I’ve always wanted crutches.  Who hasn’t?  They look so fun.  Back in high school, every few months a kid would show up to school on crutches, usually from a sports injury of one kind or another.  I was always a tad jealous.  If the injured was male, he’d lean against the hallway in his letterman jacket and just stand there looking tough, boasting his crutches like a battle scar.   If the injured was a girl, however, those crutches were her keys to the kingdom:  they got her attention, sympathy, a viable excuse from P.E., and then a little more attention.  She’d hobble a few feet from her locker until a guy–always a guy, usually a cute one–rushed up to take her books and walk her to class.  It didn’t matter if the be-crutched girl was a freshman or senior, pretty or plain; adolescent males were just dying to prove their blossoming chivalry.  It was a beautiful thing to behold.  I wanted  crutches so bad.  And I still do.

I want to lean my weight heavily against  the steadiness of the wooden handles, my arms hanging idly over the top and thus incapacitated for any work besides pushing myself along.  I want to feel the solid cool of the metal bars against my weak, malleable hands.  I want to hear the stead thud of the circular rubber sole as it sinks into the ground, transforming each clumsy step into one of determination.  I want to swing my bent, casted leg back and forth against the current of forward motion, like a child on a swingset.  I want others to gaze on me with admiration as I cheerfully endure the hardship imposed upon my virtuous nature.  On crutches, everything I said or did would be cloaked with an aura of genteel long-suffering and my simplest gestures would become noble.  Smiling, laughing, sheepishly asking for help up those stairs–even shaking out my hair and licking my lips would look adorable were I so en-crutched.  And–most importantly–if I was on crutches, people would finally listen to me!  A woman on crutches is a woman who knows her mind.  Who can argue with her?

And yet, for all my discussion on the topic, I must accept the fact that even though I’ve always wanted crutches, I really don’t need them.

But here’s the punchline:  I use them all the same.  I do.  I live my life on crutches.  The kind that have nothing to do with a broken leg.

And  I use them for all the same reasons–and results–listed above.

So here’s my compromise:  I’ll tell you that I need them, and I’ll tell you that I use them.  But I won’t tell you what they are.

(Unless you tell me what yours are.)

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