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12:35pm on Thursday, 15th June, 2006:



As a third-year undergraduate, in one examination I was sat behind a post-graduate from, I believe, Malaysia. While we were waiting for it to start, he seemed to feel he needed loosening up.

K-K-K-K-K. He popped every knuckle of his left hand.

K-K-K-K-K. He popped every knuckle of his right hand hand.

Ke-Ke-Ke-Ke-Ke. He popped every first joint of the digits on his left hand.

Ke-Ke-Ke-Ke-Ke. He popped every first joint of the digits on his right hand.

Ke-Ke-Ke-Ke. He popped every second joint of the fingers on his left hand. Thumbs don't have a second joint, or at least, he didn't pop it if they do.

Ke-Ke-Ke-Ke. He popped every second join in the fingers of his right hand.

He did this in rapid succession, as if it was something he did all the time. Gawd knows what kind of arthritis he was setting himself up for...

K-D-K-D-K! He popped the bones of his right wrist, using a strange rotation of his hand.

K-D-K-D-K! He popped the bones of his left wrist.

K-D-K, K-D-K! He twisted his whole right arm and brought it back behind him, popping (I think) his elbow and his shoulder. Or it may have been some more wrist and his shoulder. It was alarming, whatever.

K-D-K, K-D-K! He did the same with his left arm.

K-D-K-D-K! His right ankle, rotated like he did his hand when popping his wrist.

K-D-K-D-K! His left ankle.

He didn't seem to be able to do his knees without getting up, but he leant out to his left, stuck out his right leg, and contorted himself in such a fashion that it looked like he was going to snap a bone. K-DDDD-K! His right hip popped! It was incredible!

Just to show it was no fluke, he did it on the other side. K-DDDD-K! His left hip popped. I've only ever in my life heard two hips popping, and they both happened in the space of those 10 seconds.

He wasn't finished. He held his arms, elbows bent, up to shoulder level, then arched his back. K-K-K-K-K! Surely you can't pop vertibrae? Maybe it was his ribs? Whatever, it looked horrifyingly as if he really was popping the lower part of his spine. He should have been jelly after that! He'd cracked every major joint in his body.

Well, not quite every bone. What followed will haunt me to my dying day. He took his head in his hands, and twisted it first one way KK-KK-K! and then the other KK-KK-K! Gaah! He'd snapped his neck joints! How can anyone snap their neck joints?! Why would anyone want to snap their neck joints? Was he some kind of undead? Or maybe a ninja, tuning his body so that people wouldn't hear him sneaking up on them?

He let go of his head, moved it in a circular motion to make sure any nerve-damage paralysis hadn't affected his skull, then stopped.

About 30 seconds later, there was one last K-D-K; he'd apparenly forgotten to do his jaw.

As a strategy for adversely affecting the performance of your fellow students, I have to say that this was the most effective I've ever seen. It beats the "girls wear short skirts to distract the boys" approach hands down. It still brings a shudder just thinking about it.

My wife can click the cartlidge in her nose.

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Copyright © 2006 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).