left forearm. Nature: tiny round scar. Date sustained: Sometime during 1996 or 1997. Method: Deliberate burning by cigarette at the hands of aforementioned psychopathic boyfriend.

8. Location: Upper lip. Nature: small linear scar. Date sustained: 1978 or 1979. Method: Falling awkwardly from bicycle.

I'm not sure what any of this tells me about Life, Existence and The Nature of Things, other than that it makes me sound like a dangerous nutcase. Which possibly wasn't my intention. Oh well.

* The Handbag Inventories: Sofia Coppola's next quirky indie hit film.


Kalista said...

I only have one scar, does this make me a freak Patrlocus?

patroclus said...

Gosh, hello Kalista, long time no see. As far as I can tell, only having one scar makes you a normal, balanced person.

Although a quick analysis of the chronology of my scars reveals that most of them were sustained in my 20s and 30s, giving you plenty of time to accumulate multiple injuries. Oh, I'm full of joyful observations, me.

Urban Chick said...

i'm no scientist but there is a recurrent theme emerging here: injuries sustained during the summer months...

would it perhaps be best for you to stay indoors during the months of june, july and august in future?

[but, by god, haven't we all learnt The Hard Way about the perils of flip flop wearing? i am on a permanent quest to find a pair that don't hack into my flesh after three minutes of wearing]

patroclus said...

I'd noticed that too, UC. The summer and I have never mixed well. Give me autumn any day.

Kalista said...

Ah, many apologies. I've been snowed under with coursework (joys of being a student) and my new status as an adult (joys of finally being able to get served!)

My scar is on my left knee, sort of oval shaped and caused by me jumping off a wall with rollerskates on when I was 10.

Autumn is here! I'm very happy about that. I'm going the light the fire and read the new and improved trendy Guardian beside it. Ahhh!

Juggling Mother said...

Siblings are quite good for giving you scars. Lucky me, I had 6 siblings, giving me:
circular scar on right had due to biro pen stabbed into me by older brother
scar under left eye, due to older sister shoving my head into a snooker table
Scar under right eye due to "fencing" with different sister
Scar on index finger due to same sister turning on the lawn-mower while I was xleaning the blades

Still, all the best scars come from surgery - I've got a smily face across my belly from a ceasarian, my sister had a teddy-bear scar right down her front from a spleenectomy & Mr A has a beauty down his leg from smashing his bones to pieces.

Cool, I never thoght scars could be such fun!

james henry said...

I have a scar on the bridge of my nose, caused by pulling a television onto my head when I was three.

Annoyingly, it just looks like the mark left by my glasses, so no-one has ever asked me about it. Tch.

cello said...

No-one would notice my scars but they are very evocative for me.
One is on my throat, the result of falling off the bathroom stool and into the glass shelf above the basin. I had been parading as Cleopatra using bath towels aged 7.

The other is in the palm of my left hand where I stuck scissors straight through. There is a tiny scar on the other side. But it was very memorable for the Reservoir Dogs arc of blood that spurted out when the teacher removed the blade.

BiScUiTs said...

I have a scar on my index finger from a hamster that bit me when I was three, and a squirrel once bit me on the exact same finger. Um, Wow. Ahem. It didn't leave a scar though, which is annoying because it means I can't tell everyone the story about being bitten by a squirrel.

surly girl said...

left knee - falling off end of playground during spirited skidding game in icy period of 1981.

right knee - falling off bicycle/falling over (fortuitously) outside doctor's surgery during uncoordinated period of 1982-3

right arm - sadly faded compass scratch in form of hidden cypher within iron maiden posters (
circa) 1985

psyche: too many to mention. hum.

oh, and a really really good one on my left foot from having an almost cancerous mole removed last year. nobody can see it tho.

patroclus said...

"Falling off end of playground"? This sounds superbly fantastical, as if the playground was somehow suspended in mid-air, or located at the ends of the earth. Was it?

Pashmina said...

I think I have seven - including two operation scars (both sustained when I still had a 'teen' in my age), a BCG, a dent in my forehead caused by a 3-year-old vs table argument, and a small scar on my left foot (occasioned by stumbling out of cinema in the dark during preview screening of Quiz Show c. 1995, in search of loo as a result of drinking too much free wine before the movie). Maybe we get the scars we deserve.

cello said...

Now that is the profoundest thing I've heard all day Pash.

LC said...

I must confess to having noticed and wondered about number six - one of my sisters has a lot of those, sadly.

My personal favourite scar is from an appendectomy in 2002. It's about an inch longer than is normal for this operation, because when they took the appendix out some of my intestines came out too, and the doctors had a little trouble poking them back in so they sliced me open a little more to make the job easier. The surgeon laughed while he told me this story the morning after. I laughed too, because I was completely out of it on morphine.