My Pretty Knees
by Liz Flaherty
Every now and then, I get a little brazen and mention that I think God made a few mistakes here and there. In January one year, I said something about February being an absolute slipup and we were blessed with a blizzard that lasted — I’m almost positive about this — the entire length of the two months. I also complain loud and long about Mondays, which doesn’t do any good at all, and makes me feel worse about the whole thing as I’m oversleeping, trying to find my keys, and leaving my lunch at home on the counter. Flies, spiders, cockroaches, bugs that sting, and anything resembling a snake are things I could live happily without. I don’t know what Noah was thinking, but surely God didn’t mean two of everything, did He?
So now let’s talk about the human body. What happens to it? My sons’ feet were so cute when they were babies; one boy’s were long and slender, his brother’s short and chubby. They’re in their 30s now, and they both need to keep their shoes on at all times because those feet aren’t at all cute anymore. I’ve mentioned — way too often — what gravity does to all of us. That’s not pretty, either. But now there’s something else.
I’ve always rather liked mine. They made it through childhood relatively unscarred and have never been knobby or shaped funny the way some people’s are. I was always able to ignore the fact that I had thick ankles and numerous other body parts that were failures and just concentrate on my good-looking knees. Only now they’ve failed, too. If my mother were here, she would say I had not spent enough time kneeling. She would probably be right, too — she almost always was.
But I’m getting away from my subject. Now that my knees — actually it’s only one of them; the left one is still fairly good as long as I’m nice to it — are giving me fits, I’m discovering how much I used them.
I use them for kneeling, obviously. But if you groan out loud in church, someone will be concerned. They will help you up, of course, and sympathize. And snicker. It’s the snicker that gets me.
I’ve been crossing my legs as long as I’ve been sitting down. But if I cross them now, it makes me ... yeah, you guessed it ... makes me groan. So I have to cross my ankles instead, and it’s not nearly as comfortable.
With grandchildren, it’s always more fun if you can crawl around on the floor with them. I still get down there with them, but I never crawl around and then they have to help me up. They think it’s funny, even funnier if I moan a lot while they’re helping me up.
Then there are steps. When you were young and agile, you could always send your kids upstairs if you needed something. When the kids are all gone, and so are the knees, you suddenly need something all the time and there’s no one to send.
To add insult to my injury, the ex-rays that were taken on my knee revealed exactly nothing. So now I’m not only groaning a lot, the reason I’m doing it is all in my head. My doctor, who’s young enough to give Doogie Howser a run for his money (and don’t even tell me you don’t know who Doogie Howser is; I don’t want to hear it), tells me cheerfully to take a couple of the little blue pills I favor and then, if it still hurts, take a few more little blue pills.
So, okay, I don’t really think God made a mistake in giving us knees. As I said before, I’ve always liked mine. But I can’t help wondering if He really meant for them to wear out so soon.
Married for thirty-some years to Duane, her own personal hero, and mother of three and grandmother of six, Liz Flaherty has written a column from her Window Over the Sink off and on for over ten years. She hopes you enjoy her essays. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org