A friend’s son pronounces “spa” as “spay.” This might say more about him than it does me, but that’s for you to decide. At the “spay” a person can get pummeled in an entirely legal fashion by a benign-looking person in a nice uniform. Massages, as has been mentioned here before, are more addicting than heroin and more expensive, too. As a way to get me hooked, a hotel I was staying at offered a free massage. I chose the hot stone version and have the scars to prove it. The hot stones were apparently fresh from a local volcano. They were not hot, they were HOT. Deep-dish-pizza-cooking hot. After 80 minutes of having Mt. Vesuvius run up and down my back, I was so biddable I would have followed that massage therapist right up to and through the gates of hell, which is where she was going to re-heat those stones.
Also at the “spay” a person can get a manicure and a pedicure. This is known among the hip and those who don’t have time to tack on two more syllables as a mani/pedi. Soon after I crossed the threshold into Massage Land, I took the further plunge and had, yes, a mani-pedi. (I was going to opt for a facial but it wasn’t called a facial. It was given an entirely frou-frou name like “oatmeal-infused deep steam cleansing.” Except for the oatmeal part, it sounded like something you would do to a carpet.)
One of the first things needed here is a frank discussion about the state of my hands. My hands are never going to be featured in a lotion commercial unless they are brought forward as the “before” picture or held up as a horrible example. A very large percentage of my time is spent working around old airplanes. Old airplanes are just chock-full of grease and oil and sharp sheet metal. A reasonably small piece of sheet metal can shred your hands before you can say “Call 911.” My fingerprints have been permanently altered, thanks to a drill press, one of those small pieces of sheet metal, and a moment’s inattention. I lost so much blood I didn’t have the strength to call 911.
The nice lady at the “spay” took one look at my hands and starting tutting very softly to herself. She knew a no-hoper when she saw one. She tried to talk me into putting some wild color on my fingernails. Since I simply could not fathom facing the boys at the hangar with bright red nails, I told her to go with the clear coat. To neither her surprise nor mine, the polish was ruined before I got out of the chair.
All that was OK because now it was time for the pedicure. There were so many things that were wonderful about this it is difficult to know where to start. The best thing was, the pedicure chair vibrated. It vibrated under my head, setting all three chins aquiver. It vibrated under my chest, making me feel, if not look, like a belly dancer. It vibrated on my lower back to the point it was moving my legs and feet so much I thought the therapist might miss her aim and lop off a toe. Normally people do not lose toes at spas. But normally people do not have their toenails cut with an implement that looked like something an orthopedic surgeon would use. Carefully.
Empathy for the therapist lady really started flowing when she took a stainless steel paddle out of her drawer and stuck some 80-grit sandpaper to it. Eighy-grit sandpaper is probably not what it’s called at Spa World, but that’s what it was. The very same stuff carpenters use on rough-cut pine boards. The therapist applied that sandpaper to the callouses on my heels and ended up with a small snow bank of debris.
The next time you are feeling disgruntled about your own career path, remember somewhere there is a benign-looking person in a nice uniform earning her daily bread by chiseling the toenails off perfect strangers. Carefully.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.