There are hundreds of clubs, secret societies, guilds, coteries and other such groupings of people in Buentoille. Folks just seem to like coming together and sharing in the gifts of this world, whether they be cheese, video games, birdwatching, or, in the case of the Click Clack Club (CCC), making their joints click. Today the members of this particular regular gathering will have their Annual General Meeting, or AGM, in which they will decide the general direction and policies of the club.
Some people get a little disturbed by it, but at some point we have all clicked our knuckles, back or other joints; it’s a natural function of the body. Some scientists claim that clicking a joint releases several pounds of pressure from it, and that this is part of the reason that we find it so satisfying. A common refrain you would once have heard levelled at joint clickers is ‘you’ll give yourself arthritis!’ but according to various studies commissioned or carried out by the Click Clack Club this claim has no basis in fact. Fighting back against this ‘pernicious myth’ is one of the founding principles of the CCC.
The Click Clack Club began in 1964, a particularly good year for the creation of new clubs and societies, by Andronycus Fynch, a carpenter who was trying to join exactly 100 groups. They were a member of the Chastise Church, the Catalepsy of Krakon, The Dauntless Order of Her Mysterious Web and several other religious groups. He had joined eight walking clubs, three rail enthusiast groups and five bird watching societies, including the Buentoilliçan Secret Bird Boys, in which he had obtained the rank of ‘falcon’ despite wanting to stop at ‘finch’ because of his name. The Union of Woodworkers and Fabricators was an obvious choice, but he had a harder time justifying his membership of the Guild of Shipwrights, or the Union of Metallurgists. He had got to group number 99 (the Society of Rude Japes), but was stuck on the 100th; that was when he decided to make his own club.
The CCC initially had only two members, Fynch and his friend, Hershall James, a fellow carpenter that Fynch roped in. Despite his complete disinterest in the act of clicking his joints, James visited Fynch’s home once a week where they spent three or four minutes together in the bathroom (the most echoey room of the house, amplifying the clicks and cracks) clicking every joint that they could. They then went out drinking together as part of one of the several drinking clubs to which Fynch was attached, where James was bought a drink for his service. This all changed in 1968 when the Odd Spigot, a quarterly magazine about Buentoilliçan culture, ran a piece on Fynch and his 100 clubs. Suddenly the Click Clack Club got a lot more members.
Many societies, secret or otherwise, have particular handshakes, and whilst the CCC is a little different in this regard, it certainly has its own greeting ritual; when two members meet they identify themselves by clicking their preferred joints in unison. To avoid the embarrassment of having ‘run out’ of clicks when you meet a fellow club member, Click Clackers (as they are often called) often keep one joint unclicked especially for this purpose. To gain entry to Deadman’s Hall, the location of this year’s AGM, members must click this joint, often referred to as the ‘greeting card’ although some members prefer to use their ‘business card,’ the most impressive-sounding joint.
At the AGM today the main point of business is expected to be a recent report which has identified soft-tissue damage around the joints of several habitual knuckle-clickers, and there are worries that this will ‘damage the public image’ of joint clickers and the CCC. The Club might choose to take action by blacklisting the publisher and writers of the study, as has been done once or twice before, but some members think that this approach is too heavy handed (and has earned the CCC a poor reputation in the past), and might suggest an alternate approach, such as reviewing the study to point out its deficiencies.
The medical benefits of joint clicking have been a central part of CCC campaigning from the beginning, campaigning intended to ‘alleviate the stigma’ of joint clicking. Their pamphlet, Joint Clicking is Good, Actually is a common sight in train carriages, cafes and other public spaces across the City, yet many are very critical of the scientific accuracy of the claims made within, and of the CCC in general, which is often accused of ‘overt bias’ and ‘disregard for public health.’ The MHS is yet to publish any official guidance on the subject. As might be expected, there was quite the furore in 1989 when psychologist Asquin Beetlehammer identified a new ‘addictive syndrome’ called Compulsive Clicking Disorder, often called ‘Click Clack Syndrome’ in the media.
Besides the discussions and other main points of business at the AGM today, there will be other activities common to CCC meetings, such as small competitions for who has the loudest clicks (usually won by a neck clicker as an open mouth can be used to amplify those particular clicks, although often these competitions are subdivided by joint type). Stretches and exercises designed to click joints and release tension are led by trainers licensed by the CCC. Another popular occurrence is ‘sympathetic clicking’ where Click Clackers help each other with hard-to-click joints in the back and spine. At the end of the AGM the CCC song will be sung in honour of the now departed Andronycus Fynch. Everyone will join in, especially as the song ends with a crescendo of clicks.
Other festivals happening today:
- The Festival of Beastly Proclivities
- Trapezoid Marshal’s Day of Undue Praise
- The Hyacinth Festival