lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

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Location: Kolkata, India

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Occupational hazards

Jerome K Jerome is a wonderful writer:

"...I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was house-maid's knee."

Jerome's young man's aggrieved feeling is only too well understandable. Hypochondria is an easily acquired thing. I just have to read about symptoms of any disease and it seems to me I probably have it. It was not until I read J K J that I realised it is universal, though.

Other than imagined or feared maladies, we all go through life nursing some minor and assorted problems.

Doing a thing, any thing, tends to make our bodies attuned towards doing it long-term, and our bodies cope with the latest demand by either developing the muscles involved or registering a complaint.

Repetitive injury syndrome, they can call it, but it is basically what you get if you are at your computer about 6 hours a day or so; they call it carpal tunnel syndrome but what it translates to, is the fact that you can't stop yourself playing Minesweeper(in my case). What we do on a regular basis always has an added risk factor.

Think about cooking three meals a day(:D), and you'll get what I am trying to say. Graters scrape more than vegetables or cheese, they leave scratches on fingers. Seasonings or oil have a way of splattering, and a careless stroke of knife when chopping vegetables... and you get to wear your badge of honour in form of a blister, a burn or a band-aid plaster.

What we do shows on our bodies. When I used to play the veena, I had callouses on fingers, and my ankles, from sitting cross-legged with the weight of the veena adding to the pressure.

People whose jobs involve a lot of standing develop corns; door-to-door sales-persons probably get blisters from all the walking; tennis players get the tennis elbow (I am not mentioning famous non-tennis players who got it); writers, apart from writer's block, used to get writer's cramp; and key-board users get stiff fingers and gritty eyes and possibly spondylosis.

It is the interminable repetitions of a single activity that cause problems.

But on the other hand, those who jog get a healthy metabolism, those who pump iron get sculpted bodies, yoga enthusiasts get to twist themselves into human pretzels and regular walkers get a trade-off of stamina.

Jerome's young man who went through a list of diseases and imagined that he had all of them except the house-maid's knee, was lucky to be in a different age from now; he was lucky not to have a syndrome I have discovered, and given a name.

I discovered it, because I suffer from it and found that it is not listed anywhere.

Reading Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time books causes it.

Actually, reading paper-backs that are 700 or more pages long and hence heavy, causes it. Holding them and reading them, in Jordan's case with a fatalistic stoicism, because the man won't see his way to ending the series, puts a lot of strain on wrists. I actually wear wrist supports when I read Jordan. :D

I have named this particular ailment the 'reader's wrist'. I am sure there are many of us who suffer from it, and now we have a name for the syndrome. :D

Cheers!

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