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 had just left 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 wall switch. 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, crap!”

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, Story Power and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to My Scar Stories

  1. Pingback: My Scar Stories | Mitch Teemley

  2. Eliza Ayres says:

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal and commented:
    Ouch. What children endure on this planet…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ouch – my hands hurt thinking of this. Well it’s good you recovered to be able to play a guitar. Sucks you had to endure this.

    and, wouldn’t a tattoo or a bunch of rings been an easier way to get cool guitar hands?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yikes! That’s all I can say about this!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. David Pettus says:

    Really enjoying reading your scar stories, far more than you did experiencing them I’m sure. When I read them, I can’t help hearing I Am They playing as background in my head.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. fipwmum says:

    Ouch extremely painful

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It’s really amazing any of us made it alive into adulthood! My little brother ran through a sliding glass door and cut his lip badly. He also had a firecracker explode by his ear. Even so, he went on to an epic recording industry career (credits include recording Tom Petty, George, Paul and Ringo). The Good Lord really does look out for us! Best to you, Mitch :)) Dawn

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pam Webb says:

    Good grief! That is scar(r)y story.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Heidi Viars says:

    My fingers tingled when I hit the “like” button … I wonder if the carny has a blog 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jane Sturgeon says:

    Ouch, Mitch. Thank goodness your hands recovered. Still, ouch!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I read that through gritted teeth! Ouch!

    I have sometimes wondered what my purpose in life is (OK, I ask myself that question all the time), and although I don’t always come up with a specific answer, I do come up with things I am NOT called to do. One, being a doctor or any thing that deals with blood! Ha!

    Glad to hear your scarred hands learned to pluck the strings of a guitar! My daughter plays and so often so that and I swear she’s writing the soundtrack of my life. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Yes, I suspect your purpose in life is much more closely tied to what you’re doing and saying as a blogger/vlogger than anything in the surgical realm, Karyn. ;>) You and your daughter sound like a great match-up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mitch! Your words are about the sweetest words I’ve heard all day. I more than appreciate them and have a inkling that you may be right about my purpose. Being a mother and walking all of life’s joys and trials with my girls is nothing to underestimate! Thank you for that reminder! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Bill Sweeney says:

    Man, my fingers hurt just reading this! OUCH! If that happened today, you’d be the richest kid in California.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. nancyehead says:

    Your poor mother! And I love To Kill a Mockingbird too! God bless!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    You could compile these stories and call it, Scarred for Life.

    In Christ,


    Liked by 2 people

  15. carhicks says:

    Ouch, this one was not funny, my teeth hurt from grinding them.

    Liked by 1 person

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