A cutter of my own

I love office supplies. I love that office supplies are the tools of my trade.

I think it started in fourth grade when I won a spelling contest—nothing big, just something Miss Milbury cooked up for a Friday morning. The “prize” was a brand new pencil, packaged with a new pink eraser, a thick rubber band holding them together.

When, at my first adult workplace, I had access to a supply room, I thought I’d found my dream job. The room was like a huge walk-in closet. Shelves and drawers on all sides held large quantities of pens, folders, staplers, punches, notepads, paper clips, desk organizers.

Early on my husband figured this out and stopped trying to find just the right necklace or earrings and bought me a paper cutter for my birthday. Wow, my own paper cutter, like the ones only offices and schools had back then! I guess my gratitude was apparent because he’s been sticking with the category ever since—an electric pencil sharpener, a supersize three-hole punch, an electric stapler, a postal scale, reams of colored paper, and “expensive” three-ring binders that don’t eat your fingers when you open and close them.

The only things better than office supplies are colorful office supplies.

My relatives and friends have caught on and I have Vera Bradley folders, teal bookends in the shape of hands, and packing tape with an image of a zipper.

My paper inventory: a color for every application

And an update to that old paper cutter: one with a laser beam that shoots down the side, for perfect alignment, as soon as you raise the handle!

When I was a kid, pencils were green and pens were black and dipped in ink wells. Paper bags were brown, folders were manila, and mailing envelopes were white. The first sticky notes came in yellow only, with no clever sayings or die cut edges.

No wonder I lived an uninspired life back then, coming to writing only as an older adult. I needed color and florals and plaids to get me going.

Never mind a parachute, what color is your folder?

Let’s put an end to codswallop

I love learning new words. Here’s one that caught my attention:

codswallop

The definition:nonsense; nonsensical talk or writing

Origin: One theory traces the word back to a man named Codd and his gassy beer. Another traces the word only to c. 1959 when it first appeared in print.

Synonyms: folderol, trash, tripe, trumpery

The story I like best is that it just sounds like its meaning: made-up rubbish.

Daniel Webster, father of the dictionary. from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, enamel on copper, Gift of Gloria Manney, 2006.

Daniel Webster was an American politician who represented New Hampshire and Massachusetts in the United States House of Representatives; served as a Senator from Massachusetts; and was the United States Secretary of State under Presidents William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, and Millard Fillmore.

Am I implying that Daniel Webster, or any other politician is guilty of spewing codswallop? You decide.

The 12 Days of Christmas

The Adoration of the Magi. Hugo van der Goes (Netherlandish, late 15th century)
 Medium: Oil on wood; from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Never mind what the retail scene tells you — The Twelve Days of Christmas actually start on Christmas Day, December 25th. The twelfth day ends at midnight on January 5th of each year. The Holy Day of the Epiphany is followed on January 6.

Here’s the symbolism of the 12 days.

The first day of Christmas – My True Love, the Partridge in a Pear Tree (Jesus Christ is my true love). In ancient times a partridge was often used as symbol of a divine and sacred king.

The second day of Christmas – Two turtle doves are the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. The doves symbolize peace.

The third day of Christmas – The three French Hens are Faith, Hope and Love. These are the three gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The fourth day of Christmas – The four calling birds are the four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

The fifth day of Christmas – The five golden rings describe the first five books of the Old Testament.

The sixth day of Christmas – The six geese a laying stood for the first six days of creation.

The seventh day of Christmas – The seven swans a swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit. These are Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership and Mercy.

The eighth day of Christmas – The eight maids a-milking are the eight Beatitudes. These are Jesus’ teachings of happiness.

The ninth day of Christmas – Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit. These are Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Mildness, Fidelity, Modesty and Continence.

The tenth day of Christmas – The ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.

The eleventh day of Christmas – The eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful apostles.

The twelfth day of Christmas – The twelve drummers drumming represent the twelve points of belief in The Apostles’ Creed.

The Write Stuff

What better way to start the new year than with a complete writing-course-in-a-blog? I’m happy to have my friend and award-winning writer, MICHAEL A. BLACK as my guest today.

