There are many reasons to write about the pleasures of therapeutic massage. The main one is, perhaps my accountant could figure out a way to take a couple of the sixty-minute ones off my taxes. Ha ha. This is a little bit of journalistic humor, the kind that can get you five to ten in a medium security federal prison. You do not even want to think about the massage you would get in a federal prison.
In what some people might call irony but what I see now was pure stubbornness, I had to be persuaded to get my first massage. Some twisted Marla-logic convinced me I would not enjoy lying on a soft bed with heated blankets cocooning me, being rubbed with scented oil while New Age music played soothingly in the background. Oh, I was right about the goofy New Age music but was utterly and completely misguided about the rest. As we say in Covington, I could not have been wronger.
Due to some Calvinistic streak in my genetic make-up, I simply cannot allow myself to schedule a massage even once a month. I know myself too well. Fairly quickly, one massage a month wouldn’t be enough. Soon it would have to be one every three weeks, then every other week, then every seven days and then daily. Massages are just like heroin only more expensive. But on vacation…on vacation a person can rationalize all sorts of behavior that would never be brooked in normal circumstances. How else do you explain parasailing? Do people parasail in west central Ohio? No they do not. But cast a glance into the sky at any seaside resort and your entire field of vision will be filled with plump, pink, petrified tourists dangling beneath a parachute tethered to an ocean-going boat.
Massages are my parasailing. Recently—-yes, on vacation—-the hotel at which we were staying offered a free massage to Steve and to me. There are exactly two things better than a massage: (1) a free massage and (2) being roommates with someone who didn’t want his free massage and who gave it to me.
My massage therapist was a soft-spoken petite young woman, entirely pleasant, who invited me to plant myself face-down and relax. Below the little ring that supports one’s face a candle with sprigs of rosemary flickered gently. First came those lovely warm blankets. Then came the lovely massage and by massage I mean a deep rubbing, reaching, kneading that freed up muscle tension in hitherto unknown muscles. Apparently at this point, my meek petite masseuse exchanged places with a sumo wrestler. Soon thereafter, the therapist/wrestler applied her forearm and elbow and possibly her feet and knees and a tap-dance troupe to my back. My back, surprised by this assault, cracked like a rifle shot. My right ear popped. My left ear popped. I started drooling. My sinuses cleared and I think that, for just a minute there, I levitated. Reduced to a quivering mass of protoplasm, I wasn’t sure I could get up off the table. And I was going to need to get off the table because things were obviously winding down.
The therapist was giving me little signals that the session was coming to a close. For instance, the therapist herself. She was back in attendance. Mr. Sumo Wrestler had disappeared. The dance troupe had shuffled off. Pummeling had reverted to soft rubs. The nice warm blankets went away seconds before the chimes sounded. That’s when you know it’s really over, when those chimes ring. But I already knew time was up. I had drooled so much I put out the candle.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.