Tuesday, May 23, 2017

We Are All Made of Scars

While my body may be a narrative of broken skin... a historical latticework of cuts crisscrossing my arms, legs, body and even face...

...I don't scar. 

I just... don't. Not really anyway.

I don't know... 

I used to think I had a mutant healing factor. Or rather... I used to hope I did. Pretend it was some evidence that I was special in the ways that I wanted to be... and less in the ways I was.
But my broken knuckles and the inordinate amount of time I appear to spend being sick seem to prove otherwise. 
Alas... while my body can make a wound disappear in relatively short order... it can't even against some virus brought home from daycare by a kid who came into contact with a kid who came into contact with a kid who knows a kid who sneezed near my kid.

Yeah... in case you're wondering... I'm still sick. 

Fuck. I'm over this shit.

To be fair, however, I do have a few notable scars. And no... they're not the ones you'd think. Those are mercifully shadowy things. More thin lines traced with masking ink.

One is on my left hip... less a cut and more a giant scoop of flesh removed by the ill-advised decision to race Cat 5 road in the rain approximately a century ago. A long, gouging slide across wet asphalt. 
After that race, I requested an upgrade to Cat 4... got it... and immediately retired. 
Because fuck that.

One is the topography of cratered skin on both my temples. A remnant of the kind of soul-crushing teenage acne that makes painfully shy young men hide their faces behind their bangs and write earnest rhyming poetry ("love is like a flame... burning with your name" (kill me)) instead of socializing with their peers.

And the other is on my right shin. A token from the first time I ever raced bikes in Pennsylvania. One hundred and one ill-conceived miles. Rocks and rain. Three stupid, narrow bridges... two of which I successfully traversed (barely)... finally losing both my line and my nerve on the third. A collective gasp from the spectators as I paused... teetered... and fell. Into a creek bed full of PA rocks. 
I was up and moving before I could process what happened. Shrugging off the blood and visible bone. 
I think Wilderness 101 took me 11. 5 hours that year? Stopping at each aid station to change the bloody bandage I had around my shin. To flush out a wound full of grit and mud. A wound that got infected twice upon returning home. That strange heat and flush that comes only from something being wrong.
After my tumble, I was accompanied for the remainder of that race by one of the few close friends I've ever had in my life. 
A person I haven't spoken to in close to six years. 
You know... in case you're wondering how me and close friendships tend to go.  

Tomorrow I drive back to PA for five consecutive days of racing at the Transylvania Epic. 
I've watched from afar for years and talked myself out of it every time. Who knows why. Possibly for good reason?
There's a lot of talk about rocks and breaking butts. I happen to have a healthy fear of both of these things. 
But last year my fomo knew no bounds. And Rich just kept talking about it. So when the opportunity arose, I jumped.

Technically, I'll be there on behalf of BikeRumor. For a forthcoming "piece" about the fallacy of consciousness and all the various coping mechanisms we employ to deal, on the most base level, with our mortality and with the absence of meaning.  
It might also be a little about TSE.

Then, on Tuesday... I bid adieu to my PA mountainbike frenemies and drive west, to Emporia, Kansas... where I will "race" 200 miles of gravel at the Dirty Kanza. 
Yeah... I know. I never wrote anything about last year... even though there was a lot to say.

And instead of doing that now, I'll just post my rejected Yonder Journal Project YV1 submission... as it kind of sort of maybe touches on it. 

Yikes.... amiright?

Anyway... on the way to Emporia, I'll stop somewhere in WV and pick up a girl... some crazy hoodrat who has agreed (nay, demanded) to "crew for me" By which I mean: fill bottles, pour ice water over my head, and shove pickles (gherkins, really) up my butt when I start to cramp. (that's what people do for cramps, right?)

Guess which one she is?

No... I will not have recovered by the time I get to Kanza. 
No... I am in no shape to do much of anything save for fall apart. Again.
No... I suspect this is not my year. Unless whatever meds the doctor gave me yesterday really do knock this shit out.  

And no... I have no idea what I'm fucking doing. Save that I'm chasing things. In whatever flawed ways I can. 

Whether those things give a damn or not.

Regarding scars... I think it's less that I heal... and more that I just pull it all inside. To where all the other scars live.

Which is less about avoiding them. And more about embracing them.
Maybe even cuddling.


  1. I am overly verclempt that I will not be joining you and D in Kansas this year... totes sads!

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  3. It's like you read my mind, "Blogger." I'm soooo sick of prowling filthy pubs and night clubs. And now, thanks to your wisdom, I have a harem of attractive women. Bless you.
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