Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Oddities & Factoids #1

As promised, here is the first little bit about me.  I decided, since this is the first one, to tell you something personal but not private, something that may be considered odd but not too embarrassing, and something which has some humor even though I'm really not funny.

So here I go.

Oddity #1:  I collected scabs.  Most, but not all of them, were mine.

Okay, so let me explain this rather gross collection of mine which I (thank Heavens!) no longer own.

Back when I was in...oh...grade school (yeah, long time ago), I was quite the tomboy.  Of course, I still played with girl stuff; I am, after all, the middle child of three girls.  But the only kids on the block to play with were boys, and I loved to play outside with them.  We'd play ball in the street, see who could climb walls the highest, and have bike races in the alley racing each other as well as the cars driving on the street parallel to our raceway.  My activities led to more than a few scraped elbows and skinned knees.

And I hate scabs.

I hate how hard they are, how dark and ugly they can be, and how the skin around it becomes red and puckered.  To this day, the sight of a scab makes me want to scratch it off.  Even if it isn't my own.  I don't.  Go scratching at other's scabs that is.  But when I was a kid, I'd scratch mine off as soon as it was formed well enough to pluck, and I'd ask my playmates to give me theirs too.  Most of the time they didn't, but a couple of times I was able to convince the younger neighbor boy to give me his.

I kept all of them in a used (but washed) jelly jar on my shelf.

The one I was most proud of was about the size of a silver dollar and came from my knee.  I still remember how I got the wound.  I was at a summer camp.  We were outside playing on the playground and there was this awesome, oh-so-high, plastic slide.  It was ginormous and looked like a giant green tube going practically vertical from the top of the play set to the wood chips below only turning and flattening out right before you'd hit bottom.  It was awesome.

Well, being the type of kid to try to be better at everything than anyone else, I decided to race some boys on the playground.  The path led all over the playground.  We walked along the top of the monkey bars.  We hopped along the length of the wood bridge.  We jumped over swings.  We ran up slides.  It was so much fun.

Tied with a bigger boy (probably all of a year or two older, but he seemed huge to me at the time) for the win, we approached the last obstacle in our course: the monster green slide.  He got to it before me and started the impossible climb up.  I followed only a foot behind.

Did I mention this was in the Baltimore City, where I grew up?  And it was summer?  And it was sunny and hot?  For those who don't remember playing on slides in the summer heat, the plastic absorbs heat almost as badly as the metal slides.

We, the boy and I, struggled and fought our way up the slide.  I was squeezing past him (the benefit of being smaller) when he must have decided he wasn't about to take the chance of being beat by a girl.  He pushed me.  I lost my footing, fell to my knees, and slid all the way down the scorchingly hot plastic slide.  By the time I fell out of the tube, my palms and one knee were burnt.  My hands only turned red and felt sore for the rest of the day.  But my knee?  My knee was not okay.

The skin over most of my right knee blistered, becoming the grossest shades of green and yellow before bursting and revealing the tender, pink skin beneath.  It was disgusting and painful, but it gave me the BEST scab for my collection.

So, in 2nd grade, when my teacher Mrs. Lepew (really, that was her name) announced our first Show & Tell, I knew exactly what to bring in.  Everyone else brought in the usual: stuffed animals, memorabilia from sports or trips, baseball cards, etc.  Me?  You guessed it.  I brought in my scab collection.  I even took the scabs out and offered to let the kids pass them around.  A frantic Mrs. Lepew made me gather them up and put them back in the jar before too many kids touched my prized possessions.  The most unfortunate thing about that Show & Tell, besides grossing out every person in the class, is that my silver-dollar sized scab got broken in the commotion.

Okay, enough about that.  My collections are more normal now; my favorite being salt & pepper shakers.  Do any of you have unusual items that you used to, or still do, collect?

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