Being Different

Being Different

A couple of days ago I was at the checkout counter at my local grocery store when the young cashier looked at me and asked, “What did you do to your face?!” It wasn’t really a question. It was more of a demand in the tone of, “How dare you do that?!”

This caught me off-guard, so I asked her to repeat the question.

She pointed to her eyebrow with the same look of disgust. “There, what did you do to your face?”

I smiled, but I sensed my face go red. “I was in a car accident over 15 years ago.”

She said, “Oh.” And then I saw her face go red and avoided eye-contact and any further conversation for the rest of our forced awkward interaction.

Was she wrong in asking me this? I don’t know if it was wrong, but it was certainly inappropriate and her tone was in bad taste. It reminded of being in high school, fresh after my car accident, when I had to wear a patch covering my left eyebrow and part of my forehead. Strangers would stop and ask me with the same expression and look of morbid curiosity in their eyes.

I sometimes wonder if people look at me and form an idea about me, about the kind of man that I am because of my scar. Before going to job interviews, I always think about this. Would they think I was part of some gang where their members shave their left eyebrows? Would they think that I was in a bar fight or something like that?

Thanks to this blunt cashier, at least I know that people do wonder.

Sometimes I tell people about it without them asking just to get it out of the way. I just want to get the elephant out of the room as quickly as possible.

Next October, it’ll be 16 years of having this scar. That means that I will have lived the same number of years with and without the scar. Sometimes when I look in the mirror that’s all that I notice. Sometimes I try to ignore it. But as my wife likes to point out, it’s a symbol that God saved my life that day. And for that, I am thankful.

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