Stop cracking your knuckles in class

Just the other day, I was sitting in class in Sanders Classroom at around 4 p.m and I was a little antsy to get out of class and roam the campus freely. Suddenly, the student next to me started cracking their knuckles obsessively. Let me tell you, there is nothing that sends a shiver down my spine more than when someone cracks their knuckles. It makes me want to plug my ears, scream and jump around to release the negative energy that courses through my body whenever I hear a knuckle crack. It makes me want to run far, far away. 

Usually whenever I hear someone crack their knuckles, I can get through it because they do it twice and then call it a day. This student, I kid you not, cracked their knuckles for at least a full minute. They cracked each finger at least three times and then cracked their entire fist. I mean, come on! Give it a crack or two and then cut it out. Literally no one wants to listen to you do that. I know some people find it satisfying to crack their knuckles, but I have yet to meet someone who likes listening to it. I mean, personally, I think if you do, that is a little weird. So, after a minute in hell, I was starting to plan my exit strategy. Should I make a swift exit to the bathroom, or just roam around the halls for a minute? I mean, I was actually starting to go a little crazy. Finally, the obsessive knuckle cracking ended and I let out a sigh of relief. 

I started thinking about it more: That student completely distracted me for at least a minute of class. The professor could have relayed critical information while I was too busy freaking out about the crazy knuckle cracker next to me and worrying if my physical cringing was too obvious. This might seem like a me problem. It is not. It is a you problem and you knuckle crackers need to fix it. 

This is not the first time I have had to face the downfalls of knuckle cracking. One of my best friends from middle and high school was, you guessed it, an obsessive knuckle cracker. It was her guilty habit. However, we were extremely close and spent a lot of time, specifically in the car, together, so whenever she would start cracking I would subtly reach over and lay my hand on top of hers. It was our secret gesture because she knew I hated when she would crack her knuckles. I told her she could do it any other time of the day, just not when she was with me. Sometimes, she needed a little reminder, but then she would stop. It would have been super weird if I reached over and laid my hand on top of this student’s hand next to me. Like, I do not think I could tell you their name even if I tried. That is how not close we are. 

Anyways, cracking knuckles is possibly not super great for you? I know that there are a lot of rumors floating around that cracking your knuckles can lead to arthritis and no one really knows if it is true or not. According to Harvard Health, “Cracking your knuckles may aggravate the people around you, but it probably won’t raise your risk for arthritis.” The phrase “it probably won’t” does not sound very reassuring to me. Also, it later says, “Chronic knuckle-cracking may lead to reduced grip strength.” So, for all you journalers who want to be able to write down your thoughts for extended periods of time, or people who still write on paper to take notes in class: Stop cracking your knuckles. Even if it is not going to give you arthritis, it also does not necessarily have benefits for your body and it may affect how you hold a pencil. 

Even though the obsessive knuckle cracker from class (who I am sure is a lovely person—I do not mean to villainize this anonymous person in any way) may never read this rant of mine, I encourage you, the reader, to consider how your knuckle cracking may be affecting your peers around you, so that you can be the most considerate and supportive classmate and human possible. 

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