That's basically what I did this weekend with a $20 67mm UV filter for my Nikon D70s.
I was running late for my youngest son's baptism, and was carrying more stuff than I probably should've been (baptismal blanket, camera, tripod, and a bottle of formula in case the man of the hour got hungry), and made the mistake of not putting the camera strap around my neck. When I shifted my loads around to get to my keys and lock my car, the camera strap slipped out of my hands, and CRASH! Down went the camera onto the pavement.
As you might imagine, I thought for sure that the camera was probably trashed, but fortunately, having landed lens down, the aforementioned UV filter bravely sacrificed itself to save the camera.
So I've learned two important lessons:
What about the lens hood? That's what should be protecting your lenses... You're lucky the UV filter didn't break and scratch the lens.
Don't be too sad!
I saw this pink hat with frilly froofroo's that if you wear, will make you look just as silly as with that humungous camera around your neck!
See! Problem solved!
Yeah, I hear you about the lens hood. Problem is (as Sahil kindly pointed out), the camera's already pretty big. I don't mind that, since I get far better pictures than the tiny pocket cam Sahil probably uses, but when you add a lens hood, the thing becomes even more awkward. So unless I know I'll need it to avoid lens flare from the sun, I don't bother with it.