The Write Stuff

By

Michael A. Black

When Camille heard that I had a new book out, she graciously offered me a chance to be a guest on her blog. We used to be alternating partners on the now defunct Ladykillers blog, and I always looked forward to reading her submissions on that site. So, after offering my heartfelt thanks to this great lady for this opportunity, I’ll offer the following.

Besides writing at as furious a pace as I can manage, I also teach creative writing classes at a local junior college. I find the experience gratifying in being able to offer suggestions to people interested in writing. I’ve found that teaching, once thought to be the refuge of “those who can’t,” has actually helped me refine my own writing process. I’ve distilled this process into seven steps, which I list as Characters, Plotting, Point of View, Setting, Showing vs. Telling, Dialogue, and Revision. I spend a lot of time explaining each one in the beginning weeks of the class, and use various short stories as examples of each principle. I also stress that all of them need to be viewed in a holistic sense, and not as disparate entities.

For Characters I suggest the creation of a character bible, which details the physical characteristics and backgrounds of each character. These can be as detailed or brief as you want. For a major character, the entry would normally be much greater than that of a minor character who will appear only once in the story.

Plotting seems to be the most difficult aspect to master for beginning writers. It’s easy to start, but harder to finish, and it’s a lot easier to finish if you know where you want to end up. For that reason I stress outlining. It not only saves time, but it also helps curtail tangential writing. How many times does a “pantser” have to throw out long passages of really fine writing because it eventually becomes clear that the writer has strayed off the path? The answer for me is, “Too many.” Outlining helps you save time and effort.

Selecting the right point of view is also a crucial thing to decide before you start writing. Y advice on this is simple: if the story is character oriented, use the first person. If it’s plot oriented, use the third. And above all, stay away from using the second person. There supposedly is a successfully written novel using the second person out there, but I’ve never been able to find it. I also stress that these rules aren’t set in stone, so if you start out in one point of view and feel it’s not working, try switching it for a while and see if it sounds better.

With setting I point out that it’s imperative to involve the reader in the scene, and the easiest way to do this is by using the five senses. What is the character seeing, smelling, hearing, etc. as he walks into the old house? Usage of the senses will put the reader in the character’s shoes.

Keep this in mind with showing vs. telling as well. The common advice of “Show, don’t tell,” isn’t always applicable. You should use “showing” to ground the reader in the scene, but there are times when the story needs to be advanced at a quicker rate, and “telling” is how you do this.

Dialogue must sound natural, but it shouldn’t copy conversational speech verbatim. Dialouge is the ultimate show and tell device and it should advance the story in an entertaining fashion. Thus, leave out all the mundane stuff that a real conversation might include.

And lastly, I stress the most important part: revision. As Roald Dahl used to say, ”Good writing is rewriting.” It’s also the most fun for me.

Let’s take a look at this process in action. I write the Executioner series under the name Don Pendleton, and my latest book, Dying Art, was just released in December. Now the characters and point of view are already set ahead of time, so I had to come up with a new idea for the plot.

I started out doing some brainstorming:

A stolen ancient artifact… The pending trial of a drug kingpin’s son… A murdered Mexican reporter… A vengeful message scrawled in Arabic… And a state of the art superweapon…

I had to combine all of these into the Executioner’s newest adventure.

I then expanded these ideas into a paragraph:

After conducting a daring raid south of the border to capture the wanted son of a Mexican drug lord, Bolan finds himself in the crosshairs of the scion’s vengeful father. Added to the mix is a wealthy industrialist willing to go to any length to acquire a stolen, ancient Iraqi artifact. He also happens to have a defense contract to develop a new superweapon. Making things more dangerous is a ruthless team of highly proficient members of a private military organization employed by the cartel to carry out a sinister revenge plot of international proportions. Bolan finds himself in a race against the clock to prevent the superweapon from falling into the wrong hands and sending the nation into chaos.

Once I had the plot down, I kept expanding the paragraph until I had a detailed summary of the novel. Then I broke it down into scenes and the story was clear to me, which is not to say that it was set in stone. I ended up changing and modifying the scenes a few times during the course of writing the book.

I used the same process for my previous Executioner novel, Fatal Prescription, which won the Best Original Novel Scribe Award in 2018.

