Perhaps when I smile, your eyes are not drawn to my dazzling pearly whites. You might notice the half-moon shaped scar that crinkles like a dimple when I smirk. Or maybe the scar slashing across my upper lip. I might be tilting my head just so and you'd also see the scars underneath my chin and the flattened red keloid on my cheek.
Such scars seem like the beginning of some great story and many people might be hesitant to ask me about it. Was I attacked by rabid dogs at a young age? Did I get into a knife fight trying to save an old lady from a group of gangbangers? Was I the sole survivor of an Unforgivable Curse (tm) like Mr. Harry Potter?
No, my dear friends, it was a mere speed bump at the bottom of a great hill that did this hero in. I was always a clumsy kid. I have scars on my forehead from a thump on the corner of my uncle's bed during my third Thanksgiving dinner. I seem to have a thing for holiday accidents.
It was a chill and eerie Halloween morning that I went bike riding with my dad. I was groggy and I was riding on a new bike I'd never rode on before with very sensitive front brakes. I closed my eyes as I raced down a hill in the quiet botanical garden a few blocks away from my house... and at some point I lost consciousness for about 10 seconds because I found myself on the ground with about 10' of street gravel rubbed into my face. (It's rather strange how my story seems so silly and similar to Dr. Charles.)
My parents took me to the ER and I had a few rocks the size of quarters taken out of my cheek.
A few weeks later when the itching was subsiding and the keloid was injected with steroids to make it sink down, I was asked if I wanted cosmetic surgery.
"Nope!" I'm proud of my scars. While they might be reminders of my idiocy, they give my face character. They make me a unique person. If I were ever cloned in a laboratory and someone tried to replace me with my identical double, people who know my face would know which one is me.
And that makes me smile even more.