Hurt me baby one more time

When you’re over 35 and lift things from time to time your body says, “Stop it. This is too much, too early. Feed me pancakes.” This can also happen from a particularly aggressive sneeze. Occasionally this results in your body being more aggressive with its announcement in the form of a pulled muscle.

This happened to me last week, the injury caused a specific area in my neck and shoulder to go into rigor mortis, unable to turn more than a few degrees. It apparently isn’t SO severe as to cause much sympathy at home and nobody wants to make me pancakes even when I make pain groans and exaggerate my difficulty at living life. Consequently, I searched Google for someone to care about me for an hour in exchange for money.

In my experience massage therapists look very “Zen,” with shops with names like “Massage by Rose.” Rose’s office is always illuminated by a single with a scent called “Tranquil Hummingbird.” She speaks in hushed tones, which are barely heard over the CD, “Solitude of Dreams II” which are four flutes played under a Himalayan waterfall. All of these appointments were taken, so I tried my luck with a place with slightly less relaxing-sounding name: “Kick Ass Sports Massage.”

This was not run by a Rose or even a Paula. This guy looked like a member of Pearl Jam or part of a crew of guys that restores custom sports cars on the Discovery Channel. His name was something like Axel, but soon I would be calling him what I assume all of his patients called him: Satan, Lord of All Pain.

Like an executioner describing to the convicted how he was going to be killed, he enjoyed telling me all about the various muscles and ligaments and what they were used for before he systematically destroying them. Every muscle was named to the point where I thought there might be a test at the end. However, after two minutes I was just hoping I’d make it that far.

“The Maserati Majorus connects to the Excruciating Scalpuli allowing 360-degree range of motion,” he would say, “that I will now inhibit by placing the heel of my shoe directly on your pain receptors and pushing until I can see it come out the other end.”

Most of our conversations went thusly:

Him: “Do you feel that?”

Me: “My whole world right now is pain.”

Him: “Right. I’m going to lean on that with all of my weight for all of eternity.”

Me: “I’m dying now.”

Him: “You’re doing great!”

At some point I think he used a chisel.

He revealed that muscles should be fairly loose and able to squish, somewhat like stale Jell-O. In comparison, my back is apparently an angry rhino filled with porcelain cat figurines.

“I’m sure it feels just like a thoroughbred’s muscles would feel,” I said, hopefully.

“Yeah, that’s not it,” he replied all mean and hurtful.

Every time he moved on to another muscle group he sounded aghast.

“Ohh. There’s another one. That’s pretty terrible. We’ll have to come back to that one.”

He said this approximately 34 times and I’m not even sure there are 34 different muscles in my body. It’s not a coincidence that the meat locker scene from “Rocky” flashed before my eyes on several occasions as I waited eagerly for death.

Unlike Rose, who would ask frequently about the pressure, my comfort and the temperature of the moist towel over my face, Satan:

– picked one pressure: that pressure mimicking one of those junkyard machines that flattens old cars

– never asked about my comfort, only occasionally telling me how good I was doing and probably surprised I hadn’t yet given up government secretes

– had no moist towel so my pores went entirely unexfoliated

I like to think my pain tolerance is quite high. For example, I’ve stepped directly on a Lego while children were sleeping and didn’t cry out; which turns out to be easy when instead you pass out for a few seconds before rage-building a pretty sweet castle.

It was nice that he checked on me every now and again.

Him: “Do you need to get up and move around?”

Me: “Only to grab my belt so I can bite on it. And also to take 14 shots of bourbon.”

It wouldn’t surprise me if he opened a cabinet and inside were medieval torture devices.

Him: “Is this inflicting enough pain? Because I can always light you on fire.”

But then a strange thing began to happen. I started liking the pain. Instead of crying out like I was giving birth to a fully-grown ostrich, my moans turned slightly more interesting.

“Yes. Yes! Hurt me Satan!”



My odd/loud bedroom noises seemed to take the guy and people in the waiting room off-guard.

“Are you doing OK in here?” the front desk guy asked, peering nervously into the room.

“ARRRRRGGG!!!” I scream-replied like a pirate.

Good. That made him leave the two of us alone.

The harder he pressed, the more I wanted. Strangely after I said something to the effect of, “You’re so deep!” he said our time was up even though we had at least another 30 minutes.

That night I wanted more and attempted to have my wife recreate the magic. Unfortunately the pressure she applied was akin to a muskrat sneaking in after curfew so I disgustedly yelled, “Bah! You’re NOT PEARL JAM GUY!” and hobbled off. I could’ve provided a bit of context to my outburst but she’s often angry at me for something I did in her dreams so I figured it was only fair to leave her confused for a change.


Kelly Van De Walle can be reached at or via asking random people in the street to beat him up (“But only my back and neck area!”). Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny for more strange-sounding bedroom noises.