woman laying on a summit rock
The author, briefly triumphant on a summit during the hike on which this conversation took place

From: Muscles

To: The Team

Way to go, team! Everybody really did a great job yesterday, humping in to Elk Pass and then going out to bag Colvin in the afternoon without batting an eye. You came through so strong and everyone is working together like pros. Today’s hike out over Nippletop and Dial is going to be no problem.

Enjoy the beautiful alpine scenery!

From: Joints

To: Muscles

We appreciate your enthusiasm but would like to remind you that it’s not all as easy as you make it sound. You may be able to ignore our age, but for the Joints no amount of going to the gym can compensate for the fact that we are more than a half century old. These “team” outings really are hell on some of us. When are we going to modify our activity and act our age? Alpine-schmalpine.

From: Muscles

To: Joints

For the record, one of the reasons we spend so much time in the gym is precisely to compensate for your weaknesses. Strengthening the Muscles around the injured Joints has been a solidaristic commitment of ours for years. We’d think you’d be more appreciative.

From: Calves

To: Muscles

As usual, a few privileged Muscle groups have taken it upon themselves to speak for “the Muscles.” As usual, it’s Quads, Hamstrings and Lats, who get the lion’s share of the resources and time in the gym and who get all the credit, who are making pronouncements in our name. You don’t even see the suffering of the smaller Muscle groups. We totally get where the Joints are coming from. Nine miles, virtually all uphill, with 50 pounds on our back — we are not happy.

From: Joints

To: Muscles

We’re glad that Calves have chimed in here. That whole “solidaristic” thing seems rather selective, doesn’t it? Yeah, OK, we know the Hamstrings work hard to help the ACLs keep the Femurs from sliding off the Tibias, but some of your crew aren’t pulling their weight, no pun intended. When’s the last time Supraspinatus did anything to help out the Rotator Cuffs?

From: Supraspinatus

To: Joints (and Calves)

Aspersions cast on our character are really not necessary. Please note that it is not us, nor the supposedly “privileged” Muscles that make any of the decisions about the gym work. Talk to Brain. Brain makes all the decisions about the gym, and about the hikes for that matter.

From: Skin

To: Muscles and Joints

Can’t we all just get along? I’d really like to make a plea for you guys to work together. If there were some better coordination between Muscles and Joints, we could maybe avoid at least some of the more painful abrasions and bruises on this “rugged” trail.

From: Lungs

To: Muscles, Joints, Skin

We would like to underscore the points everyone has made about working together. Without us working overtime to get oxygen to the Muscles, none of you would be working. We’re working with our own handicaps — do we need to remind you all that we were hospitalized for asthma last year and we’re still compensating for 15 years of smoking (Brain, what were you thinking??). We’re working as hard as anybody in the gym doing cardio, and biking 50 miles a week to boot. But this hill is just insane; could the trail be any steeper? Whose idea was this?

From: Lumbars

To: Muscles, Joints, Skin and Lungs

We would like to point out that while you all have been kwetching about who’s hurting more, we have been working our ass off (no offense, Gluteus Maximus) and in screaming pain the entire time. And the fancy hi-tech “lumbar support” on this new pack is just making things worse. As usual, Brain didn’t consult with us about that. And unlike the rest of you, we have to work a double shift — all day on the trail and then all evening and morning in camp.

From: Joints

To: Lumbars

We hear you. Some of us have to work the second shift in camp, too. And Brain doesn’t consult with anybody about anything.

From: Brain

To: Everybody

Be quiet and get moving.

Originally published in the November-December 2020 issue of Adirondac Magazine

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