Most Humorous Massage Story

Prologue: I worked with a chiropractor for many years. This story originated in her office on an otherwise ordinary day.

A man was referred for chiropractor care and his treatment included a massage with me. We conversed intermittently; small talk, nothing unusual at first, and then I wanted to stop talking so much about myself in answer to his questions. I attempted to shift the focus by asking, "What do you do to take care of yourself?"

He replied that he breathed toxic chemicals at work, drank two pots of coffee a day, and didn't exercise. I had no idea what to say, except oops. Instead, we had a moment of spontaneous silence.

Thankfully, he brightened and said, "I have, though, discovered the best thing for sore muscles and you might want to tell your other clients about it. It's better than Ben Gay and I've tried it all."

He paused and then confided, "I've been doing a lot of MSG for my sore muscles. I buy it by the case. It's the only thing that really works."

Reading my mind he clarified, "MSG is just what you think it is, the meat tenderized they use in Chinese restaurants. Some people are allergic to it."

Similar to "keep your hands on the wheel" and your eye on the ball, massage therapists are trained to keep our hands on the body, foregoing hand gestures that accompany speaking and raising one's hands in surprise, for these actions create gaps in the massage.

Nonetheless, my hands flew into the air. Returning them as if to normal, I was a swirl inside. Having no idea what to say, I cautiously ventured, "I've heard that MSG has some side effects," to which he replied, "It's a joke, lady, a joke."

He was so deadpan that my poker-faced hands flew off his body again. I was too discombobulated to: 1. laugh for real, 2. be convinced that he either was or wasn't consuming MSG by the case. A few hours later I laughed hysterically.

Epilogue: That was the first and last time I asked, "What do you do to take care of yourself?"

Copyright 2003 Cinda Mefferd