Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

My discount detox

  • May 2, 2014

I went away last weekend to the beach. I hiked, lazed on the beach, saw a play and went to a museum. On the last day of the trip, I got a fancy massage. I had a coupon.

Nothing impresses a snooty spa lady like a coupon. In case you don’t recognize it, that was sarcasm. She pushed a clipboard at me and told me to fill it out. Did you know they need your medical history to rub your shoulders a little? Odd.

It was the kind of place that has ceramic Buddhas, waterfalls and bamboo. I drank water with cucumbers in it. It was either a very, very wet salad or someone’s idea of a refreshing beverage. It was delicious, by the way.

As I filled out the form, I rubbed my neck. It was hurting. I stopped rubbing my neck because it was a little bit like cleaning up before the maid comes. I decided to wait for the professional.

Before going to the beach, I slept funny. Not ha-ha funny. I pulled my neck in a nightmare. I didn’t know that you could pull a muscle in a bad dream, but that’s what I think happened. My ear hurt, too. It was another bedtime injury. I woke up and realized I was sleeping on the dangly square part of the zipper in my pillow.

The spa lady asked me if I preferred a man or a woman. It seemed like a personal question. I said, “I’ll take first available.” It was of little consequence to me. It was like when the hostess asks you if you want a booth or a table. Also, it sounds weird if you say, “I want a woman.” It also sounds weird when you say, “I want a man.” It’s like being asked, “Do I look fat in this dress?” There’s just no right answer.

I got Casey, a woman. She had just moved to the beach after working at Nemacolin. I felt a little betrayed. I drove for eight hours to get a masseuse who was, up until a few weeks ago, less than an hour away.

She went out of the room while I undressed. I am somewhat repressed, as I have a problem with taking off my clothes in unfamiliar surroundings without buying someone dinner first. It was a dark, candlelit room. Soft, soothing music played, but in my head, I was all, “Boom Chicka Wa Wa.” Even in a fancy joint, my inner Beavis and Butthead come out.

I had to put a towel on my nether regions, half of the towel covered the front; the other half covered the back. I sort of looked like a fat Tarzan. Actually, I looked like a gorilla in a diaper.

I had to get under the sheet. It’s hard to shimmy under the covers and keep a towel in place.

Casey came back to the room, and things went very well. She was well-trained and talented. I’m still a little weird about a stranger touching me, but she massaged the pain right out of my neck. For the record, there was no “Boom Chicka Wa Wa.” It wasn’t that kind of place.

I felt 10 times better, and that was enough of a happy ending for me.


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