What can I attribute my scar to?

When I was 20, I had to have surgery to repair a punctured lung and damage to my liver. I have a vertical scar that runs from below my navel to my breastbone, and its very noticeable.

People ask me what the scar is from, but I don’t like to tell them the reason for the scar. I find that when people find out the real reason, they ask a lot of rude questions and even make rude jokes. I would like to have a boring reason for the scar to tell them.

Maybe a hernia surgery? Would that leave a similar scar?

Jousting or swordfighting accident (but you should have seen the other guy).

There has to be some element of realism to it.

Sorry, I misunderstood the intent here.

If people are curious about one kind of surgery, they’re likely to be curious about any other. I’m not sure there’s anything you can attribute it to that isn’t going to provoke further enquiries. You might be better off saying something like “It’s from an operation I had years ago - I’m not offended that you asked, but I’d prefer not to talk about it”

I agree. Just say it’s from surgery and leave it at that. If people press for more details, just say you’d prefer not to go into it.

Well, but if I attribute it to a hernia operation, I can just say I injured myself while working out or in martial arts class or something. I don’t think many people will find that interesting enough to grill me on details.

I still think you’re obliging them too much. Just tell them it’s from “an operation” and tell them the details are boring. The more information you give, the more likely they are to be interested enough to press for more details.

Absolutely agree. I sometimes get asked about my scars (the biggest runs from my groin to my sternum, but there are some horizontal ones lower down and three or four “divots” too where drains and catheters were placed), most people get the “I’ve had to have a few operations” and the people who inquire further get the “I have a few problems with my kidneys” but I always say it in a matter-of-fact and dismissive way and change the subject. No one outside my immediate family (father, brother and sister) know the full story and that’s the way I prefer it.

I’ve never encountered anyone who was rude or made jokes about them (to my face) though, not even at school.

ETA: A hernia op wouldn’t leave that sort of scar. Also, IMHO complicating the cover story is usually a bad idea. Stick with something simple and uninteresting.

Hmm, I’ll try it, but I’ve found that this peaks their curiosity even more.

I should clarify–people aren’t rude about the scars, they’re rude about the incident that led up to me requiring surgery.

Oh, well.

If it were me, I’d make up a bunch of utterly ridiculous stock answers, such as “that’s where the radioactive bees came out” and “it’s a mark where the handle broke off” and offer these in succession - after the third or fourth time the questioner has said “no, really, what happened?”, and it still hasn’t dawned on them, I’d say in the meekest, friendliest, jollyest tone possible “What I’m trying to say is that it’s none of your fucking business”.

Stare at them in a creepy way. Then say: The man that gave me this scar is dead now. Do you *really *want to pursue that line of questioning?

I like this answer the best so far. These people need to learn this very lesson: MYOB. Do it right and you might be the very last person they ask nosy questions. Don’t encourage them by giving them an answer, even a made-up one, that rewards them for their appalling behavior. (I was thinking alien baby myself.)

If you’re not up to quite this level of “in your face,” you could try the Miss Manners approach: “Why on earth do you need to know that?” or “Why do you ask?” – said with a puzzled look. Repeat ad infinitum.

A good friend in high school had (well, probably still has, duh) a very prominent scar across her throat. (It looked more surgical than, er um, otherwise inflicted – very wide and lumpy.) She never talked about it, and I never DREAMED of asking.

Moved to IMHO.

samclem GQ moderator

My dad had a nasty scar on his back due to an operation to drain fluid from his lungs when he was 5. Tell them you had pneumonia. They won’t know the difference anyway.
Somewhat offensive remark to follow…

He always told my friends. “That’s where the Jap stabbed me.”

It always impressed them; “Really? COOooooool”

Say you had surgery when you were very young and have no idea what sort.

Or say it’s an autopsy scar. That should shut them up.

Or, look puzzled and say what scar? Oh that’s just a birth mark.

Or you could say you had a cesarian section; the child was put up for adoption.

I have a scar on my lower leg. I tell people it’s from a machete while I was cutting reeds in a river. (And it’s actually true.)

I don’t believe this is an IMHO, since I was looking for factual answers as to what type of surgery my scar could pass for.

But the only factual answer is the truth.

I appreciate all the suggestions on how I should handle this, but I’ve made my decision as to the best way to approach this. I would just like to find a boring reason for having this type of scar.

I think you’ve set yourself up for failure. There isn’t any boring reason for a large scar (at least none that would be significantly more boring than the truth in this case) - boredom or curiosity is a function of your audience, not the subject material.