Dear Austin,

It looks like you broke your foot after all.  I’m sorry that I questioned you.  You were right.  I was wr…  wrrrrr…

…I didn’t have all the facts.

You have to understand that your track record on potentially life-threatening injuries isn’t very good.  While you’ve never cried “wolf,” you have cried “I think I cracked my collarbone,” “I think my leg just amputated itself,” and “I think I deviated my septum.”  Thirteen years’ worth of every-three-day pleas to go to the emergency room finally took their toll.  I’m sorry that when it came to your first broken bone, we didn’t believe you.

Yes, yes, I understand that you were in a cut-throat game of basketball with one of your student leaders.  I know that you came down wrong on your foot.  But I also know that on the way home that night, you were in the back seat making up rap songs and laughing as hard as you could.  You’ll have to forgive my apprehension when you stepped out of the car and immediately looked like every wounded character in every wartime movie ever made (“Save yourselves!  LEAVE ME!”)

I’m also sorry that you came by your hypochondria honestly.  You learned from the very best.  I still remember the 9th grade mocking for showing up at school wearing an Ace bandage after I’d bumped my knee on the desk the day before.  I know what it’s like to examine every symptom.  And while I still maintain that the Dutch Elm Disease scare of ’08 was touch-and-go (I had scaly bark, dangit!), I’m sorry I passed my drama down the line to you.

However, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that you shouldn’t milk this situation more than you already have.  How you have roped your eight year old brother into waiting on you hand and foot, I’ll never know.  You have that kid making your lunch, fluffing your pillow, and bringing you more movies.  Enjoy it while it lasts, because I’m having a talk with him before he goes to bed tonight and liberating him from the tyranny.

And also, go easy on your mom.  The highlight of this incident will forever be remembered not for your broken foot, but for the “The H.S.A. Talk,” when I overheard her explaining to you how our insurance plan had changed and we couldn’t be running you willy nilly to every x-ray machine in the Triangle.  I love that woman.  The fact that she has survived thirteen years of E.R. trips with you is nothing short of amazing.

So Austin, enjoy your recovery period.  Grab all the sympathy you can from all the people you can.  Decorate your big ol’ boot with Christmas tree lights.  Moan about your chafing armpits.  But the next time that you suspect you have small pox, remember that it was eradicated a few decades ago.

Love,

Dad

*This open apology was pre-approved by Austin, who really wants you all to know that he broke his foot.  And that his father was wr… wrrrr…

…didn’t have all the facts.

 

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