Friday, November 26, 2010


It’s been more than a week since I’ve posted anything on the “Chair Massage” series. I do have more posts written, but they are not really ready to send. I could give you all sorts of excuses if you’d like, starting with the obvious ones; I don’t feel like it, and it’s Thanksgiving week. That and I got stuck reading Harry Potter. See, really, that last one is my family’s fault; they demanded that I go see the last Harry Potter movie, and a lot of it doesn’t make sense if you haven’t read the book first, and the seventh book doesn’t make sense unless you’ve read the first six. So see? I had to take a week off.

I can get through one book in two days if I stay up until 6 in the morning, flipping back and forth in my bed reading it. Then, of course, I end up with a back ache. Just finished  “Order of the Phoenix” and still have two books left to read before I’m caught up. Am still sad about Sirius. And apparently, the name “Sirius” has been programmed into my Spell-check, as there was no red squiggly line underneath when I typed it. Cool, eh? Here’s the strange thing; Dumbledore and Hermione and Hogwarts are also in Spell-check, but Voldemort and Hagrid  are not. Strange.

Spectacular special effects on the movie, of course; it wouldn’t be a Harry Potter film without those. But truthfully, the magic and flying motorcycles and such are kind of the whipped cream on the cake; it’s cool, but not really why I read and watch the series. I think what most attracts me is the family and friendship relationships between Harry and the Weasleys and Hermione, Sirius and Remus. I’m envious of Molly Weasley’s position of head female in the middle of all those men. I’d love to be the one who took care of all of them, especially if I could just swish and flick, and have the dishes and housework do themselves.  

I want to stick those twins in my pocket and take them out whenever I need cheering up. I’d love to have Hagrid show me his animal friends and let me ride Buckbeak. And truth to tell, I wouldn’t mind marrying Remus Lupen ; even with the werewolf factor. Yes, I know, none of these people actually exist; in fact, I’ve seen several of them in other movies. I guess I just envy those who have a large circle of friends and family to look out for them and enjoy their company. I want to sit around a big table with a whole bunch of people who love and value me and just have fun with them.

Yes I know, relationships are never entirely made of pie and laughter. But the more people who are in the inner circles of your life, the more your horizons expand and the more interesting your life becomes. It also means there are more people for you to take care of, and more to take care of you. 

Yes, reading books and other blogs and newspapers and such do expand your knowledge, but they can’t replace the warmth of real people, and especially a gaggle of people, all interacting with each other. In fact, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this; either about friend dynamics or even just what you thought of the movie and/or the book. Do me a favor and pop a comment on this; maybe we can get a really cool discussion going.

Okay, I guess I’m done philosophizing, and will try to get back to where I started; with finishing the “Chair Massage” series. I won’t guarantee it will get done this weekend, but will do my best. By the way, I got a little off subject while trying to finish the series, (have you noticed I tend to do that sometimes?) and ended up with a three page story from Air Force days that might creep some people out, so you might want to have somebody else read it first. It’s a funny story; or at least, it is now, twenty five years later. I wasn’t laughing terribly hard at the time.

Oh, and here’s a heads-up; on the 3rd of December, I’m doing a stand-up comedy routine at a local restaurant, so that will probably be the next thing I write about.
Happy Blogging

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How I got Into Trigger Point Therapy- Part 8

Something I Didn’t Like

Shawn and Ray and I were talking, and a fairly young man with a pronounced limp and a cane was perhaps five paces from my tent, looking longingly at the chair as he walked. Though I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, there was something I didn’t like about the man, even from that distance. But I had to keep my bottom line in mind, so asked if he’d like a sample massage so he could judge my work, yada, yada, yada and told him how much I charged. 

He sat down in the chair and told me he’d had a car accident and broken his back, so I’d have to be really careful. Normally, he would have had my full sympathy because back problems can be extremely painful and debilitating. But he spent the entire time I worked giving me this huge sob story about how mean his mother and physical therapists and doctors were to him, etc. etc in this extremely whiny voice. It was real obvious to me that this was a play for sympathy, and I suspected he did it to everybody he met. I think he was trying to make me feel guilty about charging this poor handicapped victim, and was hoping I’d drop the fee. 

In fact, he started walking off without paying me while I was distracted with cleaning the chair. He was right in front of Shawn and Ray when I tapped him on the shoulder and told him he owed me five dollars. He whined that he didn’t think he had to, that he thought the massage was free. At this point, both Shawn and Ray kind of surrounded him, and smiled this very dangerous smile. The guy took the hint that he’d be “invited” to a blanket party if he didn’t pay up, so made this big elaborate show of counting out five dollars, hoping, I’m sure, that I’d tell him not to worry about it, or at least only charge him a few bucks. Nope, with that little act, I wanted my full five; in fact, I wanted closer to fifteen; my tip, you know.

After he crawled away, Shawn and Ray made their own big elaborate show of flexing their muscles and cracking their knuckles and jabbing right hooks into the air, saying, “You don’t wanna pay her, we’ll take it out of your hide, boy!” Actually, I think I could have taken him myself if I’d wanted to, but it was nice to know I had friends who would watch my back for me.

