Bone Bruises and Mulberries

The world that boys inhabit is utterly unlike the one adults live in, especially the adults of the species “Mother”. I used to be a ten year old boy so I know this; my mother – thank my lucky stars – was never a boy of any age. Of course, her lack of experience in “being a boy” likely explains why she so completely failed to comprehend the sheer brilliance her oldest son displayed almost daily.

Among my most brilliant creations was a game that – for lack of a more poetic name – I shall call “Run Into The Other Guy As Hard As You Can”. Let’s just call it RITOGAHAYC.

The rules of  RITOGAHAYC were fairly complex, so pay attention:

Four of us neighborhood Einsteins would gather in my front yard. Each of us would go to separate corners of the yard, and – at a signal – run towards the middle of the yard as fast as we could. The only purpose and goal of the game was to run into one another at great speed. We would play this game for hours on end, day after day.

We were very good at this game.

I got so good at the game that I bruised my humerus. And no, that is not funny. The humerus is the bone of the upper arm and a bone bruise can have dire consequences. has quite a bit to say about a bone bruise; it’s pretty icky.

RightDiagnosis.Com lists the possible causes of a bruised humerus as:

  • Blunt injury
  • Fall on outstretched hand
  • Mechanical trauma

Yeah. Probably all three. Over and over and over again.

Can you imagine how brain dead a boy would have to be to inflict “blunt injury” and “mechanical trauma” upon himself? Intentionally? For fun?


At the end of the block I lived on, just across the cross-street, was a big mulberry tree. Mulberry trees are awesome trees if you are a ten year old boy, because they beg to be climbed. Boys will attempt to climb anything, climbable or not, simply because it is there. (This is why – once they become men – boys climb mountains.) But when the tree is imminently climbable and – better – when the branches of said tree  are heavy with the delicious, juicy, purple fruit of the mulberry, a mother must know that when her ten year old boy comes home from school during the springtime ripening of the mulberries, that boy is going to be a little later than normal, his belly will be full and his face and clothes will be purple, regardless of what color they may have been when you sent him off to school that morning.

Boys don’t think about climbing the mulberry tree in the morning on the way to school. I don’t know why. (Actually, boys don’t think at all. Thinking doesn’t develop until puberty and generally involves trying to figure out how to get a girl’s blouse unbuttoned.) But when they are on the home stretch during the return from school, the mulberry tree and fruit calls them. If the boy in question had thought in the morning that he might climb the mulberry tree in the afternoon, and if he imagined that he might pick some mulberries to bring home to mom, then he might have the foresight to equip himself with a small bucket, or even a plastic or paper bag to drop those luscious berries into so he could bring them home to mom.

But ten year old boys are barely sentient. They are mostly bone and nerve endings. Foresight is a skill that is simply beyond them. And it is for this reason – lack of forethought I mean – that the urge to bring some mulberries home to mom generally didn’t strike until I was sitting in the tree, face stuffed with mulberries and completely lacking anything resembling a bucket or a bag. But I had a shirt, and a shirt could be turned into a bag of sorts, right?

Mulberry stains are likely the reason Tide got so popular.


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