Saturday, September 29, 2018
The wounds of children
Yesterday evening at the library small children were eager to show me their injuries.
I was registering a man for a library card while he was holding his two year old daughter. Somehow her hurt toe came into the discussion. Last week, apparently, something fell on it. At this point the child vigorously insisted on being set down, whereupon she promptly removed her left shoe and had her father place her on my desk so that she could show me her black big toenail. We all agreed her nail was almost certainly going to fall off, a prospect that seemed to especially appeal to the small child.
I was also in conversation with the slightly older son, maybe 3 or 4, of one of my co-workers. He had come for his regular weekly visit. With absolute relish he told me about how he had fallen down. Then he carefully pointed out all his injuries: both of his knees, his head, and his two palms. To be honest I couldn't see anything anywhere. So I told him about when I was his age I hit my head on a wall and had to get stitches. Then I took off my hat, leaned down, and showed him the scar at the top of my forehead which has probably been invisible now for thirty years. This reminded the young lad of two unspecified bumps on the top of his head which he demonstrated to me with much care. At this point in the conversation I thought he might enjoy seeing the big, weird scabby burn wound on my forearm. So I showed that to him. He was pretty stunned. But not wanting to impress under false pretenses I told him how it was merely a temporary tattoo. I have some nice wound tattoos, you know, that are on paper and that you can press and transfer to your skin by soaking and pressing it. I had just put this on yesterday.
He looked at me like I am very strange.
Oh kid, there is a method to my madness.
Then he told me all about what he got to eat for dessert that evening.