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The Benefits Of A Deep Message, Er, Massage

The Benefits Of A Deep Message, Er, Massage

By Mark Drolette

My wife and I spent a couple of days recently at a beautiful hot springs resort to garner some rest and relaxation. The garnerin' was good. I even came away with a little inspiration, and here it is: I wanna go back.

Tucked into beautiful Northern California mountains, it's a paradise of natural spring water pools of varying temperatures, picture postcard buildings, delicious food, clean air, massages, hiking trails, and plenty of other good stuff available for soothing anyone with a soul (thereby excluding Republicans). It is all lovely acreage filled with a spiritual and meditative quality and more than a hint of mysticism.

I couldn't stand living there.

If it seems like I just contradicted myself, great! I've been working in the lab, and maybe I'm finally getting closer to replicating GOP "logic."

Actually, what I'm really saying is that it's a perfect spot for me to retreat from the world, but only temporarily.

The second day in, I got a great massage, and told my masseuse how terrific it felt.

"Thank you."

I said she must really love her work; she responded she did.

Ever the sparkling conversationalist, I continued, "It must be really hard giving massages all the time."

There was a pause, and then she replied, sweetly: "It's not as hard as writing political commentary."

Zounds! A Zen zinger. Not only that, but just how the heck did she know I write political commentary?? I mean, other than the fact I'd mentioned it earlier. Hmm?

See what I mean about the magical ambience there?

The moral of her comment is, of course: If we're lucky, we find what fulfills us and spend as much time as possible doing it. Obviously, this is not revolutionary, but is something I've often pondered lately, especially since November 2.

"Arlita" has lived at the resort for ten years, provides a vital, healing service, and seems quite content. For whatever reason(s), producing articles about America's base Bushian bastards doesn't grab her.

I, on the other hand, seek not to learn the fine art of massage, and even were I to gain such knowledge, am at heart such a selfish sort that I would no doubt be my favorite customer (if I could figure out the logistics).

But penning political essays satisfies something deep within me. In fact, my composing articles about Dubya's doings could even be couched in love/hate terms: love writing, hate Bush.

People's strengths crossed my mind again during a recent e-mail exchange with an ex-governor's wife. I told her I'm convinced the November "election" was rigged, and so have chosen to no longer vote; I won't perpetuate the myth, and thus provide cover for the fascists in power, that we citizens can ultimately right our society's sunken ship via the ballot box. She replied she hasn't lost faith in the political system, and added that whenever one of us drops out of it, the ones who benefit are the scum-sucking, sewer-dwelling, soul-squishing, cloven-hoofed, fetid-breathed, baby-eating Bushmonsters.

Well, she didn't exactly put it quite that way (her actual quote was, "they win"), but I'm pretty sure that's what she meant.

Perhaps her continued faith in our political process is well-founded; I fervently hope so. But evidence and facts convince me otherwise.

However, even if things were on the up-and-up last November, how much does that improve the situation, really? Does it leave America any better off under the Bushies and the doormat Democrats?

For instance, we Sacramentans recently lost our longtime Democratic congressman, Robert "Silent Bob" Matsui. We didn't misplace him; he died. Some cynics might suggest, given his record of legislative "achievements" in the century or so he occupied his safe-as-could-be House seat, it may be difficult to discern any difference.

Be that as it may, it still might have been, oh, considerate, or, heavens, maybe even statesmanlike, had he informed his constituents, especially before his re-election in November, that he knew he was dying. But, no, that may have given other folks a legitimate opportunity to make a run for his spot instead of giving the widow Matsui, a former Clinton administration insider who just won a special election over some impressive challengers, a legacy leg up.

