Mr. Z wiped out on his bike, Friday, on the way home from school. He was apparently "popping a wheelie" when he came down on a rock and, subsequently, bit it. I got a call from him at about 3:10 and he said, very matter-of-factly, "I just totally wiped out on my bike and I busted my elbow." I almost shat my nappies, but then I remembered it was Mr. Z, who has a tendency to, oh, "oversell" a situation from time to time. So I asked him to clarify.
I asked him if he thought his elbow was really broken and he said, "No, but it's gonna need like 10 bandages. It's totally bloody." I then asked him if he wanted me to come and get him and he said he'd be okay and he could ride home.
At that point, I was pretty convinced that Mr. Z hadn't wiped out, but had rather been abducted by aliens, and replaced with a cyborg Mr. Z. There's NO FUCKING WAY that that calm, cool and chillaxin' "person" on the other end of the phone was the Mr. Z I knew.
But, sure enough, 10 minutes later, in walked the boy, bloodied elbow in tow, sans tears and cool as a crabcumber. As I bandaged his wound, he filled me in on the details of the wreck -- there were a lot of kids around when it happened, he got up and dusted himself off, he DIDN'T CRY, and the kicker, an 8th grade boy saw the whole thing happen and proclaimed, "Dude, you totally took that like a man!"
Now, I'm not one for reinforcing sexist declarations of "manlihood" but, FUCK YEAH HE DID! I explained to Mr. Z that if word of his face-plant flintiness got around school, he could well be on his way to gaining some serious middle-schooler "cred." He smiled, stood up a little taller, and then confidently strode into the other room... to play Webkinz with his six year old sister.
(Baby steps to manlihood.)