Initially, there’s seemingly little connection between the brutal, viral devastation of a small, African village and the massacre at a drug research facility in Belgium. The Executioner’s interest is piqued by the purported involvement in the latter of a mysterious assassin known as the Red Talon, who’s a master of disguise. With the Talon now in the U.S. committing a series of new murders, Bolan must pull out all the stops to track down the killer, and find those responsible for hiring him. But when the Executioner discovers that a millionaire industrialist is about to unleash the lethal virus in the U.S., and use the antidote as a ticket to Oval Office, Bolan finds himself in a race against a ticking time bomb to stop both the Talon and the pending epidemic.

Before I write each scene, I jot down a list of things I need to accomplish in it. Once I’ve finished writing, I check the list to see if I hit all the points. If not, I know what I have to go back and include.

While I was writing Dying Art, I also had a western novel due the same month. Since I pride myself in never having missed a deadline, I worked on both manuscripts in tandem, writing one and then the other on successive days. It was a challenge, but I finished. The western, which won’t be coming out until October of 2019, is called Legends of the West. A Bass Reeves Story. It’ll be released under my own name, as was my last thriller, Blood Trials, which is about a series of murders that exactly mimic a serial killer case that occurred twenty-eight years before.

In closing I’d also like to say that while this process has served me well in the writing of 31 books, I make no claim that it’s the only way to write a book. Writing is an individual process and you have to find what works best for you. So take a look and give it a try, and if you feel any of the aspects might be beneficial, use them. Anything that doesn’t feel right for you can be discarded. The main thing is to write. Good luck.

How’s this for an impressive bio (editorial comment by Camille)

Michael A. Black graduated from Columbia College, Chicago in 2000 with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Fiction Writing. He previously earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Northern Illinois University. Despite his literary leanings, he has often said that police work has been his life. A former Army Military Policeman, he entered civilian law enforcement after his discharge, and for the past twenty-seven years has been a police officer in the south suburbs of Chicago.

The author of over forty articles on subjects ranging from police work to popular fiction, he has also had over thirty short stories published in various anthologies and magazines, including Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. His first novel, A Killing Frost, featuring private investigator Ron Shade, was published by Five Star in September 2002, with endorsements from such respected authors as Sara Paretsky and Andrew Vachss. The novel received universally excellent reviews, and was subsequently released in trade paperback.

Windy City Knights, the second novel in the Ron Shade series, came out in March of 2004. His third novel, The Heist, a stand-alone thriller set in Chicago, is Black’s third novel. He has also written two nonfiction books, The M1A1 Abrams Tank and Volunteering to Help Kids, which were published by Rosen Press.

He has worked in various capacities in police work including patrol supervisor, tactical squad, investigations, raid team member, and SWAT team leader. He is currently a sergeant on the Matteson, Illinois Police Department. His hobbies include weightlifting, running, and the martial arts. He holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. It is rumored he has five cats.

HAPPY HOLIDAY MONTH

This is the holiday card we sent out for 2018. As usual, my IT husband carried out what was just an idea in my head. Thanks Cable Guy!

I chose the message first, then searched for an image to complement it.

The photo is one I took in 2014 during Sunset “Manhattanhenge” — when sunset or sunrise line up with the grid of Manhattan streets. I was standing on the overpass outside the Grand Hyatt on 42nd St., along with a host of other people, walking, standing, in cars or cabs.

Looking west from 42nd and Park.

Happy Holiday Month everyone!

MEN: Take Care

Now and then something gender-related gets to me. This time it’s a surprise proposal party: he’s going to surprise her by proposing in front of family and friends.

Don’t get me wrong–I love the young woman; I’ve known her since the day she arrived home from the hospital and I’m happy for her. And the young man seems very nice, caring, and is a responsible adult. It’s the circumstances of the proposal that bother me.

I went to one of these surprise parties a few years ago– it was was as sexist as they come: friends and family gather; she arrives at the house expecting to have dinner with her sister and brother-in-law; instead she hears  a chorus of “Surprise!” He gets down on one knee, opens a ring case and declares, I love you, hashtag-Babe, you are my life yada yada yada. Old folk are in tears, young ones break out the champagne . . .

