You See, The Story’s the Thing

A few years back, I went through open heart surgery. During my recovery in the hospital,while flirting with the nurses – as I’ve been shamelessly known to do – I sparked a debate between two of them: Which is sexier – a tattoo, or a scar?

This question came to me because now that I have an eight inch scar down the front of my chest, should I cover it with a tattoo or leave it? I have one (a tattoo, not a scar) that covers two-thirds of my back. So, it wouldn’t be something new to me. I guess if a couple of nurses thought a scar was sexy, I’d keep it. But they had different opinions on the matter. The verdict was divided.

What it came down to, for me, was that it all depended on what the story was behind either marking.

I know a guy who has bullet-hole scars in one leg from his younger days growing up in South Sudan. The story of how he got them is much more remarkable than the story of my scar, which is simply that I enjoyed too many servings of Red Robin’s bottomless fries.

With a tattoo, I’d much rather hear a story that involves a strained and eventually broken marriage to the artist – a rite of passage beyond the physical pain of getting inked. It’s much more interesting than someone who gets drunk, stumbles into a random shop, and impulsively gets a heart, an eight ball, a skull-and-crossbones, or something equally trite permanently etched into their arm. Nothing good comes from an inebriated whim.

You see, it’s all about the story.

Stories are what season life, give it flavor and depth, make it intriguing, provocative, entertaining, or sexy.

My flippant comment earlier regarding french fries aside, there’s more to my need for a triple-bypass than just a questionable diet. There’s actually a story there. (Though, one for another time.) Layer it with an equally interesting tattoo – one with meaning – and I could have one helluva tale to tell.

Or not. I could keep the story to myself, adding further to the depth of my mystique. (Hey, stop laughing!)

Anyway, as it is, I’m leaning toward a tattoo. Now I just have to decide what it will be. Hmmm…

Gordon Gravley


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