NOTE: This is my first installment featuring a guest blogger – my Dad! Many thanks for his willingness to share a story here on my new site. I’ll be hitting up other family and friends soon to commit to more guest appearances. I have lots of Word Nerds in my life who inspire me, so this is my special way to feature and thank them for their positive and encouraging influences upon me.
I am comfortable being your first guest blogger, Michelle, because I am definitely not your mom. I am, in fact, your dad. I even pinned your name on you. I chose it because (1) I love the melodies of the French language and (2) I was thinking that the song “Michelle” by The Beatles described my feelings about you very well. Your readers may want to dial it up on Youtube or their MP3 or Alexa or whatever they do these days. I first heard it on a vinyl LP33. To our family you are now known as “Mitchie”, which pretty much dilutes the French sonority, but is probably an even better fit.
In any case, my purpose today is not family history, but a contemporary illustration of the old saying, “Never look a gift horse in the mouth.” This antiquated homily apparently originated in the days when it was not uncommon to receive a horse as a gift. The idea was that one could tell the age of any horse with a careful examination of the animal’s teeth. But it was thought to be bad form, and probably politically incorrect, to do a dental exam after getting the poor creature for free!
My dear daughter, Mitchie, gave me a gift certificate for Christmas last year. It was good for one hour of “therapy” at a popular, nation-wide spa which I will not name. Suffice it to say that I have been very envious of the many massages she has enjoyed from her membership in this wonderful establishment. Two months had gone by before I really noticed the certificate sitting unused on the top of my bookcase. So, I phoned (by land line, of course, since I don’t have a phone that doesn’t plug into a wall) and the spa’s rep immediately assured me that they were delighted that I would be coming in tomorrow. I was told my massage therapist would be Erin, and I had an appointment at noon!
I eagerly announced my arrival (“Robert Marks for Erin!”) at 12 sharp the next day and could tell right away that I was not nearly as eagerly awaited. The charming woman at the front desk was profusely apologetic, but had to tell me they could not locate me in their register and, oh sorry, but Erin wouldn’t be coming in after all. I guess either one of these failings absolutely precluded my getting a massage at noon. I asked if Erin had flown the coop, but was told that, no, she just wasn’t scheduled to come in that day. To make up for my “inconvenience”, they wondered whether I could reschedule for 3 p.m., same day. If so, I could choose my therapist, either “Becky” or “Rylyn”. I was surprised because Mitchie’s older daughter has a good friend named Rylyn, a rather unusual and very pretty feminine name in my mind. Naturally, I took dibs on Rylyn, and we agreed on the 3 o’clock rubdown.
When I bounced back in at 3 on the dot, I was greeted fulsomely and assured they had verified me in their world-wide records and Rylyn was ready for me. Then I was ushered into the “relaxation room” where I plopped into a vibrating chair with visions of my masseuse dancing in my head.
I was drifting off after ten minutes of lovely vibrations when my reveries were interrupted by a gruff voice wanting to know if “Mark” was in the room. I looked up to see a hulking, 250-pound male with a knitted wool cap holding my appointment slip. He was not so much a lineman type; more like a linebacker. He asked me if my last name was Roberts, and I said, “No, it’s Marks, but my first name is Robert.” He told me he was “Rylyn” (male spelling unknown). As he led me down the hall to the cozy room where I anticipated soft new age music and fragrant aromatherapy, it dawned on me that Rylyn the Linebacker was the newly-selected massage therapist with whom I was going to spend the next hour in very close contact.
I got as comfortable as possible on the table and told him to use as much pressure as he thought I needed. He then proceeded to pound the stuffing out of me. I was in pain nearly the whole time, but decided to stick it out because it must be good for me or Rylyn surely wouldn’t be doing it. When I finally emerged from the massage chamber, the ladies at the front desk cheerfully told me I was “good to go!” Was that a giggle I heard behind me as the door was closing? There’s a fine line between massage and manipulation.
I don’t want to seem so unkind as to suggest that my daughter’s gift to me was anything but appreciated. I’m not looking that gift horse in the mouth. To prove all’s well that ends well, as a gesture of the spa’s gratitude for allowing them to cater to my massage needs, they awarded me another free hour of their services. To make this happen, they told me that Mitchie’s original gift certificate to me is still valid!
Thanks for giving me a chance to begin and end my blogging career on a site as distinguished as iamnotyourmom.com. Michelle, ma belle, your words go together very well.
Massaged and Manipulated,