It was wrong of me.
I know it was.
But I couldn't help it.
You see, I don't know what a back spasm looks like. The character I'm playing in Rumors has back problems and I have to perform several back spasms on stage.
So when my colleague (let's call him Harold) mentioned that he will be needing back surgery, my ears perked up
"Really!" I said, trying to control my excitement. I crossed my fingers.
"Have you ever had a back spasm?" I asked non-chalantly.
"I have them all the time," Harold said. I took a deep breath.
"Just last week I had a major back spasm when I was out shopping with my wife. It hurt like hell."
I jumped out of my chair.
"What did it look like? I mean, how did you move your body. Can you show me? Was it like this?" I said as I spastically shoved my shoulders back and stomach out.
Harold shook his head, "Actually, it was more like this" and he demonstrated hunching of the shoulders and folding his body forward. "The pain was like a knife and it spread across my ribs. It was awful."
If Harold was expecting pity, he didn't get it. My smile widened.
"How about this?" I asked, as I attempted to imitate poor Harold's back spasm.
"Well, I wasn't smiling," Harold said. "It was agonizing."
I think Harold was beginning to get annoyed.
So I told him about my play and how I wanted to win an academy award for back spasms.
"Let me try one more" I insisted. "Please?"
Harold politely started to leave my office.
I thought of something else. "Harold! Wait!!!" I called after him.
"If you have a back spasm while we're working, would you mind giving me a call? I'd like to watch."
I didn't quite catch his response.