Counting The Rings.

From about the time I was five years old, me and my cousins would periodically get knives to play with. Pocket knives, sheath knives, boot knives... pretty much if it cut stuff and/or looked vaguely militaristic, it passed through our hands at one point or another.
The first thing we'd do with the knife was sharpen it really good. A sharp knife is a safe knife. Once properly honed, we'd find a piece of wood to whittle into a boat or that idol from The Brady Bunch Hawaiian episode. Next we'd make an impressive pile of wood shavings as we crafted our latest masterpiece. The final step, and this was critical to the knife-getting process, was to hack ourselves with the knife, thus christening it (and anything else within dripping range).
These weren't serious injuries. You might swish it around in a stagnant pond or rub some dirt on it until the bleeding stopped, then get back to the serious work at hand- namely, making wood shavings. Eventually the wound would heal. Sometimes you'd get a good scar out of the deal that you could craft an impressive story around. 
Over my years of developing into a well-rounded miscreant, I collected a lot of scars. Some faded before the story really matured or were hacked away during another injury. The scars are like a geographic record of all of the dumb stuff I've done during my life. The strata allows for accurate carbon dating to pinpoint when exactly my body was mutilated and what particular method was used.
For the last decade or so, my most impressive scars have been the result of my high level of skill in the art of falling off a bike. Unlike the surgical nature of those early knife cuts, pavement paints with a broader, yet somehow more nuanced stroke. It also seems to prefer coating and then re-coating the same canvas over and over again. What were once masterpieces are massaged into new works of art. Bold reds and purples replace faded whites and pinks, as if the statements made by those scars no longer speak to a modern audience.
Usually the new story is better than the old one. At this point in my life, I'm not sure I can afford to one-up myself on a consistent basis. I would prefer to give myself some extra time to massage the narrative a bit instead of starting from scratch so often. You lose the story arc and historical perspective when you wipe the slate clean like that. You don't get a sense of the developing artist and the creative process.
Plus, it hurts more than it used to.


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