What’s wrong with a little romance? Nothing, but what if we turned it around: the test for sexism. SHE gets down on one knee, opens the little ring box, etc. If it doesn’t work, then neither should the first scenario.

Let’s take it to a more serious level. Some enlightened FB friend, took the “rules” for women, to keep themselves safe from a #Metoo moment, and turned them around, giving the same advice to men, to keep them from being falsely accused. Here’s how that looks:

Several people have expressed concern that men might be falsely accused of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment or sexual misconduct going forward. Sharing these tips to keep yourself safe:

1. Don’t put yourself in compromising situations.

2. Stay alert and aware at all times. If you are at a party with a woman who you think will falsely accuse you of sexual assault, limit your alcohol consumption. She is free to drink, but your impaired judgment is not an excuse for her false accusations.

3. If you walk or jog for exercise, try to vary your route and time on the street. To be predictable is risky. Don’t give women the opportunity to falsely accuse you by having an exercise routine.

4. Keep your body covered. If you expose certain areas of your body she may get the impression you are interested in sex with her. Don’t give her that impression by revealing more of your skin than necessary. Modesty is the best policy.

5. Think before you talk. Flirting with a woman is fine but be careful not to give her the impression you’re interested in sex. Chaste words will help you maintain your virtue and good name.

6. Don’t make yourself an easy target. Hold your head up, walk confidently, directly and at a steady pace away from the woman you think may falsely accuse you of sexual misconduct. Don’t forget, you’re a strong capable man too.

7. Attract attention to yourself if you feel like you might be falsely accused of sexual misconduct. Make noise, call 911, use a whistle in hopes that someone will come to your aid as a witness. You can get “Falsely Accused of Rape” whistles at your local shelter.

8. If you are being followed, head for a well-lit area where you think there will be other people who may be able to help you. Well-lit areas could be the difference between a pleasing evening stroll or a night that will forever change your life.

9. It’s probably best to stay home after dark. If you’re worried that while you’re walking home at night you might encounter a woman who may falsely accuse you of sexual assault, it’s best to avoid that situation completely. Consider a self-imposed curfew.

10. If you do have to be out after dark. Stay away from suspect women. Keep your guard up and keep your distance. Remember to bring your “Falsely Accused of Rape” whistle at all times.

11. Trust your “gut instincts.” Even if you get the feeling a woman is about to falsely accuse you of rape leave her alone immediately.

12. Always make sure you lock your car doors, whether or not you are in the car. Always check the floor and rear seat for suspect women before getting into your car.

13. If you suspect that you are being followed by a woman while diving, keep on going—do not stop and pull over until you get to some place that is well-lit and where there are other people to assist you and attest to your innocence.

14. If your car should break down, raise the hood and remain in the car with the doors locked until the police arrive. Don’t stand outside your car. This may give women the impression your helpless circumstance means you want to have sex with them. If a woman should stop and offer to assist you, roll down the window just enough to tell them you called the police.

15. Stay safe at home. Be sure you know whom you are opening your door to. If a sales or repair woman is legitimate, they will not mind your asking to see her identification and confirming their identity with the company they represent. If you still feel uncomfortable, schedule all appointments at a time when your wife can be home to help you.

16. For men who live by themselves in a house or apartment, never advertise the fact by listing your full name in the phone book or on a mailbox. This makes you an easy target for false accusations because you have no alibi.

17. Attend large parties with friends you can trust. Agree to “look out” for one another. Try to leave with your group, rather than alone or with a suspect woman.

18. Be cautious about revealing any personal information over the telephone and/or Internet. Don’t make yourself a vulnerable target.

19. If you have roommates, talk to them about the importance of everyone following the safety strategies at all times.

20. Lastly, stay safe out there. There are plenty of good women ready to help you if you need it. Don’t let a few bad apples change the way you feel about all women. Most of us are good and trying to help you do the right thing. #NotAllWomen Disclaimer: Following these tips and strategies does not guarantee that a false accusation will not occur. They are offered as strategies to reduce the likelihood of you becoming a victim of false rape accusations.

See what I mean?

Rock Center 2018

Sharing a couple of images from the Rockefeller Center tree lighting — 11/28/18. I wait all year for this! And this year 1) Tony Bennett was on TWICE and 2) the tree was lit in the middle of the show so we could watch it longer!

