Years ago, I was walking with Trouser on a steep little hill, when she spotted a big old deer resting under a pine tree behind me. She decided on a whim that the deer, with all his pointy antlers, looked like an awful good playmate.Trouser tried to dart off to ask it to play a fetch, I suppose, which jerked the leash, which twisted my leg, which hurt my back, which lived in the house that Jack built.
When my doctor asked how I would describe the pain, I said, "Well, it feels as if I have a rusty old pitchfork in my leg. The pitchfork is standing upright on its handle, only the handle has been left out in all sorts of weather, so the varnish has worn off, and the rain and snow and sun have turned the wooden handle dry and gray and so brittle that any pressure makes it split in long splintery planes.
"So, the tines of the pitch fork are stabbing my back muscles," I clarified, "and then the weathered wooden handle is splitting apart in my leg whenever I put weight on that leg."
The doctor nodded and said, "I was really looking for a number on a scale from 1 to 10, but I'll write down 'rusty pitchfork, splintery handle.'"
I nodded, pleased that my medical record would accurately describe my pain. So what if it was quirky?
Cut to my oldest little offspring.Connor suffered from some ailment recently. An earache? A sore finger? A fire ant bite? Jim, trying to assess how much Connor hurt, asked, "What does it feel like?"
A porcupine without quills. That doesn't sound like much of a porcupine at all. More like a naked mole rat. But who am I to judge?
Jim nodded, pursed his lips into a frown, and said, "Of course. A porcupine. Without quills. I should have known. You get your descriptions from your mother."I've got to say, Connor describing pain as a quill-less porcupine? That moment topped the one when Connor uttered his first "I reckon." Hands down.