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So I wake up this morning and my knees are killing me.  We’ve got a storm front coming in later today and, as usual, my knees are forecasting the weather better than Jim Cantore on the Weather Channel.

I’ve always had knee “is-shews” as my roommate likes to say.  I first really started noticing it when I was in junior high.  I ate lunch every day under a tree near the cafeteria with my friends Lisa and Terry.  On the grass.  My knees would creak and groan as I lowered myself to the lawn.  At least I wasn’t alone.  Terry’s knees were pretty noisy, too.  

Right around that time Steve Martin was getting popular and we loved the line in “Grandmother’s Song” where he says we should “be oblong and have your knees removed“.  We would laugh about it and make jokes about skipping gym class because we had no knees (not that we could skip since we had no knees).

Over the years my knees have taken quite a beating.  There was the time I ran down a steep hill at church camp, lost my footing and slid knee-first into my counselor at the bottom of said hill (all the while trying to impress a group of boys gathered at a nearby fence).  I laughed at my clumsiness while my knees were screaming at me.  What I really wanted to do was shriek and cry with pain.

Or there was the time in December 1992 while I was commuting home from work in San Francisco on BART.  I stepped off the train to let those behind me disembark. Someone jostled me and I lost my balance.  My left leg slid into the gap between the train and platform.  Down, down, down I slid as though being sucked into a black hole.  A few kind strangers helped pull me out of it, but not before I badly twisted that knee and scraped my leg just below the knee doing permanent nerve damage.  To this day, nearly 16 years later, that area is still tender to the touch.  My doctor also told me that if I didn’t have such loose joints, I would’ve broken my knee.

But, in spite of the agony I have inflicted upon them, my knees have generally been pretty good to me.  They’ve taken me to the tippy top of Mount Diablo in California, helped me hike through a Costa Mayan rain forest, and kept me trudging along through countless museums in Scandinavia and Russia.

So for now, on days like today, whenever my knees ache from an approaching storm, or in the morning as I gingerly make my way downstairs (my next house will be single story!), I will simply pour myself a cup of coffee and swallow a couple Aleve.  There’s time enough in the future to be oblong and have my knees removed.


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