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.)