Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
A few weeks ago I went to get a massage because I have been very tense since roughly 1982. There might have been a year in the early 2010s where I was carefree and loosey goosey because that was the period during which I bought a 30-day Groupon for Bikram Yoga every February when they went on sale, attended for 17 days, and then decided that fixing myself Rotisserie-style was probably not my ministry. (Now, I say that but even writing the words Rotisserie-style makes me good and hungry. If I came with a side of Boston Market mac and cheese? Unstoppable. Could not be stopped!)
I am not someone who regularly gets massages because I do not like to acknowledge that I have a corporeal form. In fact, I think I've only had two other massages in life if you don't count that period in high school when everyone was poking at each other's shoulders. (Why were we always giving each other shoulder massages in the senior lounge? Was there some chiropractic plot line on Step by Step that inspired us? It was never about anything. It was literally just like "Oh, you're tense. Let me do the thing that purports to feel like I'm cracking an egg over your head." [Personally, I never enjoyed that. Imaginary food waste? On my head? Go directly to the Hague.])
I opted to get a massage because it's been a stressful couple of decades. I felt fine, healthwise, about the choice ten days ago but given the whole situation our fully functioning society finds itself in now I don't think I'll be doing hashtag spa life any time soon. More like hashtag Nah life. (Should I open up a spa called Nah for people who are just not feeling it? Like, it doesn't play relaxing music, you can check your Twitter the whole time, and instead of bathrobes everyone wears the trash bag from the Missy Elliott music video. I actually think this would be more relaxing for me, a person who does not like to relax.)
The masseuse was very good. At least, I assume he was very good. I really don't know. He prodded me in the arms and I kept thinking "could this meeting have been an email?" I don't want to make it seem like I don't respect massage therapists--quite the opposite, actually. Firstly, anyone who shows up anywhere with their own table is good in my book. Rolling up on the party like "I'm here and I brought seating for six." Also, as someone who doesn't technically have a body (I am a holographic projection) the somatic sciences are a wonder to me. But I don't have enough knowledge to really put words to what a good massage would be. I imagine afterward I would be... healed? They'd do a little massage magic, give it a little bippity boppity back crack, perform physiological prestidigitation and I'd cartwheel down the street like Simone Biles. Maybe!
Afterward apparently there is a feedback session where the masseuse tells you how it went? I was not prepared for this. I always want to get an A and I was deeply concerned that in the category of "can you lie still on a table in a dark room and just chill out for once?" I would not get a passing grade. As I sipped water from a bottle I brought myself because I was afraid the little sippy cups they'd have would be too small (I was correct) the masseuse told me "I could have used another hour to work on you." And I was like "Thank you." And he was like "No, I'm saying you're very tense." To which I responded, "Yes, well, I didn't come to get this massage because I am relaxed and feeling good." Apparently I still didn't get it; he tried again. "No," he said, "I'm saying, you are one of the tensest person I've ever worked on." I said "You're too kind; it's an honor just to be nominated." He grabbed my arm desperately like he was a time traveller sent back through the whirlpool at one of my chain of Nah Spas. "Eric," he said, "I am telling you, any time you can get body work done, you have to do it. You are not relaxed!" I was like "This has been an incredible experience and I will treasure it in my heart, another muscle that is clenched like a fist." And I took my little Tin Man body back to the dressing room, put on my trash bag, checked my Twitter, and went back out into the Rotisserie world. Ah, luxury!
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Perisphere Theater in Washington D.C. is producing my play Time Is On Our Side August 12 through 28, live on stage! Click here for more information.
Random Thing on the Internet
I love Joshua Henry so much. He deserves 90 Tonys, at least. I saw him in The Wiz like a decade ago with Ashanti and Orlando Jones; he was phenomenal. Here's him singing one of the Tin Man's songs at a cabaret.
I'm here and I brought seating for six,