About

I do bodywork for a living. For fun I torture myself daily with big stacks of iron plates. Somewhere in the house I have a bachelor’s in literature from one of those small eccentric colleges of which guidance counselors say, as mine said to me, “Try ******. Everyone there is a little strange and people won’t notice you so much.”

Tennessee Ernie Ford’s 45 of Sixteen Tons — and the flip side, John Henry — either marked me for life or just spoke to what I was already “about” at the age of around four. I was too young to grasp the working-class desperation of the songs, but something about the idea of human will wedded with physical power grabbed me and never let me go. I remember sitting on the floor by the couch, playing that record over and over, reading books about Joan of Arc and Marie Curie. Today I’m still a stew of tomboy heretic, experimenter, and physical laborer, with my nose in a book. And I don’t listen to much country music, but I still choke up on the lines

John Henry’s hammer drove fifteen feet / And the steam drill only made nine.

As for Sixteen Tons, the only line that makes me wince now is “A mind that’s weak and a back that’s strong.” We get brains and a body in this life. We’d be pikers not to max out both of them. If I don’t do anything else with this blog, maybe I’ll make some more friends who feel the same way.

*^*^*

Circa 2013, some clues as to who lives here:

https://sledpress.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/the-return-of-the-bench/

https://sledpress.wordpress.com/2009/05/24/the-limerick-memorial-sunday-may-24-2009-military-band-interlude/

https://sledpress.wordpress.com/2009/10/24/the-best-cat-in-the-world-ii-or-urlicht/

https://sledpress.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/hans-sachs/

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33 thoughts on “About

  1. I had to Google to find out who they were. After Tennessee Ernie, it was all classical all the time (with an occasional bounce from someone like the Coasters) and I still don’t know one band from another if I hear them. Contemporary music just never “took.”

    I will admit I give a high five to people who write lyrics involving Nikola Tesla.

    I can sing all the verses of “The Bastard King of England” though.

  2. I keep meaning to tell you that I get a Tennessee Ernie earworm every time I visit here. Coincidentally, 16 Tons was also one of my favourite songs as a child.

  3. Geez. I feel like a soft old lady when I look at your arms. Beautiful! I do body work for a living too, but my thing I do for fun is garden and haul rocks around to create the beds.

    Azahar sent me over here. I have been reading your comments on her blog for quite a while and I am wondering why I never stopped by before! I like your take no prisoners attitude, and I didn’t ever have a guidance counselor send me off to a small college because “everybody there is strange (etc)”. If I had had a guidance counselor, they would have said it to me, though. I did go to a small college in Alaska, because it was far away from my family and there were MEN there. Lots of men. I figured with a ratio of 7:1 men:women I was likely to get laid as often as I wanted. I was right.

    • I’ve gotten captured by gardening too, though I wil never have more than a shaggy garden. I used to hate everything about it because it seemed to consist of little old ladies putting petunias into beds. Now that I’ve got a big unwieldy lot and can use up a truckload of mulch, I get a bang out of it — sweat, dirt, swearing, grunting. 🙂 The day I acquired a pitchfork I felt like Liberty Leading the People.

      I admit to half expecting you would think I was a big vulgar lout — I kept encountering people in massage school who would look at me and sniff distastefully and say “Yoga is all the exercise you need,” as if I’d farted in church or something by talking about weightlifting. It’s an obsession, but saner than running for public office, say.

      I may bug you with plant questions.

  4. Sled, your post on Martha Alexander touched me deeply. It is such a caring remembrance written as only you can. I’ll be reading your blogs faithfully.

  5. I’m a gym rat too, though only for these past few years. Thought I’d mention it. One of my heroes is Jack LaLanne. My mom met him in 1946. They’re each still going strong.

  6. Having just received a comment from you – which brought me to read your blog here and there – I found your posts lunatic enough to satisfy my thirst for variety.
    I’m from a distant place and a distant age.

    Ciao woman of America

    • See what kind of people come to visit when you start talking to Greek Gods? I like your thoughtful musings, and the conversations about and with the world that I saw on your blog.

      I am kind of distant-aged myself at times. Thank you for “lunatic.” I sometimes worry that I am getting too staid and sane.

  7. Azahar sent me over here. I have been reading your comments on her blog for quite a while and I am wondering why I never stopped by before! I like your take no prisoners attitude, and I didn’t ever have a guidance counselor send me off to a small college because “everybody there is strange (etc)”. If I had had a guidance counselor, they would have said it to me, though. I did go to a small college in Alaska, because it was far away from my family and there were MEN there. Lots of men. I figured with a ratio of 7:1 men:women I was likely to get laid as often as I wanted. I was right.
    +1

  8. Wow, that’s you in the picture? Your arms and your body is just amazing!

    I’m a massage therapist myself and in school they always told us about boundaries, and this, and that, having a different personality, blah, blah. I’ve always been myself, pretty open, and have enjoyed getting all sorts of people to laugh out loud at my antics. I’d rather be massaging than be in an office any day, especially since I get to meet so many people from so many different walks of life.

    Anyways, love your point of view on things and glad I was sent over here to check this out.

    • Thanks for popping in! Yeah, that’s getting to be an old picture by now, but I am still pretty much the same. Just a few more knots on my finger joints.

      I’ve always thought the lectures we got on professional style were sort of artificial. I can always sense when someone’s faking a persona, and you don’t have to do that to keep things professional. I remember reading in one of the association magazines “every word of conversation in the session should be in service of the massage” — as if the conversation you have as one real human being to another does not illuminate the body work you’re doing.

      Dropped in on your Rub Hub and read your recent posts. Be not afraid. I worked two and a half years with a pelvic floor screwup that made me walk up hills backwards sometimes. It is gone. I am still here.

  9. I totally agree! I find that massage school and a lot of information about how you are supposed to have a client-therapist relationship to be not something I want to do. I love relating to my clients, I’m happy to hear about their life, I worry and care about them too. I never changed my personality and I’m happy I didn’t listen to them.

    Thanks so much for the reply and for telling me that you’re okay after the pelvic floor screw-up. The first thing I thought when I got injured was how I was going to work, not that I wanted it to go away, even though the pain was SO intense, it was just I love my job and I don’t know how I could do it without bending down. It’s just so terribly scary, because the pain is still there and I know from what I read that the muscles in my back are going to be weaker and I’m already changing the way I massage because my back doesn’t feel strong enough.

    Anyways, thank you for saying that, it means a lot to me that you survived that to keep doing what you love. It’s bad enough my co-workers are asking me what happened and I have to tell them I threw out my back/strained it. I don’t like people knowing I’m in pain and I hate complaining, so this whole thing has been annoying and I’m ready for it to be over with.

  10. Pingback: Earworm OTD « heretherebespiders

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