I was lying in bed with a woman. We were kind of just talking, and she mentioned that her leg hurts. I asked her if she wanted a massage or something. “No,” she said, “it’s not that kind of pain.”

So, we kept talking and ten minutes later, she said, “My leg still hurts.” At that point, I didn’t know why she was telling me this. She said I can’t help, so unless the calmness of her voice belied her need for a trip to the ER, what was I supposed to do?

But I couldn’t say nothing, so I said what came to mind. “Is it unfortunate?”

We looked at each other, and then somehow, we both simultaneously burst out laughing uncontrollably. The most I had laughed in a decade. Because wasn’t that the perfect response? First, it empathizes, Does this need medical attention? Then it ribs, Is what you really want just pity? And finally, it delivers the knock-out blow it intended from the start, What the fuck do you want me to do, woman?