Thursday, August 9, 2012

Why "Charley Horse" is the Worst Name for a Muscle Spasm EVER

The Dan Before Time and I both woke up when we heard what sounded remarkably like several gunshots last night. 

I like to think that we were mistaken, but to tell the truth it is entirely possible that gunshots were exactly what we heard. My neighborhood is a bit strange, you see. You walk one direction and it looks like Edith Wharton herself designed this patch of Brooklyn. But if you walk the other way everything starts to look a bit more like that Rape Boulevard Bella wanders onto in Twilight.

Apparently the universe decided it wasn't bad enough for me to be rudely awoken by possible death happening outside my window at three in the morning. Because about a minute after I woke up, I got a terrible Charley Horse in my calf.

It was probably not an awesome moment for Oscillating Dan either—one second he heard gunshots and the next his girlfriend was writhing around on the bed, screaming incoherently. He asked me repeatedly what was wrong but it was a few minutes until I could even utter the words "Charley Horse" through gritted teeth.

Now, about six hours later, I know what I should really be concerned about is what the hell happened outside my apartment building last night. But all I can think about is how infuriatingly named Charley Horses are. These are extremely painful muscle cramps and/or spasms. They should not be called a name that would be right at home on a children’s cartoon about barnyard animals.

Charley Horse: Hey there, boys and girls! Today we’re gonna learn how to count to ten, and I’m also going to rip up the inside of your leg like some kind of demonic paper shredder! It’ll be a hoot and a half!

And then, of course, Hooty the Owl would hoot because that’s what he always does when Charley Horse utters the magic catchphrase.

These muscle spasms are horrible enough. The childish name we must call them when explaining our ailment to others just makes them so much worse. So I’m calling for an official end to the term “Charley Horse.” I have a few suggestions for replacements, but please feel free to add your own in the comments:

“Fiery Deathgasm”

"Lava Legs"

“This is what really happens when your stupid kid steps on a crack”

“Freddy Krueger of the Leg”

I may be able to do fuck-all about gun control in my neighborhood. But this. This is a problem we can solve. C’mon, commenters. Let’s change the world—one Fiery Deathgasm at a time.


  1. Fiery Deathgasm is definitely my favorite. How about Leg Seizure?

  2. How about Charley Horseman of the Apocalypse?
    If you drink a glass of water half an hour before sleep, for some reason, it seems to help keep away these fiery demons - the downside is you have get up and to pee at 3am. Your Anonymous Mom

    1. I love it a lot. I don't usually have much of a problem with Charley Horsemen of the Apocalypse at night--I think the universe was just determined to pile as many extremely uncomfortable things as possible into a couple of minutes.