So my family is in town, and we hung out at my older brother’s place in the Castro for a while. It was me, S and his boyfriend Oscar, my mom and dad, our younger brother R and his girlfriend Dina.

We started talking about broken bones–whose broken them and what. R has broken both arms (both due to rollerblading) and had crutches for a while, but nobody could remember what he did that he was in crutches twice. Dina broke both her wrists in high school while trying to protect herself after falling backwards; one broke right after the other healed and had the cast removed. My mother has also broken a wrist and had pins in her arm for a while because of how badly splintered the bone was in her case (she slipped by a pool). I’ve only broken a big toe; it was two years ago.

Jacob and I were on our way to the gym, walking there, and a man and his kids were on one side. The kids were running, so we moved to the other side to let them pass. However, the side we were then on had one of those large plants with long leaves that flow over the sidewalk, and it partly masked the unevenness of the concrete. My feet got tangled, and I tripped. In trying to stop myself from falling, I kicked my right leg out–slamming my right toe directly into the back of Jacob’s heel. I had to wear an orthopedic shoe for a few months; it wasn’t something they could cast.

Then S asks my father, “But you’ve never broken anything, right?”

He hesitates to respond, and my mother, myself, and R begin to laugh.

“Well, I have,” he says slowly.

“It’s the stupidest way to break anything,” I say.

S, puzzled by the rest of us laughing, asks, “What did you break?”

“I broke my toe,” my dad says. “In a movie theater.”

“How did you do that?”

“I felt an itch on my big toe, and it wouldn’t go away. So I bent my toe and pressed down really, really hard.”

“So you’re either really weak or really strong–which is it?” R laughs.

“Wait, so you broke your own toe? What did the doctor say when he found out?”

“I lied. I said it started after I’d been exercising in the pool.”

“He wanted his doctor to have an impression he gets more exercise than he really does and not admit he broke it himself while sitting down,” I say, still laughing.

“And then they took forever to tell me that I broke it because they thought I might have gout and they made me do blood tests before doing an X-ray.”

“Because you never told the truth!” I exclaim, “They had no idea you broke it yourself!”

“I told the truth eventually,” my dad says.

“Really?” I ask. “When?”

“When I saw a different doctor.”

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