She didn't just win, either; she killed 'em, with around 110% of the vote. (Um, that estimate seems a mite high; perhaps I'd better take my J. Kenneth Blackwell "Ohio Special" calculator in for servicing.) I'm assuming, though, her overwhelming victory margin is kosher, because I am not daft enough to believe Karl Rove and gang have rigged every single election across the country. (Besides, until the Republicans' takeover of the country is complete which won't happen until they have total control of the courts, keeping a few completely ineffective Dems for cover seems like a sound fascist approach.) This means, then, that voters who still believe in the power of the ballot chose to perpetuate the same tired, corrupt system instead of infusing it with new blood.

Not that a newcomer with a conscience would stand a chance of changing anything on today's legislative stage if elected. The extant rot is so profuse throughout the American political system that any idealistic troublemaker is soon marginalized.

If I sound, uh, cranky, it's probably 'cause I am.

I spoke recently with a friend living in Canada (lucky bastard -- until the U.S. starts lobbing missiles northward, that is). He'd just read some columns I'd sent and said they imparted an undertone of despair. I said, "Yes, but it is funny despair?" (I take my humor seriously, and vice versa.)

A bit later, unprompted (because I don't have a segue here), I offered this prediction for America's future: "The U.S. will collapse economically, and then, there won't be a revolution."

Should there be one? Let me ask: Need you ask? (The preceding sentence's deliberate ambiguity is dedicated to all my friends at Homeland Security.)

Revolutions, though, are just so messy. And Americans, despite a lot of bilious bravado (typically originating from within truck cabs set about twelve feet off the ground), really don't do messy all that well.

Unless it's someone else's messy. Like, say, that of shredded guts and exploded brains of thousands of brown-skinned un-Christian folks, in which case it's hell, yeah, Bubba, mess 'em all the heck up!

Here's a suggestion for taking back our co-opted country: How's about a general strike? Shut the nation down. Hit the Bushies and their sick ilk where it hurts the most: in their gargantuan wallets.

Truly, though, a rebellion or a nationwide work standstill are unlikely, so what can we do?

We could maybe just wait around and do nothing until a benign foreign nation, wanting nothing more than our happiness and natural resources, invades us and deposes our brutal leadership. Hey! Do you think the Iraqis, once they get their democracy up and running in a few months and all of their well-trained security forces in place, would be up for returning our recent graciousness by slaughtering about 100,000 of us and stationing fourteen permanent Iraqi military bases around America? After all, we know we've got some WMDs they could use as justification.

It's probably too much to hope for; just call me the starry-eyed optimist.

While some may wonder if any of our efforts matter, I know this for certain: it's better than not doing anything. Been there, not done that. I refuse to return to endless evenings of brainlessly clicking through sixty pap/propaganda-broadcasting channels, growing more enraged but no more informed as the days click by, too.

(Cliché alert): No one can predict the future, so during these dreadful days it's essential to keep doing what we're best at doing. I am no leader but write decently; some are born organizers; others still are great at leg work. Whatever we do, above all, we must not give up. (Sorry, that called for a cliché warning, too.)

Because, really, when you think about it, just where would we be if George Washington and his men had cashed it in at Valley Forge?

That's right: We'd all be speaking English, including maybe even our current king.

And what if the Wright brothers had given up on mechanical flight? Yep, you're way ahead of me on that one, too: You'd never have choked down lousy airline food or ended up partially disabled after remaining involuntarily immobile for four hours in a seat that not only wouldn't comfortably hold a diminutive Lilliputian but had its back kicked non-stop the entire flight by the whiny kid behind you.

And, personally, just what would happen if I abandoned my long-running hope the San Francisco Giants will someday win the World Series? Well, I'd finally get off medication, probably, so I guess two out of three ain't bad.

During this Bush reign of terror, we must keep our fires lit, be they political or non. Something good and unforeseen just may happen in America again someday, and if we're lucky, we'll be alive and ready for it when it does. That's why, in the meantime, I'll keep writing, Mrs. Former First Lady will most likely maintain her connections, and Arlita, I hope, will continue massaging away.

'Cause I've a feeling I'll be needing more kneading and warm soaks before the final story is written.


Copyright © 2005 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.

Mark Drolette is a political satirist/commentator who lives in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at

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