My Scar Stories


Fun House of Pain

My fingers have every reason to think I hate them. I cut more chunks out of them than I did any actual wood when I whittled as a kid. (“Note: Carve away from us, not towards us!” ~Sincerely, Your Fingers.)

Then there was the night we went to see To Kill a Mockingbird, when Dad (accidentally) slammed and locked (!) the car door on my hand. My fingers throbbed as I watched Scout walk Boo Radley home. I loved the movie anyway.

But the worst calamity that ever befell my phalanges was the Fun House at the Long Beach Pike. The Pike was a grubby pre-World War I era amusement park known for two things: The Cyclone Racer (one of America’s great roller coasters) and ladies offering to go on “dates” with sailors.

My cousins and I were fresh from the sideshow, having viewed The Astonishing Woman-Who-Has-Nothing-but-a-Red-Light-Bulb-for-a-Head, and were ready to tackle the Fun House, with its jiggling floors and joggling doorways. I ran ahead, and was alone when I entered an empty hall with a rubber walkway. I stepped onto it. Nothing.

“Is something supposed to happen?” I asked an acne-festooned carny on a stool at the end of the hallway. Without looking up from his girly mag, he flicked a switch on the wall. The walkway jerked backward, causing me to tumble.

The carny sneered as I landed on my butt. I laughed self-consciously, as though I were in on the joke. I wasn’t. 12 year olds are never in on the joke.

I also wasn’t in on the fact that the moving walkway was sliding under a metal lip. The rubber wanted to take my hand with it, but the metal lip kept it from doing so. Nevertheless, it refused to surrender my hand, instead slicing layer after layer of skin away from my fingers.

I screamed.

The carny yelled, “Well, get up, baby!”

“I can’t!” I shrieked as I watched the metal plane away the final layers of epidermis and begin scraping the bones.

The carny flicked the power off, sauntered over, and then, seeing my fresh ground beef hand for the first time, said, “Oh, sh-t!”

After five months of skin grafts and hand movement therapy, I was actually able to take guitar lessons. Because if there’s anything even cooler than scarred hands, it’s guitar playing hands.

Even my fingers agreed with that.

To read my next Scar Story, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to My Scar Stories

  1. smzang says:

    I felt like a fiend checking ‘like’. I like the writing,
    the conversational tone, the subject that grabs the attention,
    but I felt an instant surge of anger at that slovenly carny.

    That is more than any 12 year old should have to endure.
    But, playing the guitar…now that’s a grand gift. Thanks for
    sharing the scrapes and scars that you have overcome. There
    are lessons to be learned!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: My Scar Stories | Mitch Teemley

  3. Pingback: My Scar Stories | Mitch Teemley

  4. Wow – the more I read your stories, the more amazed I am at the fact you’re still here to tell them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I cringed, oh, my goodness, ‘fresh ground beef hand!?’ I would have been livid as a parent. Couldn’t laugh at this one…but I AM glad you recovered, and went on to play guitar!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Roos Ruse says:

    Happy groan, I remember The Pike. It was kind of a dive in my day – but a precious dive. I’m glad you rolled with it and are still strumming and picking your way along, Mitch. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nancy Ruegg says:

    OOWW!!! I can’t imagine the pain! So glad your hand not only survived but went on to play guitar. Quite the miracle! P.S. How many of these scar stories are there?! You seem to have acquired far more than your share!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Take good care of your “body parts.” So far, it is very hard to get replacement parts. But one day that may change. I’m hoping I can get new teeth regrown.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Roland says:

    Mitch, you have nice way of writing, you inspire me. Best Rols

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jennie says:

    This is really good. I’m reading the best adventures of my teenage years. Well, without the injury and pain. Good thing you could still play the guitar. My horror was the ride at Wildwood on the Jersey shore. Yup, the floor dropped into the ocean. No injury, just terror.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Another great story Mitch and a blast from the past… I road the Cyclone three times with Helen March and Connie Herndon after a parade ended at the Pike in 1968. Wild memories… Needless to say, I loved this particular Scar Story best of all, and I do hope you take better care of your phalanges these days! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Joy & Passion says:

    Dude, its pretty bad when I start visualizing how you got basically sawed geez, you must have been one reckless kid.. I was pretty reckless, still am sometimes haha

    Liked by 1 person

  13. carhicks says:

    Oh dear, did you ever go back in a fun house after that? I got squeamish just reading this and I didn’t see it little own feel it. You sure had a lot of accidents as a child. Glad you made it to adulthood.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    That makes your writing that much better. You could have lots of reasons to protect your hands, but you let the Lord turn the scared fingers into blessings for others. Thanks for sharing,


    On Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 10:24 AM, Mitch Teemley wrote:

    > mitchteemley posted: ” Fun House of Pain My fingers have every reason to > think I hate them. I cut more chunks out of them than I did any actual wood > when I whittled as a kid. (“Note: Carve away from us, not towards us!” > ~Sincerely, Your Fingers.) Then there was the night we w” >

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Gina Cash says:

    Wow, Mitch! After read the first several scar stories, I find myself grateful that God allowed you to remain in the land of the living if for no other reason than for you to share your amazing death defying adventures! (There are a myriad of other reasons that He has allowed you to stay in here, many of which I have read and observed here.) Raising you must have been one hair-raising experience after another! BTW, personally I think “sugar fried honey buns” is a fantastic lyric. You might want to finish that song. It’s sure to be a hit with the carb addicted crowd!!

    Liked by 1 person

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