I don’t mean to brag (of course I do), but I just may have the knobbiest knees on the planet. In our hemisphere, for sure. I’m a mortal lock for Top Ten. My knees have their own topography.
Other girls aspired to be student council president or on the homecoming court; I dreamed of wearing a short skirt without knocking bony knees against single end table corner. You can guess which of those dreams was more likely to come true. (I’ll give you a hint: I doubt I went more than a month my entire childhood without bangs and bruises.)
It’s not like I survived a disfiguring accident – I’m just one of those lucky folks born with knees that bang into each other when I sit down. Or stand up. Or move in any way. I’m strangely lacking in long term memories, but I have two very distinct ones regarding, of all things, my knobby knees.
One is the day a naval doctor froze fifteen warts off my right knee. I’d picked up one or two in my teens and, being a wise-beyond-my-years adolescent, of course I didn’t pay attention to the warnings about how easily they spread. It’s two warts, for heaven’s sake, no big deal. I’ll put a little Compound W on there and fix it right up. Except when you’re
dumb stubborn idiotic and continue shaving. Thus the two multiplied and I gained a remarkably memorable experience of having all fifteen of them removed using liquid nitrogen. In a single appointment.
My other memory wraps “go play outside,” peer pressure, and a fear of uncontrollable speed up with a neat little bow.
I was in second grade and all the kids were hanging out at our neighbor’s house, the one with a giant St. Bernard that was the fluffiest dog I’d ever seen. This particular neighbor had a downhill driveway – I remember it being pretty steep, but that might be the skewed memory of a traumatized seven-year-old talking – and we were taking turns riding skateboards down it. Not that any of us could skate; kids would kneel on the board and whiz off down the driveway, squealing with delight.
That should have been my first clue right there. I can count on one hand the number of times high speeds and delighted squeals have come together in my life. Anyway…
Everyone was taking a turn and soon enough I found myself holding a skateboard, staring at a ridiculously long driveway (again, seven-year-old memory) and wondering how to get out of this. But down went the board and I plopped myself onto it, perching on my knees and readying the requisite squeal. I took a deep breath and started my run, bracing for whatever came next.
Whatever came next didn’t take long. The skateboard picked up speed, I freaked out, and being über cool under pressure I immediately dropped my knees on either side of the board to use as makeshift brakes. That’s right – I left skin off both knees on that driveway as I desperately tried to stop the skateboard.
That afternoon I ended up with both knees covered in Mercurochrome, a first aid antiseptic some genius decided should be red. Once mom had slathered it on I looked like a axe murderer had taken practice swings on my knees.