ISSUE 37

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 This is your knee. I’ve decided I hate you. From this point onward, my goal in life is to aggravate you and to fray your temper until you physically assault the poor bank clerk who asked how your day was. Oh yes, you’ll hate her. You’ll hate everyone who walks without pain.
 Yes, I had the perseverance of a monk, of a hunting cat, of a near-diabetic who only stays lucid for donut Wednesday. To you it may seem like a one-time deal, a crime of passion and opportunity. You fool. The best villains are the passionless, the ones who slowly build up a bone spur about a centimeter long on your inner knee cap, laugh diabolically, and plan out increasingly sadistic ransom notes, of which this is merely an example.
 Those villains don’t ask for explanations; they don’t provide mercy or wait for Superman to solve his relationship problems before blowing up the Empire State building. They don’t give the Avengers a convoluted plotline that ends in the Siberia. They don’t ever dabble in love or compassion but steep themselves in tax evasion, orc multiplying, the family business, and impractical costumes.
 See it was me, all ME, wearing away your cartilage and adding a little bit of extra calcium to your bone for twenty years. It’s nothing you’ve done specifically but everything you’ve done generally. For the past years, I’ve been waiting for this moment, waiting while you did that gasping, flailing hobby you call running, waiting while you ate your ham sandwiches, waiting while you did those tile jobs without knee pads because you thought, No, my knees won’t care. They’ll always cheerfully work for me. Not this time bucko. This time I have the advantage.
 Could you have done anything to prevent this? Hard to say. Can someone stop Michael Bay from making another Transformers movie? Can someone stop a baby penguin from being adorable? Can the US figure out a healthcare system that provides everyone with sensible, cheap, and quality healthcare?  
  In theory, yes. In theory, the cat wouldn’t throw up on your pillow and the government wouldn’t function like a manic-depressive suicide bomber and everyone would fart daisies and rainbows. Ha. I laugh. Welcome to reality, where the taxes are high and the obesity levels are even higher. 
 So no, in the real world, you wouldn’t have done anything to fix this problem. Ten pounds of flax seed and a generous amount of incense may have helped, kind of… but also not really because, as aforementioned, I hate you and I do whatever I want.        
  Now that you are in my control, I demand recognition. I demand expensive acupuncture, painkillers, and poultices made of the finest hemp imported from India. I demand knee braces, topical pain relief, the soothing croons of a wood thrush, and enough bubble wrap to make a hyperactive six-year-old sweat with anticipation.
  If my requirements are not met, my remuneration will be swift, merciless, tinged with inflammation and hatred, a scorched-earth of cartilage, bone, and tendon that will cripple you like a blind man in a game of Scrabble. You will forever know the meaning of agony. Doctors will know thy condition and tremble for I am thy knee, and they shall bow before my might in great fear and faulty diagnoses.
  If you dare to consult a surgeon to replace me with an artificial knee, your dreams will be filled with my ghost—shattered pieces of bone, tendons failing under pressure, what looks to be a kneecap on x-ray… No licensed psychiatrist could ever penetrate the misery I will inflict you with.
 Lower back has promised its allegiance, and hip is ready to capitulate. They groan under the weight of your oppressive tyranny and the deluxe cheeseburgers with extra cheese, extra bacon, extra mayo, and extra extras. Soon you won’t know your side from the secret agents who have infiltrated your system, who are ready to trade your comfort for 600 mg of Vicodin and a ticket to the Bahamas. Hope Congress figures out health insurance because you’ll need every single penny.  
 
  Sincerely, Dark Lord Knee
    
   
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