It's not about the house.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

You Cannot Be Serious, Man!

I have tennis elbow.

I have never played a single game of tennis in my life but, thanks to it, I have the elbow of an olympic weightlifter.

No, wait. That’s wrong. I have played tennis. Once in my life. In a Middle School sort of field day kind of thing. I remember seeing my name on the docket and thinking “Why did they choose me? This is a prep school, for crying out loud. There are nine-year-old professional-track tennis players that go here!” But my name was on the docket nonetheless, so up to the tennis courts I went to meet my fate. Maybe the pro-track girls were trying to preserve their precious elbows.

Anyway, I played. Or, rather, I should say: I “played.” Because what I really did was stand there with a (borrowed) racket in my hand and lunge about the court while little yellow projectiles ponged around my ears. When it was over, and I was walking back to the gym to report for the next of my Field Day events (which, if I remember correctly, involved smashing gypsy moth caterpillars with a basketball), I ran into one of those pro-track players on her way up for her presumably-proper match.

“Did you win?” she asked me.

“What do you think?” I said.

“What was the score?” In Field Day, like in FIFA, the score matters even if you lose.

“What do you think?” I said again. Because I was good with the words even when I was in middle school.

“15-love?” she guessed.

“What? No,” I said. “15-nothing.”

Ha. Guess I showed her. Know it all.

So that’s the extent of my tennis experience. And yet here I am, thirty years later, with tennis elbow, obviously contracted during that one spastic hour on the court.

I kid, of course. I don't really think this pain comes from holding that Bancroft racket. But I truly don't know how I got it. I just woke up the morning after the 4th of July (which would be July 5th, for those of you playing along at home) with my left arm, for all practical purposes, useless. And when I say “all practical purposes,” I mean all practical purposes. I couldn’t brush my hair, I couldn’t close the car door, I couldn’t (gasp!) open a beer. But I could still work out. I could lift weights and do push-ups. So I did.

For a month and a half.

I figured, like I always do, that painful body parts are like children: if they bother you, poke at them until they go away. I know this is wrong. I know that pain is your body’s way of telling you to take a break (and children are your body's way of telling you to take the pill). But this is my way of trying to show my goddamn body who’s in charge.

Unfortunately, when you poke a baby, it cries louder. And it turns out weight-lifting makes make tennis elbow worse!

As I have been explaining to anyone who’ll listen for the better part of a month, it’s not such an unbearable pain -- it’s more of a twingy, nagging little thing. But because it sneaks up at the oddest moments, it tends to make me catch my breath and holler. When I take my shirt off. When I pass someone the salt. When I try to take a sip of coffee. Not necessarily in order, mind you, or all at the same time. Hell, I don’t remember the last time I had a naked, salty, breakfast meeting. But individually? Ow.

So the worst of it at this point is the trying to explain.


"What did you do?"

"I put my fork down!"


"What happened?"

"I scratched my back!"


"What this time?"

"I poked the baby!"

"Ha," the baby's thinking (I can see it in her face), "that'll learn you, Auntie Erin. Now, quick, get over here and change my poopy pants."

"Yes, baby.


There was supposed to be a picture of said baby in this spot, because I am writing this from her house, where I am babysitting for the next few days. I remembered to bring my camera, but unfortunately I forgot the transfer-cord. So you'll just have to conjure in your mind a picture of a blue-eyed, red-headed baby, with an expression on her face that suggests there might be something going on inside her diaper...


pork luck said...

I have a weird twingy pain in my foot. I can run 5 miles on just fine. but if i stop? and step off a curb? FORGET IT! PAIN! I feel for you auntie erin. I really do.

Hey, where's johnny in all of this? He can pass the salt and scratch your back and take your shirt off...

beardonaut said...

Have you considered that it might be mouse elbow? As in the thing you use with your laptop or whatever? It does happen.

And Mah Girl and I laughed out loud at all the poking at children and pills and whatnot. Highly amusing. We have a palm tree. That's as close to children as we'll get.

April said...

lol cute

amanda said...

perhaps it is beer elbow. try using the other hand for a week.

EGE said...

Beardo and Amanda -- I think beer elbow may be closer to the truth, considering that I mouse with my right hand and the pain is on the left. But I'm an ambidextrous drinker. Or I was.