It's amazing as we age how banter tends toward the body - and how it's falling apart.
When you're younger, and perhaps more durable, the focus is more, say, romance, travel, whimsy. Being broke don't rate, except financially, because there's this unflinching faith you'll repair, rapidly.
But as the rigours of life take their toll, small talk increasingly defaults to ACL reconstructions, crook backs and that surgery you had to your whatever it was.
Not a bad thing, just a statistical slide into decrepitude, perhaps, as the eyesight wanes and the menu just won't come into focus, no matter how many reds you've consumed.
Such was the realisation on a recent family gathering, designed to commemorate the one-year passing of our dearly departed mum. And of course, with no disrespect to our wonderful mother, death would have to be the ultimate niggle. But we didn't dwell on that, except in the most celebratory way, which I hope mum would understand.
But in catching up, there was a fair amount of reconnecting with brothers, sisters and respective in-laws, about where they were at - spiritually, emotionally and in particular, physically.
They'd arrived at the designated rendezvous point up the coast for a week's reflection and it didn't take long to work out we needed an injury jar - similar to a swear jar - for every time someone mentioned another thing gone bung. PING!
Fair enough, we had one brother recuperating from knee replacement, one bro-in-law back from the brink of a heart infection, another bro bearing quite a few scars from the skin cancer man, a sister in law who'd rolled her ankle, another who'd put a fence post through her leg mowing the lawn, there were endless dental anecdotes, tendonitis got high rotation, and so it went.
Life, be in it, but mind your step.
We could have talked about the bloody drought, the catastrophic fires, foreign influences undermining our soveriegnty - and we did - but not with the same intensity. Never underestimate the power of physical infirmity to really bring people together.
Once you've had an injury or two, seems there's nothing more engaging than listening to someone tell their heroic tale about how they fell off a bike on Christmas day, crushing a scapula, breaking multiple ribs and ruining lunch. Before launching into your own tender account of the day you shattered your patella and had to be airlifted off a rock shelf higher than Prince before his untimely departure. The call and refrain on the injury blues. Interesting, we all agreed that in general drugs are bad, but in certain circumstances, drugs are really good.
Atrial fibrillation is obviously another conversation starter, if you survive it. Talk about the arrhythmia of life. Reminds you of that joke about the person who gave you an epi-pen shortly before they died.Seemed important to them that you should have it. And don't mention migraines. PING!
The injury jar was full by the end of the week. A bit like the rest of us. Family ties reinforced by the common bandages of wear and tear.