The Lost Knuckle by Jeff Burt


So, doctor, what does the MRI show?

You’ve basically lost your knuckles in your thumbs. Texting, gaming. See it more often. Used to be reserved for old men who did typesetting.

How can I have lost my knuckle when it’s still there?

You’ve lost the function of the knuckle, so the knuckle now is merely a place, not a function.

So I can use it as a noun, but not like a verb?

Exactly.

So I can no longer knuckle under? Or knuckle down?

No, and you can’t really thumb your nose at it anymore either, because to be a thumb means to have the function of the knuckle.

So I don’t have disposable thumbs anymore?

No, you never did. It’s opposable thumbs. No grasp of it, either, I see.

So I’m like an ape?

By rule of thumb, in the use of tools, yes, and maybe other areas, but you can still use a computer, justnotthespacebar. You will still be able to knuckle-drag, though, which has nothing to do with knuckles but a simian shuffle and depressed posture, which you seem to have already.

No knuckle-down-tight for marbles?

Do you have any marbles left?

What about white-knuckling?

Sorry, but you’ll have to shake with fear since you’ll have no grip.

And a knuckle curve of the whiffle ball to my kids?

You’ll be lucky to hold a ball, and thus the interest of your children. I doubt they’ll learn to hold a bat.

And knuckle sandwich? I’ll still be able to throw one of those?

Afraid not. You’ll be unable to bend the thumb inside the palm. You could perhaps just give up fighting altogether.

Wouldn’t that be like two pieces of white bread with nothing in-between?

Perhaps it will make you an encourager, a person of praise, clap-happy.

So, will I be clumsy?

Yes, clench and clutch, but no clasp, all thumbs, so to speak, but without them.

Jeff Burt works in mental health. He has work in Atticus Review, Bird’s Thumb, and Unbroken.

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