Me, my ex-wife, her younger brother, her mother, and family friend "A" were playing poker for cash, as we always did, at the dining room table at my ex-mother-in-law's house. Whenever we'd play the game would only end when the sun had already come up and we were all too damn tired to count the pot. It was one of those nights. The mother, who almost never played cash poker with us, got tapped out quite early. She was regretful because she really wanted to play. But that's the breaks and she went upstairs to go watch TV in bed.
As the night wore on, we started talking about Kung Fu or Karate or what not, and I told them about how they break bricks with their fists. Now "A" and ex-brother-in-law were two immensely burly dudes, especially "A," who literally was a bouncer at a local bar-etc. venue. Since there were bricks outside in the back yard, we decided to go outside and see if we could break one of them suckers with a punch.
Indeed, this is what macho Idiots do occasionally, around 2:00 o'clock in the morning, especially when their brains are addled with many long hours of poker. We all took a Karate (or as SpongeBob would say, "Kah-rah-tay") punch at the brick with our bare fist, and all we had to show for the act of hormonal stupidity were swollen knuckles and a whole lot of throbbing pain. The ex-bro-in-law, however, did manage to break the brick in half with a single punch, and we all hooted in amazement. But his knuckles swelled up as well. We went back in the house and continued playing, sore hands and all.
It was not long thereafter that the mother came downstairs, because she needed something for pain, because her right hand had started to swell up. She showed it to us, and it was swollen in the places that we were hurting. I figured it was the lateness of the hour that afforded such pristine empathy (though definitely an unpleasant one), due to lessened psychic Noise, factoring in the mother's desire to be with her kids, and her connection to them.