Broken People

“Your Granda was in an awful state the other night,” says Mum. “He came in looking all upset, holding his favourite DVD and saying Ye know them wee disks? Somebody told me that if ye get a scratch on them, they’re broke, is that true? If I scratch it, is it broke? I think it’s broke. I tripped and dropped it, and got a scratch on it, and now it’s broke.

“Give the TV a dunt,” Dad instructs me. I look inquisitively at him, smack the side of the TV, and the sound comes back on.

“Anyway,” continues Mum, “I told him that the best way to find out if they’re broken is generally to put them in the DVD player and press play. He wanted to know how he’d be able to tell. Well, I said, if it’s not broken, it’ll play. If it is broken, it probably won’t.”

The TV falls silent again and I look uncertainly at Dad for a moment before leaning over and gently patting the screen. The sound comes back on.

“So, was it broken?” I ask Mum. She shrugs. “I don’t know. He just carried it around gently for a while, looking heartbroken.” She adjusts herself in her bizarre-looking sideways position on her favourite reclining chair, and there is a loud clunk.

“Err, Mum?” asks The Sister. “Why are you sideways?”

“The guy didn’t come to fix my chair,” says Mum unhappily. “I can’t sit properly on it or the back falls off.”

Thump! goes the TV as I give it a now instinctive sound-prompting nudge.

Dad sighs. “Everything’s broken,” he says gloomily, and rather unnecessarily.

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