Do Your Knees Laugh?

September 21, 2010 / by Rachel Reardon

bigstock_Runners_Feet_713234Ladies and gentleman, loyal readers of the Mango Blog, raving fans of Data Management, passionate people of goodwill, and fellow hopeful-to-become gurus of Microsoft Excel, thank you for visiting our blog today!

I’ve chosen to share the story of how I came across one of the greatest discoveries in recent medical history with you today: laughing knees!

After years of studying Japanese and living there I was very comfortable with reading, writing, listening and speaking Japanese, or so I thought when one morning….

I was getting a ride to work with the vice-principal at the local school that I would be teaching at that day and he was telling me about the field trip he went on with the children recently. They had climbed one of the mountains on the Kumano Kodo, recently declared a world heritage site. In making polite early morning conversation, he asked me if I had ever hiked “Magose-Toge”, the mountain pass they used to climb up Mt. Tengura.

I told him I had hiked the mountain probably a good 20 times or so because I enjoyed the hike and also that I used to live at the base of that mountain for about 3 years.

He proceeded to tell me how he had enjoyed the first 30 minutes of the hike, but after that “…it was hot, humid, and my knees started laughing.”

My wife was playing a dirty trick on me for not being a good husband the night before and switched my regular coffee with decaf is what I thought to myself and sipped the coffee in my mug and I did my best to try to forget what I thought I had just heard.
“Then as we headed to the top they were laughing even more, but the whole hike down my knees never stopped laughing.”
I told myself that this is what happens when you dream in foreign language, sometimes funny things are said and who knows, maybe Hello Kitty will jump in the middle of the street and hand you a million dollars, so I pinched myself.

It hurt.

I decided that this was probably another verb in Japanese that sounds the same as “laugh” so I asked him: “Your knees were laughing? Laughing as in Laugh?” (I was clarifying that the character in written Japanese that means to laugh, as in being amused, was the same as he was using verbally.)

“Oh yes, they laugh all the time, and the math teacher, his knees laugh all the time too.”

Folks, I need to pause here to let you know that at that point in the car, even having one of the most dazzling intellects known to Mango Languages (picture everyone on staff here collectively rolling their eyes), I was bewildered.

“Drew, you run a lot, do your knees laugh?”

Dead silence for a good 10 seconds while I was thinking about this.

He got the best answer I could come up with: “My knees can’t laugh.”

He roared into laughter, looked at me and smiled while he said “Ah, how great it is to be young! Feeling like your body will last forever.”

At this point in time something started to click in the back of my fertile mind (my wife says if this happens once a year, it’s a miracle) and at the same time I think he realized that I didn’t understand what suffering from “laughing knees” meant and explained. We both laughed for a good 5 minutes at how funny our conversation was, especially when you consider that knees can’t laugh, or can they?

For our wonderful readers, to be perfectly clear, when your knees “laugh” it means they are hurting, painful, or throbbing.
Upon further thought would “laughing” knees be any more farfetched then a nose that is “running?” What if your feet “smell?” Rumor has it that if your nose is running and your feet smell then you must be standing on your head! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!)
What do you think? If anyone has any great examples to share from English or other languages please share below so we can all enjoy.

Topics: Language Learning and Culture

Rachel Reardon

Written by Rachel Reardon

Rachel works with some of the coolest marketers, designers, and writers around to help Mango look and sound its best. She loves bold colors, old books, the Montréal metro, and Star Trek. She has conflicting feelings about the Oxford comma.

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