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Pickin’ at Scabs

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“It hurts to set you free/But you’ll never follow me/The end of laughter and soft lies/The end of nights we tried to die”
“The End” – The Doors

Have you ever cut yourself real good? Got a loose tooth or some sort of cut inside your mouth? Hurts like hell when you first get it, and if you’re anything like me you probably spend a few minutes immediately following the injury cursing like a sailor.

But then the pain subsides and typically, in a few hours, you forget about whatever it was. A few days goes by and you still haven’t thought about it until you see the scab. You’re intrigued. It doesn’t hurt anymore but it sure looks like it should and then you reach out and touch it and a shock of pain sprints up your spine.

After a moment or two, once your nerves settle back down, you can’t help yourself, you touch it again or you use your tongue to push the sore tooth. And again the pain jolts through you – not as bad this time but it’s there all the same.


Life is full of clichés about letting sleeping dogs lie and not rocking the boat and what have you. Dogs need awakening, boats should be rocked. We all know this, we just pop off with the conventional wisdom when we’ve nothing left to say to someone in desperate straits or showing more courage than we can muster at the moment.

And there we are staring down at that scab, picking at it at first until the need overwhelms us and we rip it off in a glorious moment of pain.

But not all scabs are visible. Not all hurts are on the outside or some place where we can get to them – they’re not all tangible.

No, some are buried deep inside. Just thinking about it, a broken heart seems like some wonderfully messed up idea some overly imaginative writer came up with to sell books. That is until you’ve had a broken heart. Until someone you adored ripped the life force from your chest and smiled as you fell to the ground.

Or maybe it was a slow process. Honestly the fast ones are easier to deal with. The slow ones, the ones that drag out for years – not so much snapping your heart in one grand gesture but softly, gently, tearing it to shreds.

Then you know the excruciating pain it is. But like a scab on your arm or leg, even a broken heart demands that you rip open the wound from time to time.

It’s one of those things that if in your right mind you would never, in a million years, do. But which among us is in our right mind? Are you? How about you? And you? I know I’m certainly not, never have been.

“You’ve gone past lubricated to morose”  – wonderful line from one of the few shows I frequent.

Wounds can only heal if you leave them alone. But sometimes anger and fury and everything in between being born and dying seems to just get in the damn way of letting it heal.

Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans – another great line.

It needs to heal.

We don’t let it, I won’t let it.

And so I stare at it, an internal game of tug-of-war with no clear winner. Until that moment when the pick turns to a scratch and the scratch turns to a pull and the pull turns into the hurt all over again.

Some people are so amazingly blind, so amazingly incapable of seeing beyond their own noses that all they care about is themselves. They never understand the damage they deal to another human being. How could they with such a limited field of vision?

And so I pick, and I burn, and I scar, and I smoke, and I drink and I rage in my head.

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