Robert Hitt Neill column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Grandsons learn lessons on breaks, bad breaks and really bad breaks

One weekend in January we were keeping the Grandboys, who had awakened upstairs, had breakfast, and were now back up playing with Stars Wars toys until the rain quit.

Sir was dueling Crash with a Rebellion X-Wing Fighter against a BobaFet-flown Empire Tie Fighter when their Uncle Adam called from Nawth Caihlinuh – Providentially, since all the Star Wars stuff had been his. I talked to my son for a few minutes, then wished him well with the latest crisis and hung up. Doots was sitting in the rocker with a last cup of coffee, so I passed the news along.

“Adam says that Cynthia has broken her shoulder.”

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Sir, sitting next to me on the windowseat bed, froze at the news, put down the X-Wing Fighter, and turned to face me with a no-nonsense-now look on his five-year-old face.

Carefully enunciating to his Grunk, he asked, “OFF?”

Understand that he and Crash were playing with characters whose body parts really did come off in close combat, and they had just been warned last night at the movies that Wookies were sore losers, actually tearing the arms off of opposing players at times.

Both Grandboys seemed ready to leave for a quick trip to the east coast to witness their Aunt Ce-Ce’s dilemma. I could see the question forming in their inquisitive young minds: “How is Uncle Adam going to put it back on?”

One must also understand that the father of these Grandboys has trained them to address these type situations with the mantra, “My Daddy can fix anything but dinner!”

John really can, and has often expressed since his entry into the family that he hopes his progeny do not inherit their Grunk’s nor Uncle Adam’s genes when it comes to building or fixing stuff.  

Our Neill Family mantra is, “If it don’t fit the first time, get a bigger hammer!”

Re-attaching Aunt Ce-Ce’s broke-off shoulder was going to be worth seeing!

Well, their grandmother Doots took over the conversation at this point, so I did not have a chance to enlarge the Grandboys’ fount of knowledge on this medical technology, of the which I am an expert on breaking and fixing most body parts. Matter of fact, one evening the next week, we had a follow-up call from Nawth Caihlinuh to the effect that the aforesaid shoulder was not actually broken (nor broken off!) but instead our victim had suffered a deep bone bruise, plus a rotator cuff tear that would require therapy.

This was a relief of sorts (I was with the Grandboys: how was Uncle Adam going to re-attach her shoulder?  Nails?  Screws?) but brought on other questions as we prepared for bed later on.

I wondered, “How did Adam miss knowing the difference between a broken bone and a deep bruise? I taught him a long time ago that the Neill Rule on broken bones is: If the hair hurts, the bone is broke.”

Betsy shot me her disgusted look.

“Girls don’t have hair growing on their shoulders, like you guys do. Take a look.”

She was correct!

Well, I have never claimed to be an expert on women, nor their broken body parts, but had never thought about this difficulty before. Of course, whether it was right or wrong then, we menfolks were taught, then expected, to play sports when we were hurt, which for some of us carried over well into the more lethal form of combat adventures, like when the USA placed second in the Southeast Asia War Games and I happened to be on our team. Sir’s question “OFF?” certainly applied back then!

Ah, well. Those times are thankfully pretty much over, so now we can pay more attention to the important question of why ladies don’t have enough full-body hair for homegrown bone specialists to diagnose breaks, bad breaks, and really bad breaks.

Obviously, the really bad breaks are the kind that stick out, so they’re more easily identified in the field. The bad breaks make the movement of the involved body parts too painful to bear, unless of course one is a starting player on a football team (note: that’s sarcasm, okay?).  

And we’ve just talked about the rule for lesser breaks: the hair over the bone will actually hurt to the touch.  

Who needs X-Rays? Besides non-hairy women, of course!