Tony Bennett (nee Anthony Dominic Benedetto) at 92

60,000 lights!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

AND Throwback Thursday. Here’s my favorite (and only) photo of Thanksgiving Day from my childhood. I’m not sure why I’ve kept it, or why I like it. Maybe because everyone is smiling, even my mother, which was very rare.

Thanksgiving Day, mid-century

At the head of the table: Uncle Al. Then, clockwise: my father, my sister, my mother, Al’s wife Aunt Teresa, (me, the photographer, not shown!), Aunt Louise, cousin Jean, cousin Gloria, and Uncle Louie.

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

Welcome to Boston

The World Series has been over for about a month, so I’ve recovered from the Dodgers’ loss. It’s not so much their loss that has me down, it’s the Red Sox win.

I’m from Boston, so you can see why I’m upset about the Red Sox victory. I like to think that I’m part of that famous curse — the failure of the Sox to win the World Series in the 86-year period from 1918 to 2004.

If you’re not sure why a former Bostonian is ready to heap another curse on the team, I’ll remind you what they did in 1952. In fact, I’ll just start from the beginning and print this memoir, published in the Elysian Fields Quarterly, April, 1993.

Memoir: The Boston Braves

My friends know me as a middle-aged scientist whose interests run from Italian opera to French Impressionism and back. Not much in between, certainly nothing that might involve sports, active or passive, indoor or outdoor. I am hardly recognizable as the same woman who nearly let the tides of professional baseball determine her choice of college forty years ago. But following the Braves to Milwaukee, which I had never heard of, was my only positive thought on the gray March day in 1952 when the headlines announced that the team was leaving Boston.
I threw myself across my bed that day and wept so loudly that my mother shuffled in and bent over me, hands on her wide, aproned hips, like some black-padded umpire, and ordered me to stop. At fifteen, I had never dis-obeyed my mother, so I stopped crying and tried to focus on something in my room that wouldn’t remind me of the end of my world. I longed for my father, who was still at work, probably high on a ladder securing a rain gutter or patching a damaged roof.
My walls were covered with baseball–the official chart of National League logos; southpaw Warren Spahn warming up; Sam Jethroe, black and fast, sliding in to steal second; autographed programs and laminated ticket stubs– “like a boy’s room,” my mother said, with a click of her tongue.
The sounds of the park rang in my head–John Kiley at the organ, not quite drowning out the rustle of dungarees and jackets and the creaking of the old green wooden chairs, raised and lowered as people filled the bleachers. The smells from the battered concession stands filled my room, sweet cold drinks and ice cream, the pink, white, and brown kind I never saw outside the park.
My father had introduced me at age seven to the lively, struggling Braves, who became my perfect friends. In their white uniforms, trimmed in red and blue, they always tried their best to win, to please me. As soon as my mother left the house for shopping or visiting, my father and I, two short, dark figures, came to life in front of the old Philco radio. His strong calloused fingers, never quite free of grime and paint stains, drew the ball field on a brown paper bag and diagrammed every play for me. We heard other programs, too–Inner Sanctum, The Shadow, The Answer Man. But first priority was always for Bump Hadley’s raspy voice, tones which became even less crisp as the game wore on (he did, after all, advertise lager ale).
My father would let me stay up until we heard my mother’s steps on the front porch. Most often she was returning from helping a neighbor with a new baby or chatting with friends while they clipped coupons from box tops and newspapers. At the first jingle of her keys, I would race to my bed and pretend to be asleep, like the inmate who hides an escape attempt from a prison guard.
I used the Braves to direct the rest of my life, too–if the Braves beat Brooklyn I’ll get all A’s and my mother will love me; if I finish three Hail Mary’s before this inning is over, she will not find out that I sat next to a boy at the matinee of High Noon; if Mathews is safe at second, then I will be safe at home and in this world. I had no plan for If the Braves leave Boston.
At school I drew tomahawks in the margins of my notebooks and wrote with pens and pencils shaped like tiny bats that said, “Sincerely, Tommy Holmes.” One time I signed a card to Paul, whom I loved, secretly, of course, Merry Christmas from Lou Perini and the Boston Braves, as if my own name had too little weight to hold ink. Other girls were thin, pretty, confi-dent. They had the right to say “hi” without apology. I could only say, “Did you see that third inning catch last night?” or “I’ll take Earl Torgeson over Ted Williams any day.” (Don’t think I expect you to notice me or acknowledge me. I’m just here as a messenger for the Braves.)
Now, how could I face life without the Braves? Without my father and our wonderful conspiracy, was my real question. Without a way to talk to other kids, was another.
I ground the terrible newspaper into my chenille spread and wondered what I could have done to prevent this loss. A novena to St. Anthony? No candy during lent? An urgent letter to Tom Yawkey, the Red Sox owner who refused to help the Braves by sharing Fenway Park?
The same papers and newscasters that brought word of the future of the Boston Braves that spring told of anti-British riots erupting in Egypt, of Albert Schweizer giving his life to others, of H-bomb tests in the Pacific. But current events did nothing to give me perspective, to help me with my struggle.
The next day, I barely heard the voices around me. “It’s your father’s fault you’re this way,” from my mother. “I guess now you’ll have to be a Red Sox fan.” This from classmates who did not understand that existence is not like a baserunner, sprinting from one anchored sack to the next, around to home; it is like a whisper of wind under a fastball, waiting to be named by the umpire. “They ain’t nothing ’til I calls them,” says the umpire.
My father understood. I listened carefully and believed his simple message–”We did that long enough, cara, we’ll find something else.” And through the next thirty years until he died, we did indeed find “something else” in our adult relationship.
But, more amazing, Paul (with unparalleled genius he had figured out who sent him the card) also came through. “Now you can come to your own high school basketball games,” he said, “and let the Braves go west.”
I did even more than that–I let all of baseball go west and never followed it again.
From time to time through the last forty years, I have watched baseball games out of the corner of my eye and sometimes allowed the cheers of the crowd and the crack of the bat to carry me back to the old Philco. When friends hear the story of “my life as a Braves fan” they mistakenly think it would take little to turn me into a 1990s fan. They offer tickets and invite me to tailgate parties. But reentry into baseball cannot unearth the passion I felt in the 5Os, exulting in Bickford’s hot August no-hitter, moping when Antonelli popped up (pitchers took their turn in the batter’s box back then!), defending my underdog Braves with all my energy.
The shapes and motions of baseball are part of my past, in scrapbooks and on closet shelves with my saddle shoes. The comings and goings in the ballpark, inning by inning, game by game, season by season-even city by city-introduced me to the rhythms of life. Baseball and the Braves have already done all they ever needed to do for me.

