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Breaking things

One of the aforementioned felines targeted by the kick, although you'd never know from this expression that he'd ever done anything wrong.

This week marks the second time in my life I’ve broken a toe. They’re the only bones I’ve ever broken, knock on wood, so as injuries go, I’m actually quite grateful this is the worst it’s been.

Here’s what happened: We have three cats. It’s a pretty common practice for us to give them a kind of leg sweep when you don’t want them messing with something, not to hurt them, just to scatter them in the opposite direction. (Hey, a lot of the time they outnumber us, you know.) So I was carrying stuff out of the basement, where they are not allowed to go, and kicked a foot in their direction to deter any would-be feline incursion. Instead, I connected with the very-not-soft basement door. Snap went my next-to-littlest toe.

There’s not much you can do for a broken toe, other than stay off it, immobilize it when you need to, and elevate it with ice once in a while at the beginning. So I’ve done all that, and it doesn’t much hurt now unless I think about it really hard. My grandma told me to wear sturdy shoes, which is not really my style, but probably very good advice.

At least this time I knew right away it was broken. Last time I broke a toe, I was 16 or 17, I can’t remember exactly. I was one of a bunch of friends who were down swimming at a local cove at night in the summer, and this particular swimming spot has a lot of large rocks. Even in the summer, Lake Superior is icy cold, and when I banged my toes against a rock, it didn’t even hurt because of the cold water. The next day, my toe was hurting pretty badly, but my parents didn’t know we’d been swimming in the lake at night and definitely wouldn’t approve. (I know, what a wild child, right? No, I really wasn’t.) So I didn’t mention it, and a few days later I went off to a summer music camp downstate, figuring it would heal up sooner than later. It got a lot worse though, after a few days of morning runs plus walking all over the camp to this and that rehearsal, meal and audition. About three days in, I couldn’t go for my usual run with a cross-country runner friend, so I asked her what she thought about my toe. Having been there before, she took one look and declared that it was definitely broken, considering the massive black-and-blue bruising spreading across the top of my foot. So I got some tape from the camp nurse and taped it up, and learned a valuable lesson: Quit abusing injured body parts right away instead of acting like they don’t hurt for days on end. I’m sure if I had been a bit younger or older I would have had more sense, but I didn’t.

So this time I’ve taken good care of myself, with plenty of help from Sam, and maybe I can take yet another lesson from this incident: Wear shoes when kicking cats. Oh, wait, um, no. Don’t kick cats. That’s right. Animal cruelty is wrong.

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