I’d never experienced that degree of friendship from so many people, especially in such a short amount of time; not from the Air Force, not from any job I’d had, not even from any of the churches I’d attended over the years. Made me want to find a better housing and heating arrangement and move in permanently. If I had a decent bed and a shower that was a little closer, I think I could live like a gypsy if I got to keep all my friends.

Dear Readers: I'm curious; how many of you have experienced this phenomenon of finding a ton of loyal friends in one place? Do me a favor; pop onto comments and tell me about it. That sort of story always makes me feel good. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

How I Learned To Do Chair Massages Part 7

Learned A Few Things

I learned a few things about doing business that weekend. I learned not to have people sit in the chair for their sample because I have to change the cover on the face cradle and wipe the chair down with baby wipes between each person. It just isn’t worth my time to clean it for a two second massage, when at least half the people don’t get one anyway. So if somebody is extremely tall and I can’t reach their shoulders, I have them sit in a regular chair; otherwise, I simply spin them around and squeeze.

I also learned to give people my shpeal and price, and then shut up and let them decide, because if you keep yammering through their decision making process, they will most likely say no, and there will be no chance of changing their minds. I learned that from Almonzo Wilder; as in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s husband.  No, not the wimpy cupcake from that dippy TV show, “Little House on the Prairie.” The real Almonzo was willing to risk his life to find grain that would save an entire town from starvation during “The Long Winter. “

It appears, even a hundred and twenty years later, that he was right. If I give me shpeal and my shoulder squeeze and then ask them if they want a massage, nine times out of ten, they’ll say no. If I just keep my mouth shut and smile, most of the time they say yes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How I Learned To Do Chair Massages Part 6

The Climbing Tower

I was so comfortable, I slept until 9:30 Saturday morning, and barely had time to attend to the essentials and get some breakfast into me before people started showing up. That morning, somebody brought in one of those climbing towers, where they strap you into a harness, so that if you slip, a cable breaks your fall. I had always wanted to try climbing one of those, so traded the owner for a you-know-what. Before I could climb two steps up, I could hear the news spreading throughout the entire camp, “Marly’s climbing the tower!”

I was 42 years old at the time and not in the best of shape, and it took me a long time to get to the top. It couldn’t been very fun for people on the ground to watch, yet I kept hearing different voices calling out, “Come on, Marly, you can do it!” My heart felt like it was pounding through my chest and I could barely breathe,  but I wanted to be able to say that I’d climbed the tower, and more importantly, I wanted to rappel from the top of the tower.

I actually slipped once and ended up hanging by the cable, and ten people told me to be careful. It was a whole lot more fun to hang than it was to climb. I knew the owner was forbidding kids from climbing up while I was there, and was therefore losing money because of me, so I asked if he wanted me to come down. He told me to take as much time as I needed. 

It was a fantastic feeling to finally reach the top and be able to push that button, but when I looked over the tower, there were a thousand people cheering for me. All those dear sweet people; they had known me for less to two days, and had taken me in as one of their own. I got to do my rappelling, but it was through a blur of tears and runny nose.

Learned A Few Things Continues In Two Days

Monday, November 15, 2010

How I Learned To Do Chair Massages Part 5A

Lots Of Peanut Butter

Sorry, apparently I messed up and didn’t publish this when I should have.

It had been a fairly warm day, and being of the blondy Viking persuasion, I put sun block on in the morning so I wouldn’t burn. But when I took my shower that night, the top of my head was so painful, I had a hard time washing my hair. When I looked in the mirror, the whole top of my head was bright red from sun burn. My hair is so thick I never thought that could happen. 

I wanted to save as much money as I could, so had brought lots of peanut butter and bread and fruit so I wouldn’t have to spend money in a restaurant. But I decided that saving money wasn’t worth freezing my butt off at night and burning my head during the day, so I went to the local dollar store and bought a nice warm throw blanket for seven bucks and a pink “Mesick Mushroom Festival” hat for three.
When I got back to the grounds, several of the vendors I‘d talked to that day wanted a massage. They couldn’t come to me during the day, of course, because they had their own businesses to run. That’s when it dawned on me that my real customers where not the people who came through during the day, but vendors. 

I made more money in the two hours before and after the front gate opened to the public, than I did in the seven hours in between. And the vendors didn’t squawk about my price either. Both the men and the women spend their lives moving heavy boxes, putting up tents, driving for hours from one venue to another, and crawling under their trailers to fix things. For them, ten dollars is a small price to pay to finally get some relief from muscle pains.

And these people know how to have fun! After I got done with the massages that night, they invited me to a bonfire and fed me homemade soup and biscuits and cheesecake. They told me their stories of the road; I told them pet stories from my childhood and the adventures of massage school. And we sat around singing folk songs until I fell asleep on them. When the women learned I’d slept in the car last night because it was too cold to sleep in the tent, they let me borrow tons of blankets and a sleeping bag that was designed to keep me warm in minus twenty degree weather. It even had a cool hood so I could breathe and still keep my head warm.