A small bone. Weighs half a gram. Located at the base of your third finger. Smaller than a one-pence piece.
But it can do extraordinary damage. And when accurately placed it can hurt like fuck. And it leaves a mark. And can break something that has stayed unbroken until the evening that has your name on it. Like a socket. Or a nose. Or a heart.
Look. I dramatically failed my Physics ‘O’ Level (yes, I’m of a peculiar vintage), but I do know that the knuckle is just the point of delivery. It’s not actually the cause of the pain.
No. What causes the damage is the turn of the hips, the weight of the shoulders, the full body weight that comes before it and behind it. Inertia. Momentum. Intent.
When a relationship ends, very nasty things can be said. Or emailed. Or texted. Or tweeted. Sometimes so vile that you actually wonder if their ex has somehow got hold of their phone, and has the wonderful person you fell in love with tied up in the shed. Actually, I would love to tie up my recent ex in the shed, but only for her own pleasure. Ahem.
What I’m saying is, is that when that genuinely offensive note has been vomited in your direction, it’s like the knuckle. It’s pretty much the last thing you see before your eye swells shut. And it’s easy to associate the knuckle with your pain. Just the knuckle. Just the message.
But actually what’s driving it home is often months of exasperation. Or slow-boiling anxiety. Or the collection of very small things that has patiently accreted into one fucking big toxic compound balls-up.
Don’t judge people by their one-off loss of decency and grace. Try to think about how your long-term behaviour has put all that weight behind the knuckle. The knuckle is, to be honest, not worth much examination. It just happens to be the prism through which focuses all the shit into one hot fucking beam.
Practise this and change the world. Always find the best in people, even if it results in your own black eye. Empathise. Find it impossible to hate. They might hate you, but remember it’s costing them a fucking phenomenal amount of energy. Energy that could actually be employed in something useful. Or beneficial. Or forgiving.
The personal revolution is the only viable one left.
I’m off to meet Buddha for a jar.