Monday, March 26, 2012

My first big break.

I always imagined my first broken bone would be the tragic but well earned result of something terribly exciting. Isn’t that the dream for any battle scar? You have to have the battle for there to be something deserving of great tales.  Legendary tales, if you will. As a child, I did some pretty break-worthy things. I spent several years sparring with boys (all much larger than myself) in Karate. I recall windy days and being dragged across the lawn by high flying kites attached to the end of my dad’s fishing pole. Climbing and jumping off of higher and higher launching sites just to see how well the umbrella would support me.

My neighbors and I even played this ridiculous (and by that I mean AWESOME) game with a cardboard box: steam roller. All three of us could fit inside this old empty refrigerator box from the garage. After some careful bending and crushing, it became our flimsy hamster wheel of chaos and mayhem. Once inside, we three fearless adventurers would barrel on in whatever direction forward led us until we smacked into something sturdy or we found our way down the hill to the ditch. There was no reverse in steam roller…only forward motion! When we hit a wall, we would turn around inside and once again crawl onward. I can’t even remember how many times we ended up in a heap on top of each other at the bottom of the hill. Even with all of this, steam roller managed to produce an unnoticed bruise or two. But a broken bone? Forget about it.

Friends move away, Karate dojos close down, kites get eaten by far away trees, and you inevitably run out of functioning umbrellas. I can’t even play steam roller any more. And people say being tall is this wonderful thing. Psh! There are so few boxes in my size.

Time went on, like it tends to do. The scenarios changed, but the bones remained unbroken. Four years of marching band and three years fumbling around in the hazardous death zone that was my high school’s backstage area, and not evens a scratch!

Flash forward through my four college years. My legs still ache at the memory of all those muscles pulled in dance classes and theatrical endeavors. Those rough and rowdy games of Humans vs. Zombies gave me a few decent sized scratches. I mean, let’s be serious. Being a zombie is always more fun than being a human, but it’s also a lot more dangerous. Zombies aren’t allowed to care about pain. Nerve endings die with the rest of you.

Enough digression!

Point to be made here? Graduation from college came and went, and I remained intact.

I was really starting to believe that the whole broken bone experience was just not going to happen for me. I would never have the cast to accompany stories of grand adventure ending in a delightful crunch. Destiny, fate, God(s), the universe…they all said ‘NOT FOR YOU, BROGAN!’ This must be what the onset of depression feels like.


What’s this?! At the age of 23, I have at last broken something other than my cell phone: my pinky toe. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. For the next several weeks, I get to sit on stools at work, walk around with my sexy flat footed black boot, and show off my incredibly limited but still nifty collection of canes. You can keep your stinking crutches! I want to make a statement.

“Hold the phone, Brogan. How did it happen?” you seem to say. “Certainly, one who has led such a daring life must have done something so worthy of remembrance that we shall put it down in history books for all future generations.”

I mean come on. I’m an adult now. No more children’s games, no more school day antics…this is time for the serious injuries. Adult injuries. Man injuries. In this moment, I feel compelled to grunt.

Well listen closely, dear readers, and I will tell it all to you.

In the learly hours of twilight, there lurks a beast of great fluff and intimidation. Once he catches on to your scent, you’re pretty much doomed. So I did the only sensible thing I could think of. I ran. For what seemed like hours, my energy was spent dodging objects this way and that, cutting corners and making sharp turns to try and throw him off of my trail. Dehydration set in…fatigue, confusion, blurred vision. In one last ditch effort, I chose a direction and bolted to my fate.


I soccer kicked a table in my living room. Manny, my 4lb Yorky Pomeranian puppy stopped hopping after me and tilted his head at the sound of daddy in pain. He’s very cute when he’s concerned.

At least I didn’t cry. In fact, I didn’t even know it was broken (fractured corrected my doctor…you type tomato, I re-type tomato) until the following morning when I nearly toppled out of bed.

