April 1st, 2008

amuse me

CRACK ADDICT

La la la! Hey there! How are ya? Good? Are you good? I'm good, though I was kinda wondering earlier when I felt that familiar sense of detachment settle around my shoulders like a warm and comfortable shawl. I've been in the process of shrugging it off all evening, however, and it's currently lying on the floor, keeping my feet warm instead.

I had a massage at work today, much-needed since last week just as I knocked on the door for my scheduled appointment she popped her head out with her coat on and made me want to cry by saying how sorry she was but she had to run home: sick kid. "Sick kid! What about my NECK AND SHOULDERS?" I thought, and was instantly ashamed though I did still want to cry. Like her kid couldn't have waited another half hour.

hee!

Anyway, in the middle of the massage, I suddenly felt I had to move my head slightly and when I did so, one of the vertebrae in my neck let out a POP so loud that it practically echoed. "Whoa!" she said. I laughed. As long as I can remember I've been able to crack my neck, my ankles, my knuckles, my spine. Once, at work long ago in Chicago, I twisted my head to the side in front of one of our IT guys and my neck went off like popcorn. He was flabbergasted. I was kind of proud of my show-off loudmouth neck, since he was so impressed.

My dad used to regularly crack his knuckles too, in fact, except for my mom (who probably does it in secret, though she'd deny it), my whole family does it. Anders doesn't and he gives me the hairy eyeball every time I crack something in front of him (especially a bad joke). Karin cries out in distress and says sternly, DON'T DO THAT MAMA, but then she proudly tells me when SHE'S managed to crack something, usually inadvertantly, since she's not encouraged to take up the habit-forming practice.

The best kind of hug is the kind that causes my spine to pop in a couple of places, though it happens very infrequently, I'm sad to say.

I've never been too concerned about enlarged knuckles or arthritis (something I worry about for other reasons) since I've seen no signs that cracking my knuckles or back or ankles or neck has caused any physiological changes, plus I've read enough about it to know it's (mostly) an old wive's tale. One online medical study did state that "Habitual knuckle cracking was associated with manual labour, biting of the nails, smoking, and drinking alcohol" which made me laugh, since I am associated with none of those things.

I don't crack my knuckles by lacing my fingers together and stretching my palms outward away from my body. Instead, I wrap the fingers of one hand around a finger on another hand and twist. I can get 3 good pops out of one finger if I'm lucky. Another study online called knuckle-cracking "annoying and asocial" which I found a bit harsh. Annoying, okay, I can see that, but I suspect that most annoyance caused by someone else cracking their knuckles is because so many people have it pounded into them from childhood that they shouldn't do it and those who do must, therefore, be both rule-breakers and rebels of the first degree. For those who do indulge, it tends to give a pleasurable sense of looseness and relief and most people do it unconsciously, so it's certainly not usually done with the INTENTION of annoying others, at least not to start with. But asocial? Give me a break.

Where do you fall in the knuckle-cracking camp? Do you crack 'em or shiver at the thought?
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