In case of death

Megan (a mortician) asked today what marks we have that could be used to identify our bodies and whether our significant other could identify us (risky question!). It made me think – I’ve always accepted without question how on crime shows the husband or wife is always like “s/he had a such-and-such shaped birthmark on the inner thigh!”

Seems like something a significant other would know, right? But I have no idea if Thomas has any birthmarks. Though, to be fair, I have trouble remembering where mine is, too. (It’s pretty light, but I did find it on my first try just now. I’m certain Thomas doesn’t know about it.)

So my list is pretty non-existent:

1. Stretch marks all over my stomach and bum from pregnancy and my upper inner arms and thighs from growth spurts as a kid. Though the older ones have faded so much you can’t really see much.

2. Slightly darkened skin (birthmark) on my stomach 4.5 inches to the right of my bellybutton. (Yes, I am sitting at my desk at work with a ruler on my stomach, so what?) (Also, that’s my right, not someone else’s right as they’re looking down at my body trying to identify it. How am I supposed to say that?)
That’s it. A tiny birthmark and run-of-the-mill stretch marks. I suppose you could say I have a bunch of acne scars on my face, but they’re not in memorable places and often fade away. I also have a mole on my neck that might be identifiable if you compare pictures of me to my body, but not in a place someone could describe as an identification. Plus, I have a tendency to photo shop it out just to make everything more smooth in pictures. (I’m usually photoshopping out acne scars and figure why not erase the mole, too?)

I used to have a triangle-shaped scar on the inside of my right arm, near the wrist, from a cookie sheet. I was taking it out of the oven with a pot holder, but wasn’t good enough at keeping my arm out of the way. This was probably 12-15 years ago. For years and years it was a dark, noticeable scar. The pan was air-bake with a kind of lattice-y underside for the air pockets, and the somewhat distinctive pattern was burned into my skin.*

But it kept fading and fading and when I first looked just now I thought it was gone. I eventually found it, but no one would ever think it’s a burn mark – it just looks like (very) slightly discolored skin, like from uneven sunning or something. Really, it’s so light that if I pointed right to it people might say I was making it up and there was no discoloration.

Everybody cross your fingers I still have fingers in the case my body ever needs to be identified, because it looks like fingerprints are all I’ve got. That and dental records, I guess.

*If I were on a really lame crime show, my mom could have brought in the cookie sheet and the medical examiner would have matched the marks on the bottom of the pan to my arm. Voila! IT’S HER.

Comments

  1. In this I’m set. I have a birth mark that is HUGE and impossible to miss. Left to right it starts at the center of my pelvic bone and wraps around my hip and covers an inch or two of my rear on that side. Top to bottom it starts an inch or so below the leg elastic on basic bikini underwear and ends maybe an inch above the waste of said bikini underwear. Someone would have to remove 1/4 of my torso to make me unidentifiable.
    I guess my wife would be identifiable by her lack of identifying marks. She has albinism, so no pigment at all.