Ten Signs You’ve Gone To A Bad Masseur

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When Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he answered “because that’s where the money is.” His reply is memorable because it conveys an essential truth: when assessing a situation, never ignore the obvious. This is no fifty-cent advice, mind you. This isn’t me gently reminding you that fans of the music of Suzanne Vega are not called Vegans, although many of them do happen to be vegans. This isn’t even me telling you no matter how much you treasure your family recipes from the Netherlands, don’t call the cookbook Dutch Oven. No, this is important stuff. Following Sutton’s Law has dramatically improved my life. Very important things I once saw only through a glass darkly, now I see clearly. Nuances in the tone of my wife’s voice. The dancing laughter in my children’s eyes. Traffic signals. Yes, this mindfulness has enriched my life, even if car trips now take a little longer.

What’s that you say, how does today’s topic affect you? Lighten up, Francis. I’m the one doing you a solid. Plus what do you have to do that’s so important? It’s not like Mr. Belvedere is on. The topic affects you because I can’t just turn this knowledge off, like my neighbor’s petunia-hose when he leaves for work. How many Garden of the Month awards does one man need, anyway? That’s right, you shall be the beneficiary of my great wisdom, Plato to my Socrates, Alexander the Great to my Aristotle, Daniel-san to my Mr. Miyagi. I’m giving you a gift of inestimable value: clarity of vision. In any situation you will quickly size things up and make the right decisions.

So I think what you were trying to say before is thank you. Will you now thrive on multivariable risk and exploit arbitrage opportunities across global markets? Baby steps, Daniel-san, baby steps — we cover that in the spring course. Crush it on Match.com by instantly identifying the keepers and discarding all of the creeps? Love your attitude, but that too is graduate level stuff. (A teaser, though: if his favorite song is Eye in the Sky by The Alan Parsons Project, there’s a good chance after dinner he intends to make a bookcase out of your bones. End the date immediately.) Know as sure as the nose on your face when you’re in for a bad rubdown? Now you’re getting it! For that is your first lesson in Sutton’s Law: ten signs you’ve gone to a bad masseur.

  1. Before your session, he gives you a safety word – bruschetta — and teaches you how to tap out, because “a man can’t speak with a crushed larynx.” He’s also adamant about documenting body bruises that you already have.
  1. The words “you consent” and “my Doc Martens” appear six times each on the one-page waiver he makes you sign in duplicate.
  1. As you head to the treatment room, another masseuse passes you in the hallway and whispers ominously “whatever you do, don’t make eye contact.”
  1. He leaves the room so you can disrobe, but as you move about you notice the Confederate General’s eyes in the oil painting on the wall seem to follow you. Also, though not a Civil War buff, you’re pretty sure there wasn’t a red blinking light in Stonewall Jackson’s cap.
  1. His only framed professional certifications? Phish Bongo Aficionado and Member: Mountain Dew 10,000 Liter Club. Making matters worse, he refers to your gluteal region as “the bongos.”
  1. Immediately before he begins the session, you swear you hear him say under his breath “you’re in my world now.”
  1. He starts off by rubbing your temples. Leaning in, he whispers in your left ear “you remind me of my wrestling coach” and then, moments later in your right ear “I hated my wrestling coach.” Then all you hear is alternating muffled laughter and crying.
  1. At the twenty minute mark, the smell of buffalo wing sauce combined with the sound of finger-sucking officially becomes unbearable.
  1. As the session winds down he says he’s “still working out the kinks” but offers to throw in five minutes of a new technique – The SlapMaster – for free.
  1. Of all the questions running through your mind when the session is over, “does he like Metallica?” is not one of them.

So what do you think, Daniel-san? Perhaps generations from now you and I will be revered as keepers of Western Thought’s eternal flame. People who understood what Socrates meant, that the unexamined life is not worth living. Or perhaps we’ll be forgotten faster than Philip Michael Thomas after Miami Vice. Either way, we’ll never be never be traumatized by massages we should have known to avoid.