I rarely use the word fair. It’s a concept that bothers me. I’ve never personally experienced or witnessed something that was equitable or just to one person or group that wasn’t undesirable to another. So I tend to think that there’s usually somebody catching the short end of the stick whenever something is allegedly “fair.”
My discomfort with the concept has served me well as a middle-aged, arthritic martial artist who loves teaching the activity as much as doing it. It especially comes in handy when, at the start of a Saturday class, just half a day after hitting pay dirt with my newest students and seeing beautiful horse stances for the first time in half a dozen classes, there’s a pop beneath my knee during a routine roundhouse drill. Moments later, it happens again on the front kick. And by half time, my left leg is buckling each time I put weight on it.
Damnit! I scream in my head. When class is over, and it’s just Merle and me collecting our gear to leave, I curse aloud. I’m so tired of injuries! I have weak knees, surrounded by muscles that become more pronounced with every good set of low cat stances. I also have all of last session’s students and three new ones, with interest already being expressed for next session. It’s not a good time to be out for surgery. Management would cancel my class. AND it would be twenty times more challenging to bake desserts and manage a store!
And so I’ve spent the last three days stretching, rubbing, slathering with ointment, freezing in ice, and heating in microwavable heat pads a leg that I must will into continued production. In fact, several hours after the injury, I hobbled over to a carpenter’s wood shop to pick up the furniture for my store. It was painful and perfect at the same time.
Two or three times since the weekend, I’ve stopped in mid limp to ask why I have to go through another major leg injury. I immediately follow the question with the answer: Because that’s just how it goes for someone my age with my physical history who does kung fu for no less than ninety minutes a day, six days a week.
There’s such excitement going on for me right now, the monkey wrench had to come in some form. I certainly can’t say it’s not fair.