Monday, February 02, 2009

Snap, Crackle & Pop

When I got up after an hour spent sitting on the couch reading the Sunday Hartford Courant my right knee tendon snapped -- loudly. Mars, my wife, continued her newspaper browsing as if nothing at all had happened.

We both had read the "Laurence Cohen & Gina Barreca | Irreconcilable Differences" column on "The Burdens of Woo and Whoopee".

He said, "Consider the poor male Eland antelopes. In order to keep the girls happy, the guys have to force their knee tendons to make a loud clicking noise that the girls really love. The bigger the guy, the louder the click. It works fine, except that the lions can also hear the clicking. Oops. It's hard to be a man."

She said, "Meanwhile, the females of the species are feeding the babies by regurgitating food from their own intestinal tracts while the males complain that they aren't getting enough attention and also explaining that since, hey, they are not like those weirdo swans who mate for life ('Nature didn't make me that way, darlin' and besides, when you click your knee tendons the way I do, how can one I give myself to just one Eland lady?")..."

I said, "Didn't you hear that?" as I rapidly jerked my other knee backwards in a desperate attempt to replicate the sound on that side also. It popped meekly.

Mars said -- well, nothing actually -- but she did manage a smile of bemused annoyance.

My tendons have been making noises for as long as I can remember. Similar snapping sounds also emanate from various other parts of my body -- neck, elbows, back, ankles. Often times the simple act of arising from a seated position results in a volley of clicks and cracks similar in both timbre and volume to the collective tendon calls of a hundredfold herd of hot-to-trot African antelopes

The crackling sound in my knee happens several times a day under, to me anyway, random circumstances -- mostly without any conscious effort on my part. Like the other noises, I assumed it was the natural result of sixty-five years of use, plus arthritis, plus an injury or two -- but in general not necessarily a good thing. Now I clearly see that it for what it really is.

And it gets even better because "as an eland grows [a obvious euphemism for gets older] its tendon gets longer and wider, its knee-clicks deepen." -- hence the term "whippersnapper" for a young, inexperienced buck.

This also explains why begging sometimes actually works.

It isn't really the act of obeisance that does the trick. It's the noise that your knees make when you struggle to return to an upright position. That is if she can even hear those salacious snaps above the cacophony of other concurrent crackles and pops -- and the sound of her own sardonic laughter.

No comments: