There’s a scar on my chin, right under the center, at the bottom. It looks like a scorpion and feels like a raised ridge.
I tell everyone it makes me feel like a badass, but really it makes me feel like a battle axe.
The story goes that I got into a bar fight.
Jim from the up the street was three shots of whiskey too far gone and putting his sweaty oversized paws on a woman that didn’t want nothing to do with him.
I stood up, bold and sober and I demanded that Jim leave her alone. The ensuing fight involved all sorts, from broken chair legs, to broken glass to me slamming a cashew shell into Jim’s ruddy cheek.
The punchline always gets people; the part where Jim pissed himself and scuttled away in embarrassment.
They laugh, buy me a drink and everybody’s happy.
Except, that’s not how it happened.
I’m a writer and one thing writers do is embellish. Even in real life, writers are forever telling stories. If I can entrance someone just by telling them a story, I can make magic happen on paper.
That’s how the story of my scar grows.
The real story is that I fell asleep at my desk one day. I know what you’re thinking, how does that lead to a scorpion shaped scar?
Now you’re wondering if the scar really is shaped that way.
I know the answer but I’ll never tell.
What’s important is that I was sitting on a three legged chair and unfortunately, chairs are inanimate. They don’t think the way that we do, if they think at all.
So when I startled awake, there was some kind of breakdown in communication between the three functional legs and I went down hard and knocked my chin against the hard pine. I tasted blood almost immediately and I knew that it was going to leave some kind of mark.
I didn’t know it would be scorpion shaped, but I’ll just take it as a blessing.
That story – the truth – isn’t as interesting as me being a hero. People might laugh at clumsiness, but heroics get you the golden points. A free beer, a free slice of pie, a questionable donut from an officer who probably knows that I’m full of shit.
Being a hero makes me feel like a king and I’m not a good enough person to walk away from that.
People aren’t interested in the truth so I don’t bother to give it to them.
Life is all about the illusion and even I find myself playing along. Some days I live in that bar fight, play it over and over in my mind like it really happened.
In some ways, it did.
The setting just happens to be my imagination.