February 19, 2006

The Tao of SpongeBob
Learning the art of the back massage the Spongebob way

The Tao of Spongebob

After a hard day at the office my back aches and my shoulders are so tight you could bounce coinage off of them. It’s the price I pay for a desk job. Staring at the computer day in and day out has its drawbacks. In fact, the more involved I am in a project, the more I forget my body altogether. Hours go by and suddenly I realize I’ve zoned out.

It’s the new millennium’s equivalent of an out-of-body experience. When I “come to” I realize my head and neck are cocked way out of alignment. As I arrive home and walk in the front door it all comes back to me. The rest of my life.

Despite my condition my family greets me as if I’ve only been away for a minute to retrieve the morning paper. My children rush me to proclaim their latest achievements or to beg me to mediate a King Solomon dilemma. My day is transparent to them until I announce: “My back is killing me. I need to lay down.”

Shortly I am greeted with more empathetic responses. My wife makes her way to our bedroom door to offer her condolences while my eldest follows in to offer me a complementary backrub. Am I in Heaven?

I accept her noble gesture. At nine she has recently gotten rave reviews from Mom on her body manipulation abilities. She begins her work. I lay on my stomach as she uses her elbows to kneed by hurting muscles.

As a chronic backache sufferer I have learned to understand the nature of my problem. I haven’t thrown my back out, that is, I haven’t actually injured a ligament or muscle. Instead, everyday tension has decided my back is its palace. Everything is just tight. In fact, I can show you exactly where the points of tension are. If I was double jointed I could even touch them. But, alas, there are just out of reach. Hence I must rely on the kindness of others.

In the past I have asked my wife to push on these points with her thumbs. They’re just inside my shoulder blades. Push hard. When you apply enough pressure it hurts —really hurts. But that’s exactly the feel I’m after. My wife blanches at my reaction. She’s such a sensitive soul. But when you finally release, the tension releases as well. Ahhh.

Yet the amount of pressure it takes to do the job requires a strength no one in my house is able to give me. So when my eldest has discovered she can do this with her elbows I am amazed and gratified.

Next she takes the sides of her hands and “chops” them down both sides of my spine. Did I somehow forget the after-school massage therapy class she had begged us to take? I ask her where she learned to do this. Mom was right. This 9 year old knows what she’s doing.

“TV,” she says. “SpongeBob did the elbow massage on Squidward and the chop technique I learned on ‘Suite Life of Zack and Cody’.”

I’d laugh if I could. But I’m too relaxed. Who says commercial television isn’t educational?

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I know those things behind the shoulder blades. Caroline gets them, I press on them, they almost pop like bubbles. We call them bobbley things. That and Spongebob. Funniest thing on TV. I love it.

Posted by: Ivan on February 19, 2006 7:10 PM

Well I cetainly understand your pain. I carry a sandbox and gravel pit throughout my back. Can you send my niece out to my place for a little bit of rehab for Aunt Pam??? Then stop bragging!!

Posted by: Pamela on February 20, 2006 5:44 PM

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