Idle Hands Do the Devil's Work

The whole house is laid out this week. My nagging virus has turned into a she-beast of laryngitis; my husband keeps getting more and more work as the rest of the house falls apart around him, splitting his loyalties neatly down the middle; and our son...well. We kept him home from school yesterday because he was barking like a seal all night, even though he seemed perfectly plucky once he was awake. The truth was, he was probably fine to go to school--a price we paid later in the day. But I was feeling so punk myself I couldn't fathom his remarkable liveliness with goopy lungs. So while he bopped around the house from one toy car and one computer to the next, I faded in and out of consciousness and coughing fits and occasional interjections from my curious, bored son.

It happened that my husband was taking a breather from work for a few minutes and we were talking on the sofa, about something now completely unremembered. Our idle son had figured out that if he jammed his hands completely down the sides of his stretchy jammie pants, he could become the great hopping no-armed wonder.

The problem with no arms is this: you don't have the same balance you have with arms. And if you're flinging yourself around on slick wood floors in your socks, chances improve dramatically that you will fall. You know how we know this?

One minute we're having an innocuous conversation on the sofa with our unrepentantly joyous monkey showing off for us, the next minute he pitches head first toward the floor, arms cruelly abandoning him in his moment of greatest need. No arms, no catching oneself. No catching oneself, a physics lesson presents itself:

A free-falling object is an object which is falling under the sole influence of gravity. Any object which is being acted upon only be the force of gravity is said to be in a state of free fall.

No amount of wind resistance was going to slow the mighty gravitational force that was our son in that second, and I'm pretty sure that because his hands were buried deep in the recesses of his pants his entire mass landed squarely on his collarbone.

How best to describe the battle? Jammies against son, collarbone against gravity, non-necessary school absence against boredom. I know that my son lost though, and he's now a little tiny invalid stuck in a sling, his usually irrepressible spirit sapped by pain and even more boredom.

Idle hands really did do the devil's work. And though it's probably not polite to joke about the circumstances of his injury so near to the insult, I imagine that describing the situation a few years from now will become a family comedy schtick:

"Do you remember breaking your collar bone?"

"Ah, yes, The great pajama incident of Ought-Nine."

"Everyone always says not to stick your hands down your pants; now we know why!"

"It's hazardous to your health..."

"Talk about a boner!"

Poor little boy.