ps: I bought a whole chicken today, and I'm bummed! No liver, no neck, no heart - shucks, the stock just won't be the same without a neck in it.
My mom broke one once. It was a small 5" thing she bought for $10 at Macy's. She told me that she dropped it one day and it just shattered.
It's generic and way thinner than either the ancient tank that had come to me (she lives alone, is elderly, and did not want to deal with the weight of a full-sized cast iron skillet anymore).
I bought her a couple of AllClad pieces. There have been no further mishaps that I know of since.
It's relatively easy to clean up rust, paint, etc. on cast iron. Using either a lye or acid bath does the trick.
Pitting is something else. If the piece is slightly pitted on the outside, I just let it be. If on the inside, and I really want to use the piece, I have it sand-blasted back to a smooth surface before recuring.
I've never actually seen anyone break a cast-iron skillet. But I've seen many of them that were warped and twisted. This usually results from adding cold water to a hot pan---a technique that used to be promoted by "authorities" as a way of steam-cleaning the piece.