November 11, 2007
by Eric Thomas
Age 12 at the time
Steve Ramirez was cool. Even as a sixth grader he could dance and play any sport well, make people laugh, and talk to girls without nausea. In other words, he was the polar opposite of me.
He broke his toe playing football in his front yard with other cool kids, and was in crutches for a few weeks. At school, his injury made him shine even brighter. Teachers and students alike wanted to carry his books while he crutched from class to class. Everyone asked him how he hurt himself, when he would get the cast off, did it hurt or itch.
I wasn't jealous of him. I didn't dislike or resent him. I liked him as much as everyone else.
A few weeks after Steve was off the crutches, I lay on my stomach on the floor of my room, kicking my right toe against the floor as hard as I could stand. I was trying to break my own toe. I kicked harder and harder, but stopped when it was clear that I didn't have the will to do any real damage.
As silly as it seems now, it seemed like a reasonable sacrifice to make in order to make a few friends.