Public Radio Scar Stories

How'd you get yours?

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Dr. Alan Babigian.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Public Radio Scar Stories
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Web Extra: Scars
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Public Radio Scar Stories
Web Extra: Scars

A listener named Shelly told me this one:

"My large scar on my left wrist reminds me that it is not good to combine platform high heels, blueberry vodka and a wet dance floor. Also, the good karma of attending a charity event will not cover you for bad choices of shoe wear."

See, that's a pretty typical scar story, if there is such a thing. Something happened. You got hurt. It was probably pretty horrible at the time. Now it's a little bit funny -- one of the stories that life wrote on your body.

Most real life scars are less dire than the ones written into drama and fiction, where a scar usually means a deep psychic wound. There are two villains -- in "The Lion King" and "Battlestar Galactica" -- who are simply named Scar, as if their one defect summed up a whole being. Of course, some scars have really terrible stories behind them. We'll discuss those too today, and more.

You can join the conversation. E-mail or Tweet us@wnprcolin.




what a fantastic show.
truly inspired.

I have so many scars and have thought often about what the topography really means, or if the scarred are different from the unscarred...
I still don't know, but I sure loved listening to the show today.


Scars? Sure. I have a few (nine to date):

In chronological order, starting with the earliest

On the inside of my right elbow from a cardio catheterization to explore a heart issue
On the left side of my chest (they went in and fixed my heart when I was five)
Appendix surgery
Three scars on the outside of my right leg
Left knee... repair torn cartilage
Left hip... two surgeries to repair a break (Doc took a mulligan on the first one)


I have scars across both my wrists which I put there in 1966, as a final attempt to avoid service in the military. I had left college and finally felt free of my father, and the course of my life that had lead me to a good education, but not to the inspiring reality that I sought. This made me eligible for the draft, and, while I moved often across the country and back, I soon enough received "Greetings" from President Johnson. I had no opinion on the Vietnam War, this would come later, but I grew up with a father who had what now is called PTSD and I had come to see that it came, in some way, from his experiences in the Pacific in WWII. I could not see myself crushed by the regimen of military life, the war was a secondary thought to me. I was neither athletic nor aggressive and competitive. I tried very hard to convince the folks at Whitehall of my drug use, homosexual tendencies and other problems, to know avail. I was on acid for that one! So, back in the Midwest in my home state, I again tried to convince them of my inabilities to serve them, and when that failed, I had to do something to shock them into beginning to see how useless I'd be to them. After a couple of days in jail and three weeks in a court-mandated mental hospital stay, I was released and went back to the Village where I was treated as a celebrity by some. From there has begun my journey to inspiration and reality by a long and curious road, later turning in my draft card with the IV-F on it when William Sloane Coffin spoke at an anti-war rally at a church in Boston in 1967.



Re Scars: Have two long ones on my legs from operations I had as a child -- 3 times in a full body cast, learning how to walk again each time, etc.

So I had these scars, which my dear husband used to refer to as my "stripes" as in military stripes earned in battles...One time in 1977, after my first year of teaching in West Hartford, I was at the pool on Fern St. A boy (about 13), who knew me from Sedgwick, got very excited that I was there -- as we chatted, I got ready to sunbathe. When I pulled off my shorts and he saw my scars (visible when I wear a normal bathing suit), he was revolted and begged me to "please, go in the water, so I don't have to see them". I stayed calm, reminding myself that this was just a kid reacting childishly, and said, "I'm not going in the water right away, so you go in if you don't want to see them." My husband got so angry and upset that he had to walk away from both of us. He told me later that he felt so angry that he wanted to hit the kid.

John died a long time ago, in 1989, but I like thinking back on that day and how protective he felt of me and my scars.