The ghosts of accidents past


Scars. These tattoos of nature always have a story, whether you’re a famous boy wizard or a Monta Vista student. Scars help make up a personís identity whether they like it or not.

Flipping over the handlebars

Just ask junior Collin Marcroft.

“It’s a purple slug!” he said about his largest scar, a ripple of dark skin acquired from a cycling accident in Fremont Older. I got it by biking too fast, hitting a bump and flipping over the handlebars and rolling down a hill about 50 feet.

Marcroft is an avid cyclist who ranks ninth in the state for his age group. He participates in several races a year as part of the NorCal league for high school cyclists, and also participates in the annual Sea Otter Classic in Monterey. He looks at his scar as a positive reminder of his accidents.

“I see [my scar]as a battle wound,” he said. “It’s pretty stylish.”

Fellow cyclist junior Clark Lin, has been in more accidents than he can count on his fingers and toes. But unlike Marcroft, Lin is not so enthusiastic about his scars.

“They’re signs of my stupidity. I get asked about them every day,” he said. “Even teachers ask me about them.”

Look where you’re going

Like Marcroft and Lin, sophomore Yuna Lee has also been in a bike accident. When she was 12 years old she raced around the neighborhood with her younger sister.

“I was winning and turned around to stick my tongue out at [my sister],” she said.

She hit the side mirror of a parked car, which broke off and shattered on the ground. She fell into the glass shards, which embedded themselves into her arms. At the emergency room she received nine stitches.

But biking isn’t the only kind of riding accident Lee has experienced. That same year, she was thrown from a thoroughbred horse named Jersey. While doing jumps with Jersey, the horse got spooked by a tractor turning on, and the former racehorse galloped out of control, throwing Lee off and causing her to dislocate her elbow. To this day, she still does not have full range of motion with that arm.

Even her face hasn’t been spared from harm. When she was four, she scratched an itch near her eye while wearing a red plastic ring given to her by her neighbor. The ring cut her skin and left a gash. Like her, the scar has grown with age. It used to be a short mark, but it is now longer and more noticeable. All in all, Lee is not proud of her scars.

“Theyí’re really stupid stories to tell sometimes … it’s embarrassing,” she said.

Rock or soap?

Senior Ansh Shukla received a scar in childhood as well. When he was very young, he began to wash his face with what he thought was soap. Little did he know that what he actually held in his hand was a rock, which cut his cheek.

“Sometimes I like to say I was bitten by a wolf,” he said.

Although the incident was painful, and maybe even a little embarrassing, Shukla is still glad he has his scar.

“You don’t want to miss out living any part of your life. You only live it once,” he said.

Winning costume contests

English teacher Stacey Cler has amassed her own impressive list of scars.  Over the years, she has had surgery eight times, and they have left their fair share of marks.

Her knees have been operated on due to arthritis, and scars are not the only thing she has from the surgery: metal has replaced her knee caps as well.  Her artificial knee caps rotate and can be an inconvenience at times by setting off security alarms in airports.

Scars have even won Cler competitions. After she had surgery on her thyroid gland, the liquid stitches on her neck won her a costume contest on Halloween, without even the need to wear a costume.

However, her most incredible story happened when she was even younger. At only a week old she contracted jaundice, a medical condition that turned both her skin and the whites of her eyes yellow. When an IV was put into her, she thrashed around and pulled it out. Although she was expected to die, she pulled through and now jokes about causing scars of her own.

“I inflict many emotional scars upon those that know me,” she said.

From her perspective, her scars are a part of her identity.

“To me, they represent my accomplishments in a lot of ways,” she said. “I’ve survived a lot of things.”

She has the scars to prove it.



About Author

Senior Forest Liao is a copy editor and columnist for El Estoque. He enjoys writing book and movie reviews, editorials concerning religion and posting absurdist content on his blog.