The hand-off was botched; Graziella was supposed to slip the document into his hand. But either he bungled it or she did, and now the folded piece of paper was lying on the ballroom floor in plain sight.

“Shit,” he thought. “This stuff never happens to James Bond.”

Still smiling into the eyes of the Archduke’s teenaged bride, he shifted his weight to one foot and reached to the side with the other pointed toe. Got it!

Slowly, moving nothing other than his leg, he drew his toe back inward, dragging the launch codes over the parquet floor…


Sucked you in, there, didn’t I? Yes, this is an anatomy lesson, and today’s word is “Adduction.” It’s what you do when you want to draw your ankles back together from a wide stance.

You can’t BELIEVE how many muscles are needed to adduct your hip. I mean – dayum. Gwynn (the astonishing therapeutic masseuse at Body Dynamics in Falls Church, VA) has a book she hauls out for me occasionally when I’m fully overstimulated by anatomy. It’s a massage-focused anatomy reference called “Trail Guide to the Body” and you can buy it on Amazon. I know, because my copy just arrived.


Did you know there were six ways your hip can move?

  • You can extend it. (Touch your toe to the floor behind you; feel that nice stretch in the hip? You’re extended.)
  • You can flex it. (Knee up. Stand there like a fool, wishing you could put your foot back down. Alternately, get the first foot up on the stair. You’ve flexed your hip.)
  • You can abduct it. (Reach out for the launch codes to your side.)
  • You can adduct it. (Draw that secret paper back in.)
  • You can laterally rotate it. (Make your knee and foot swivel out, so you’re standing splay-footed. This is my natural state.)
  • And you can medially rotate it. (Knee and foot swivel inward; now you’re pigeon-toed. I can barely get my feet past parallel. It’s just the way I’m built.)

So I was diving into my Trail Guide, studying the gluteus muscles. Between the three glutes, any two of them take part in all six movements. All three are used for abduction…

…except LOOKY THERE, PAW! The ONLY glute that adducts (drawing in the launch codes) is glute max! So… if you stabbed the secret agent in that muscle only and injected horse tranquilizers, HE’D NEVER BE ABLE TO RETRIEVE THE CODE – disaster!!

Actually, that’s not true. He’s wilier than that.

The Trail Guide tells me that there are SIX muscles involved in adduction.

(Want to know what they are? I know; me too. Just the names are so glorious. Adductor magnus, adductor longus, adductor brevis, pectineus, gracilis, and gluteus maximus (lower fibers). Couldn’t you write a hell of a Roman tragedy starring these names?? The mighty Clan Adductor would think they were in charge, but sneaky Gracilis and brave Pectineus have other plans.)


Lordy. MY POINT – and I do have one – is that sitting there right now, you are an astonishing feat of engineering. Holy crow.

This book is utterly fascinating. And it’s huge. Paperback and spiralbound, it’s still so heavy that after you carry it around for a while, you need a therapeutic massage. This must be a clever ploy by the world’s masseurs.

Screen Shot 2019-10-25 at 4.43.42 PM

I love this book.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s