Last night, I watched Shrink Wrap with Stephen Fry. Shot in 2007, it is one of those interviews that I strongly suggest everyone sees. And this is not just because of my Stephen Fry obsession (deep as that obsession may be…) it is because it was truly fascinating to listen to.
One point that struck me was the notion of one’s knees. “One’s knees are deeply personal,” Fry noted and it’s true. What childhood memories are complete without a sprinkling of the various cuts, bruises and scars that knees inevitably had to endure as we journeyed through the process that is growing up. It is a body part harmed which nobody manages to evade.
It is topic that, once broached, encourages people to open up. During an advert, my dad shared one such tale from his youth. Whilst out and about, there was a young fella swinging a plastic bottle on fire (that’s Limerick for you…) and the melted plastic dripped off and landed firmly on Dad’s knee. Lovely stuff.
Me, I have bad healing. I bruise like a peach and my scars take years to heal. I worked in Spar for a few months the summer I was 15 and still have my war scars from the bread oven visible on my arm. I can still feel the mark on my knee of a tumble up the stairs of a water slide in France when I was nine. Most recently, my feet remain purple from my 45 minutes ice skating in Killarney in January. One of those injuries that required constant nursing for two weeks, eventually the wounds soothed to a shiny, ugly, numb, yet more or less pain free new memory.
There are few more potent recollections than the ones we see and feel everyday in our own skin. We retain these marks like the memories, good and bad, in our thoughts and our unconscious. Cuts and bruises heal as does the intensity and emotion of times gone by. And in this way, we can look at the past, look at our scars, look at our knees – and go on with our lives.