Sunday, January 27, 2013


My grandparents worked six days a week, for thirty years, owning and running a bar. To the best of my knowledge they never went on a cruise, took a mental health day, or faked cholera to get out of work. For fun, my grandfather used to chain up his garbage cans to thwart thieves, and my grandmother used to crush empty beer cans with a mallet for recycling. My grandfather called her Crusher. It was a term of endearment.

On Sundays they bought a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and hung out with their grandkids.

Here’s the real shocker; they managed to live long productive, tax paying lives without a single vacation or having one part of their bodies massaged.

It’s like reading about dinosaurs. Isn’t it?

My husband is a workhorse. That’s probably why I married him. I recognized the type. Until a recent business trip to Thailand, he’s managed to work his way through college, support a family of six, and become a member of the Osceola County Volunteer Mounted Posse without receiving, getting, or wanting a single massage. I admired that.

That’s all gone now. Thailand got him, and he did get massaged—his first ever. His confession was classic.

“I got a massage,” he said as the cell phone made ominous click noises as the signal bounced from Thailand to the far side of the moon to a slip-shod cell phone tower somewhere near Kissimmee.

I was horrified. “A NAKED massage with sexy Thai women?”

He wasn’t surprised at my leaping, jumping, and bolting to conclusions. He’s lived with me for a long time. In fact, one of the kinks in his neck might be me.

“No. Not naked. Just an upper body and foot massage. But it was fantastic. I may not come home.”  He sighed, sounding weirdly mellow. “I can’t believe a woman that small can press that hard.”

“Press what? Are you kidding me? Besides, I thought we were watching the money this month.  What with the middle class not getting slammed with tax increases, right?” Sometime sarcasm is the glue that keeps my bad attitude in its upright and stationary position.

“No worries. The whole thing cost me seven bucks.” He sounded dreamy.

“Seven bucks. What kind of massage was this? How long did this ‘pressing’ business go on?”

“An hour.”

“AN HOUR! You paid seven bucks for an hour long foot massage!”

“Yeah,” he said, contentment curled through the phone in a drowsy wave. “But I tipped her.”

“How much?”

“Three bucks.”

“Three bucks! You didn’t get a foot massage; you bought a slave. Shame on you. Shame.”

“No really, you should get one.” He sounded like a pot growing hippy with an extensive garden. “It would really relax you.”

“Not on your life. I have to stay sharp. I am the point of the spear.” Or was it that I was the handle on the mallet? Whatever. 

I admit I was curious. Life threatening calf cramps in the middle of the night I understood. Relaxation through digital manipulation was as foreign to me as wearing a thong in public, so I asked, “What all did she do to you?”

“I don’t know. They put me in an Lazy-Boy lounger, and I fell asleep.”

“Well, that explains the enthusiasm. We’ve never owned an Lazy-Boy lounger in our lives.”

Silence greeted my observation. I suspected he had fallen asleep and was dreaming of couches that transformed into hammocks.

“Right?” I prompted.

“Harrumph . . . gurgle . . . sure, right. No, I mean it. You should really try it.”

That was enough of that.

“Nope! I’m firmly convinced that it’s the knots, kinks, and muscle spasms that are the only things holding me together. I can’t risk it.”

“Okay, how about when I get home you massage me?”

One of my knots twisted into a kink. I know, because it made a grinding sound.

“Snap out it. The only thing I’m going to massage when you get home is your wallet.”

A snore greeted my tough girl talk. I thought about crushing some soda cans with a mallet or maybe chaining up my garbage to thwart thieves and relieve stress. It wasn’t like getting a deep tissue massage in Thailand, but it is family tradition.

Linda (Crusher Too) Zern




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