Lose it like you mean it

Last night we were schooled in face and abdomen massage. Who knew that a powerful undercurrent, churned up from the hectic work weeks, lack of sleep, and the neener-neener aspect of kneading someone’s brows was steadily moving me closer to the edge of Slap Happy Falls? As my classmate's face was smushed around during the cheek and chin kneading (while she tried to remain dignified), I managed to keep a lid on all but a runaway snort (cleverly disguised as a cough).

After a demonstration that caused a bit of queasiness in my own stomach from watching someone else’s get pulled around like homemade play dough, it was my turn to step up to the table. While I doubt I will ever practice abdomen massage (the one massage sequence that pretty much serves just the one purpose) on anyone not constipated (or masochistic), I earnestly undraped my (victim) classmate.

(During the abdomen massage, the client should feel free to “pass wind,” as manipulating the intestines tends to activate the digestive process.)

(That’s right: an important part of the massage sequence is choosing the right moment to boldly reassure the client that it’s cool if they need to let one rip.)


(You know the whole giggling-at-a-funeral thing, and how, the more you try to get it under control, the worse it gets?)

Yanking my Grown-Up hat over my head, I began to concentrate on looping circles around my classmate’s navel, Ms. IEP’s militant tone contrasting with the called-for movements (“Sun and Moon!” “Now, Rock the Wave!”), and by the time we got to the colon friction I was feeling pretty zen. Zen enough to risk asking Ms. IEP why we work descending, to transverse, to ascending, as it seems a little, overkill. She stopped glowering to make blank-faced eye contact. “Because,” Ms. IEP said, in a casual, matter-of-fact voice, “if you’re moving poo, you want to start at the blockage point, don’t you?” And that's when I lost it. Lost track of the sequence, lost contact with the “client,” lost my hold on the giggles, lost my shit completely, if you’ll pardon the intended pun. For about 10 minutes the class howled and wiped away tears and then we got back to business. I should have known there was no hope after that- every couple of minutes the Bizarre Event Commentator in my head would whisper “the teacher said poo” and I’d lose it again, causing everyone else to lose it again with me. Because I am 5.

More antics followed as we each took a turn having our intestines prodded and poked, joking that we could not be held responsible for any “wind” coaxed out of us. And praying our bowels would stay silent. Yep, bursts of laughter followed immediately by panicked thoughts (“oh god, stop laughing, it would be so. damn. embarrassing to laugh and then toot explosively in front of everyone. Ha! Toot! Oh god, stop laughing, it would be so. damn. embarrassing…” etc.)

Relatively collected, we began joint movements. Knee flexion combined with draping mistakes and comparisons to gynecological exams had everyone in hysterics again. “Okay,” growled Ms. IEP, dabbing her eyes, “let’s do the arms.” Traction to the arm, above-the-shoulder-stretch, la dee da, now we take the arm across the client’s chest and push the elbow down in a stretch. Wasted from the earlier merriment, I lay passively on the massage table as my classmate threw my arms around. She was concentrating so completely on her hand placement that she hadn’t once looked me in the eye.

On the last joint movement, she threw my arm across my chest and stood with her hand pushing down on my elbow, triumphantly looking at the teacher as if to say “The beast, I have vanquished him verily with my broadsword!” Ms. IEP glanced at the pose and said “And you’re finished?” Classmate, ignoring my drooping sheet, resistant shoulder, and the arm that was somehow crumpled over my chest and face, wrist bent back unnaturally against the massage table, declared that she was. The room was silent, save for the ticking clock, as everyone waited to see if the student would catch on that she was not, in fact, finished.

I couldn’t take it any longer and let out a whimper that was half-smothered by my bicep. “I feel like a broken toy!” I cried. My classmate looked down and gasped, and everyone else promptly lost it all over again. Ms. IEP left the room to compose herself, but we spied her in the hallway, doubled over against a wall, shaking with laughter. Shortly after that, she declared us done for the night and sent us all home.

Good times.

2 comment:

Blogger Lisa said...

This was a hilarious story. Loved it!

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Pickle said...

Reasons why I love you:

You just used "verily" in a sentence, AND it was about slaying a dragon.

You're Madmartigan.

You ARE great.

5:12 AM  

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