Fun-knee

This column first appeared in The Sunday Times on 28 March 2021.

I used to believe that there was something funny to be found in any situation. Which is a useful view to hold when you’re a humour writer. But now I’m not so sure.

A few weeks ago, I had surgery on my knee, and now that I’m laid up, I’m wondering if my surgeon also took out my funny bone while he was in there. Because there is literally nothing I can think of that’s funny about any of this.

I guess if you’re not me, my elephant foot might look pretty funny, and my swollen-sausage toes, which pour with sweat, could be considered funny, in a pull-my-finger, five-boy-digs kind of way.

Another thing one might find funny is that days after my op, my guy hurt his foot badly, and his daughter – who is living with us right now – wound up on crutches. Well of course. In the one-half-second I have an excuse to be sad, self-indulgent, and ring a bell every time I want things brought to me on a platter, everyone else in the household has to jump, fall and hairline fracture on the bandwagon too. Now it’s all pain-killer lunches and physio nights around here.

So things have gotten unfunny and pretty boring at my place. Between COVID, lockdown, and this knee speed-bump, I’m plotting some things when I get back on my feet.

There are going to have to be drugs, late nights, and maybe even grand theft auto, to make up for this lull in regular programming.

And I’m daydreaming about all the leg-related things I’m going to do. Skiing, pole-vaulting, pantyhose modelling, and I’m definitely taking up Scottish dancing. Not that I’ve ever shown an inkling of talent or an iota of interest in any of those activities, but it’s like hugging. You can actively avoid it your whole life, but take it away from you for a year or two, and suddenly you miss it more than nightclubs.

And even though I’m super happy in my relationship, I might have to go and have an affair. Or maybe not: at least with grand theft auto, I won’t have to get a bikini wax or buy new knickers.

Or I could kill someone in politics. I’ve discovered that I totally have the penchant. And at least that would make me a person of interest. But I haven’t seen any friends or family in over a year, so I’m not sure I have any wingmen left who would help me get rid of the body. I could ask my guy’s daughter, but her crutches glow in the dark, so we probably wouldn’t get away with it.

Even my crutches are boring. If I’d known they came in fancy colours like hers, I would have gone for ones in camouflage. Then you’d never even see that I was on any. Oh wait. No one can see me anyway.

YouTube is full of guys getting hit in the nuts and brides falling off tables, so clearly a lot of people find pain funny. But that might be another one of those things where it’s only funny when you’re watching it, not when it’s happening to you.

So, what have I found funny in this whole operation? There has to be something. As Michelle Obama says, when things go bad, writers go dark.

The fact that there are a million stairs on my property? No. Still not funny.

I guess it’s funny that I discovered that my guy can’t make sound effects. We’ve been together almost three years, and it took ten stitches in my meniscus to find that out.

He was trying to soothe me out of pain and into sleep with what I’m told was the sound of a babbling brook, and some frogs. More like a concrete mixer and a hadeda. I thought all guys knew how to make sound effects. And a frog, isn’t that the easiest one? You just say ‘ribbit, ribbit’, even better, burp it! What guy can’t do that?

What else? Well, I’m in this brace and on crutches for 42 days, and we all know that 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything. No, also not funny. But deep if you can figure it out. I haven’t yet.



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