Today, E. walked in to my cube, talking as he attached a small candy bar to the file cabinet with a magnet.  I was happy about this turn of events, because usually, he throws the candy from afar, seeing if he can hit me in the head.

“Your blog is getting really lame.  Put forth a little effort.”

“Oh, I know! But trust me, I’ve got nothing. I actually am putting effort into it.”

“That’s ridiculous. Just write about your stupid life the way you usually do.”

He tosses me a bag of peanut M&M’s and wanders off.  A few minutes later, I Haven’t Been Trained in That (IHBTIT) sits down in my guest chair with one of those stories that's really hard to pay attention to, and I think you know how that is.

I focus on trying not to look stuff up on the internet while he talks.  We have this thing, IHBTIT and I, where he comes in and says stuff to bait me into googling something.  It may sound unlikely, but I often don’t realize we’re playing that game until I start typing, at which point he laughs and looks at his watch.  It usually takes less than a minute, because he’ll come in and say something like, “Hey, you probably know this…” followed by a question about something obscure that I wish I knew, but don’t, like, “Hey, I was wondering, did the HMS Beagle stop on the Falkland Islands?"

Today while he’s talking, for some reason I’m reminded of a scar that R. has.  Maybe that thought was just dangling around, waiting for me to think it, and it had nothing to do with the stories he was telling about cancer and MS and surgery.

My kids have matching scars across their left eyebrows.  The sketchiest part is that I didn’t even notice how identical the scars are until this very week, although they’ve both had them for a while.

R.’s scar is the result of a yo-yo injury.  Something happened to the string, and the small metal disk hurtled towards his head at whatever speed they travel, clipping him in the eye.  We ended up in the emergency room on a Saturday night in a nearby city, the city that houses the state prison.

Not to stray from the topic, but who’s idea was it to put the prison right next to the high school? “Uh, teacher, my ball went over the fence and that guy won’t give it back.”

Can you see the guard towers and the football field sharing a property line?

So anyway, when a mother brings her teenager in on a Saturday night with a head injury in this town, they send a social worker to talk to you, and I’m pretty sure they aren’t about to give you a parenting award.

“How’d you do this?” he asks.

“Sports injury,” says my son.

I’m giving him The Look, like, sheesh, please don’t mess around, but he ignores me.

“Oh,” says the social worker, in his thick Brooklyn accent.  “What sport do you do?” 

“Yo yo.”  He produces it from his pocket, which is good because when it’s in the pocket it looks like a can of chewing tobacco.

He’s bleeding profusely, and blood has dripped down across his eye and congealed on his cheek in a pattern that looks like when you stop the car and turn off the windshield wipers and watch the rain slowly drizzle down in a seemingly random but sad pattern.  I guess it seems sad because whenever you’re sitting in a turned-off car watching the rain slide down the windshield, it's because one person in the car is breaking up with the other person.  Otherwise, you’d just go inside, right? 

Somehow, R. brings the subject around to the Donner party, I’m not sure how.  Strangely, this 75 year-old social worker has never heard of it. 

“Jeez,” he says in his Brooklyn accent, “I’m oleways looking-g things up on the inta-net.”

So when IHBTIT wins yet another round, that phrase runs through my head.   Me too, I think.  I'm oleways looking-g things up on the intanet myself.

I tune back into IHBTIT, and he’s saying something about his situational shyness.

“When are you shy?” I ask, because he seems about as shy as Paris Hilton.

“Oh, undefined situations,” he replies.

“Oh yeah, me too. Like, at a party where you don’t know anyone, and you aren’t sure who you’re supposed to talk to, or whether the person you walk up to wants to talk to you? Or sometimes you get stuck talking to someone and neither one of you knows how to get away, and you’ve run through what you have to say, but you remain standing there because you're too chicken to go talk to someone else?”

“Yeah, exactly. Last time that happened to me, when someone clinged a little too long, I punched the guy, and broke my hand on his face. Then he punched me and knocked out my tooth.”

Super shy, is all I was thinking , but I wasn’t sure what to say, so I said nothing and  kept researching Krakatoa. 

“I know. I’m not a lover, but I’m sure not a fighter either,” he says.

My daughter M’s scar is the relic of a failed eyebrow piercing that she got at about 15. I’m not a fan of facial piercings or tattoos on the young who might not know their mind.  I tried to explain this to R. once, when he asked if he could get a tattoo. 

“I’m just glad I’m not still stuck with the style I thought was cool when I was 15.”

“Yeah, but Mom, you were probably really dorky when you were 15, so it would be a whole different thing.”

“Remember when you were 12 and dyed your hair pink?  Aren’t you glad that wasn’t a permanent decision?”

“That was 3 years ago…”

I love it when the young people make your point for you.

Shortly after M. got her eyebrow pierced, something I learned about after it was done, one of my friends asked, “So, is it on her left or right eyebrow?”   I guess that has implications in the dom/sub community, which wasn’t exactly comforting.

Anyway, the eyebrow puncture festered for months, and I’d occasionally, as gently as I could muster, say, “hmm, that doesn’t look like it’s healing very well…” and leave it at that, because I was 15 once too. 

Eventually, she removed it and let it heal, and has a little scar and bald spot on her eyebrow to show for it, an almost identical match of her brother’s yo-yo scar. 

Okay, E., I put forth effort.  That’s all I’ve got.


  1. Mom, M was definitely at least 17.

  2. I'll be E.'s blog is a must-read. Oh, you say he doesn't have one?

  3. I'm chuckling, PC. An Anonymous, hmm, you look familiar... Maybe M. will weigh in, you may be right. Time flies when you're old, I guess.

  4. I'd have to argue with Anonymous that M. definitely had that peircing before she had her license.

  5. Utterly entertaining. That's the best argument against tattoos, by the way. It's excruciating enough that we have, uh, Polaroids of our fashion choices at age 15. Stuff that will keep us out of office for the rest of our lives.


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