It's just about impossible to make it through childhood unscathed.
Quite the contrary, your life is full of all manner of scathing, both physical and mental. If a rough patch of gravel or a Frisbee won't get you, then finding out there's no Santa will uh, or allegedly no Santa.
Memories of growing up are filled with falling off bikes, run-ins (literally) with glass doors, failed daredevil stunts and Band-Aids of all shapes and sizes.
Sure, getting hurt stinks. But what would your kid years be without bumps and scrapes? Your family photo albums would be a lot slimmer. Stories would be less embarrassing.
I still hear the one about how my cousin got a pencil sharpener stuck on my finger and my aunt raced me to the emergency room as my finger began to turn black. Just to keep things even, they also tell the one about the same cousin having a tragic jumping-on-the-sofa mishap.
Back then, an injury was a badge of honor. Scab show-and-tell was always a part of the playground gossip circle.
I don't imagine it would go over so well today at the office: "Before we discuss the daily budget, check out this gnarly bruise I got from running into my desk."
It seems that I whine and over-dramatize falling off my bike more now than when it happened 20 years ago. Maybe it's a kid's morbid fascination with scabs and bruises that takes the sting out of an owie - it can't possibly be that I'm getting old and don't bounce back as easily. And my mom doesn't come running with a camera to catch my pouting face nowadays. Flashing a big cheesy smile took the edge off the bloody knee.
The topic of childhood (blunt force) trauma was brought up when I realized a few days ago that I've never broken a bone.
The mere mention of broken arms, legs and everything in between gives me the heebie-jeebies. But just the same, I was always envious when a classmate would come to school with a brand-new, gleaming white cast. Crayola markers were instantly brandished, and by the end of the day, they had a work of art.
Nickelodeon's "The Adventures of Pete and Pete," in which one character had a cast on her arm the entire run of the show and kept secret items hidden inside, also made breaking your bones seem a lot more glamorous than it was.
I don't have cast-envy now, since the plaster model has been replaced by those big plastic boots. You can't write on those!
Besides earning street cred and acting as humiliation fodder, getting hurt also taught you valuable life lessons. For instance, bikes don't fly like in "E.T.," no matter how many pieces of plywood you use as a ramp. Big wheels are designed to attract gravel. Whiffle bats should be able to smash through solid concrete, judging by the toll they take on kids' heads. Rollerblades were invented by the devil.
I learned to keep my mouth shut while falling down the stairs or else I'd have to wear hideous fake teeth until the adult ones grew in. Eventually, I found out it also applies to skating into a wall at full speed at Champion Rollarena. That fake tooth, unfortunately, is there for good.
You only get one shot at busting out teeth. Another valuable life lesson: Have good dental insurance.
Scars - both physical and mental - aren't that bad. Sure, I gave my parents gray hairs every time I ran in the back door crying, clutching one of my appendages, but I'm sure they wouldn't trade it for anything. Every scar I have is part of me, and tells a story mostly of how long ago, in a magical time called ''The '80s,'' a giant klutz was born.
The metaphorical bumps and scrapes are a part of growing up - as long as you get back on your big wheel of life and ride into the sunset, nothing can stand in your way. And peel out on some gravel while you're at it.