-

Get some rest

Nothing brings on more advice than a health/injury incident. Not that I’m ungrateful, but sometimes it takes all my patience not to run through my life’s experiences, especially with medical/health advice. A recent trip-and-fall accident brought out some of my favorites.

Still image print, NYPL, Gautier-Dagoty, Arnauld-Eloi, 1741-1771

1. Get some rest. As if I’m deliberately staying awake, tossing and turning, hurting, whatever. As if could just slap my forehead and say, “Gosh, I never thought of that!” (Here I would close my eyes and z-z-z-z-z-z.)

2. It’s nature’s way of telling you to slow down. Oh, and what if it’s nature’s way of telling me to speed up? That I’m not doing enough, otherwise I wouldn’t have time to have this accident?

3. See a physical therapist. This one brings out a long list of painful experiences, of which these are among my favorites:

– the most honest PT: this guy looked at my x ray, asked if it hurt to sit. When I said no, it hurts to not sit, he said that was wrong, and therefore he couldn’t help me.

the funniest PT: this was a woman who told me to get up on a table taller than I am. When I said I couldn’t get up there, she said she couldn’t help me. The next day I got an email saying she’d welcome me back when I was better. Hello?

-- the monster PT: this guy levered me up on a high table and forgot about me until I was screaming loud enough to attract the person next door.

the second monster PT: this woman hooked me up to electrodes and went to lunch.

I could go on, but I’ll close with this:

What with the lack of guarantees offered by medical science, who knows from cause and effect? When my nephew’s knee went out they told him it was because he didn’t exercise enough. When my friend’s knee went out they told her it was because she exercised too much.

See what I mean?