So here I sit about two weeks later, foot propped up and still sporting my super sexy boot. Let me share with you some fun things I’ve learned through this experience:

  1. My tolerance for pain is higher than I thought it was. Hooray for me.
  2. You don’t truly realize how important your little toe is until it’s impossible to use.
  3. Canes are the bee’s knees and get you showered with lots of positive attention. You simply need to be selective with whom you mention the sword hidden inside.
  4. Whittling wood is a good way to get your mind off of being stuck in a chair. It’s very meditative. I have a wand or two in the works.
  5. Unless it is severe enough to require a cast, friends and co-workers will take little issue with hobbling along beside you and granting you endearing nicknames like “gimpy” and “hop along.” And by co-workers, I mean managers.
  6. Work days go by so slowly when you can’t dance.
  7. I was an idiot for ever wanting to break something larger than my toe.

Overall there are some good lessons in there. I have nothing profound to say about human frailty and how such small events as these have the potential to derail our lives. I already knew that, and I’m sure that if you’re honest with yourself, you already knew that too. In the grand scheme of things, we’re pretty tiny and relatively fragile. And that’s all incredibly depressing, isn’t it?

So forget the grand scheme for a minute. Instead, as your Monday Fun Day assignment, I think you should focus on any personal lessons you may have learned through an injury. It’s the lessons with a personal touch that will make bigger differences for you in the end.

As for my experience, I’ve concluded that limited mobility is not my cup of tea. If you know me at all, that’s saying a lot. Tea lover is one of my many titles. I’m a mover and a doer, so the sooner I don’t have to rely on this boot, the better. Consider a broken bone checked off my bucket list.

Much like steam roller, there’s no going backwards now. The only way to go is forward and onward to mending. Perhaps my future adventures can teach me life lessons without any more fractures. After just two weeks, my feet are itching to tap dance again. I would hate very much to keep them waiting.


  1. The things you learn through broken bones, my love! Well, my lesson wasn't through a broken bone but an illness, does that count? Well, I'm counting it, it was pretty special.

    I learned at 8 that anyone can die. Morbid, I know, but it's true. I had two heart surgeries, one before and one after my 9th birthday, and even though my mom kept a smile and promising I'd be just fine, I could see the terror behind her eyes just before they took me into surgery. Right then, I realized that just because I was young, just because I'm a little girl, doesn't mean I can't die. I could die. That's the last thing I thought before I was put under. It was a poignant moment for me, to be a little girl and realize I wouldn't live forever, and unfortunately that fear has stayed with me, unwilling to do a lot of things and go outside my comfort zone, which you've seen a lot.

    But now I look back on that moment, and instead of feeling that cold, suffocating fear of my existence just... stopping, I realize I need to do everything possible, everyday, to live instead of just hiding from death.

    And there's my homework :) Please recover quickly! <3<3<3

    1. I'm glad you've finally turned that around for yourself. At 2 years old, I had almost total kidney failure. Had they not caught what was wrong, I would have probably been dead the next day. Death doesn't discriminate based on age.

      That being said, I think your new view on life is the best way to go about it. Sometimes you just have to look death right in his face...and smile. Haven't gotten me yet!

  2. I cry for your toe. And have an intense desire to cuddle your puppy.

    1. Don't cry for my toe. Of all the things I could have broken in my body, I'm actually pretty happy with how things turned out. It'll heal. :)

      And as for Manny...he would love that. He's all about meeting and cuddling new people. In fact, pretty much anyone who has visited tries to steal him.

  3. I think the whole ordeal was worth it just to have that cooler-than-cool copy of your x-ray!!!! The mental image of younger you and two other boys rolling around in a refrigerator box makes me laugh; knowing you now, that's SOOOO something you'd have done at that age (and, should you ever find a larger box, something I bet you'd try again....).

    Keep rocking those awesome canes!!! :o)

  4. Keep your eyes open for a larger than life box, and you bet your ass I'll be trying it again. And my neighbors growing up were two lovely ladies...not boys. They were pretty bad ass. :)

  5. Loved that Box!!!!! :) I for one am still a Bad Ass!

  6. I am loving this blog Brogibutt! This is the first chance I've had to read through all of them and they are so funny! You are a wonderful writer :-)