The Elbows


Deirdre often had problems with her elbows, not both at once, but each separately, as if they took it in turns to irritate her. Not pain like arthritis but more a sense they were alive, separate thinking beings colluding to frustrate anything she wanted to do. Their thoughts hurt somewhat, however, their mental machinations simulating bones grinding… 

She was tested to the limits, unable to mention this to anyone for fear of them thinking her mad. She speculated on obtaining professional advice, but from where? A GP or a shrink? Or even a religious person of some sort? Her husband was certainly out of the question, and if you knew her husband, you would not be surprised how he would be the last person to consult. 

She tried googling the word ‘elbow’ along with some of her symptoms, as people had increasingly become prone to self-diagnosis following the onset of the internet. And people did indeed become subject to the strangest maladies, some quite surreal as a result of their searches. Mostly in their heads. And that is where Deirdre firmly placed the symptoms of her own malady — in the head!

But such googling did also elicit much obscure information about elbows, such as their use in literature, poems and stories and novels. For example, the 20th century fiction writer Elizabeth Bowen had recently been found to use them quite effectively, and that, some thought, was because of her name… The EL of her forename and the BOW of her surname. Or was that a coincidence?

The elbow paths on which the internet took Deirdre often ended up with details about coincidences; how people instinctively used coincidences as cushions when tested to the limits of their own fallible humanity and the otherwise randomness of life. Not that they consciously thought about it. These were factors and machinations not within their heads but within their bodies. And for elbows, please read knees, in some folk. But rarely wrists or waists. Never ankles or knuckles. Mostly elbows, it has to be said. But what about the finger-joints, I suddenly find myself asking?

Well, the story of Deirdre is a complicated one, so I shall simplify it. By ending it here. Other than to inform you that the mindless finger-joints seem to have become part of some conspiracy to test my limits of intellect and will-power. And so this story using elbows as metaphors indeed was forced to end there. Because I have no Voice App on my computer, and, what is more, the fingers have just elbowed me out of consciousness altogether by strangling my neck and they seem to be typing something else. 

And so Deirdre fully recovered without any memory of what was told about her and she now happily plays tennis most of the time.

(We should continue knocking elbows together, I feel, rather than the mere shaking of hands.)

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