Wednesday, November 6, 2013


The other day I was sitting next to a fellow whom I've known for at least two years. We were in a meeting and he turned his head such that my vision was a little obstructed by his neck.  And then I noticed a birthmark on his neck, just a little north of his shirt collar.  I've seen this guy daily for years, never noticed it before, but there it was.

Everyone has a birthmark but unless you are an intimate of someone, it's more likely than not that you won't be able to see some other's mark.  Like other biological phenomena they're odd things birthmarks when you take a step back. Of course, so are fingers, and ear lobes, and toenails.  In those cases though we all have pretty much the same equipment in the same shape in the same places. Not so with birthmarks.  Some are tiny and obscure. Others the shape of continents and visibly on someone's arm. Some seem dark, others-- like my colleague's--barely discernible.  Strange things birthmarks.

Seeing his birthmark made me, for some reason, muse about another type of mark we all--if we've been around the track for some time--are likely to have. Perhaps what fueled this contemplation was the value of the particular meeting I was attending.  Regardless, it surfaced into my consciousness and has been hanging about for a spell.

What if we all could see our life marks.  Not birthmarks, but vestiges of singular experiences we have had.  Unlike birthmarks we'd likely to have more than one.  And unlike birthmarks they'd likely all be around the same places on everyone's anatomy.  A lifemark from when you first fell in love; a mark from when your heart was broken; a mark from when you first enjoyed the thrill of physical intimacy; from when you felt as if you had done something extraordinarily valuable at work; from when a parent died; from an evening walk for an ice cream cone you shared as a teenager; from a moment that was beyond mortifying; from a time when you know in retrospect you did something reprehensible; from when you brought life into the world; from when you knew you could not; from when your heart was broken again; from the time you celebrated your happiest birthday.

These would be our lifemarks. And unlike birthmarks, so capriciously placed and sized, lifemarks, would tell anyone who could see them all they would need to know about who we are. And if we, ourselves, allowed ourselves to see them, we could--emerge from the shower, stand naked in front of the mirror, allow the steam to disappear--and see who we are and how we've evolved.


  1. I love the concept of lifemarks. Just had another grandchild-first girl named Sophie after 8 boys. I was contemplating unconditional love obsessivley this morning. Is it just for children ( for sure)) or does it include spouses, or life partners. Not too sure. Then I checked out your blog and loved the concept of lifemarks. Keep thinking Zeke. Twitter is worth billions, and lifemarks is a better concept.

  2. I meant the concept of lifemarks.

  3. Thanks, as always, for reading the blogs and this nice comment. Congratulations on Sophie, and the eight others. You have done something very right. Zeke