Day Fourteen

On November 14, 2011 by Eden M. Kennedy

The second day of Camp Mighty I looked into the skill sessions. (I’m not sure what happened to me during the Friday skill sessions, but it seemed more important to black out for a couple of hours in a cozy, cozy hotel bed.) The session devoted to sabering open champagne bottles got cancelled because of the rain, so I went into the tent by the pool and discovered a man named Adam furiously making balloon animals. I was kind of like, Hmm, this doesn’t really interest me but no one else is here and I don’t want him to feel bad, so I stuck around. I watched him make a brown balloon monkey holding onto a yellow balloon banana:

When enough people had gathered around, he started handing out balloons and explaining some basics. Always twist with your dominant hand; always twist in the same direction because if you start twisting away from yourself and then halfway through switch to twisting toward yourself, your twists will come undone. Don’t be afraid of the balloon popping, go ahead and just twist the hell out of it. (It’s worth the extra couple of dollars to get the good balloons, though, as the cheap ones don’t hold up under serious twisting.)

I made a dog. Then I figured that if I were really going to learn to do this I should practice a little more, so I made what ended up being a sort of hyper-masculine poodle:

But what I really learned from spending fifteen minutes doing this is that so many skills that look odd or unattainable or mysterious can be broken down into a few simple steps, and that after you practice them and gain some confidence with your materials and with your body, you can do almost anything. Or make a motorcycle.

I thanked Adam and then decided not to go over to the How to Throw a Punch session because I already knew how to break a board with my hand.

I walked over to a small yurt where the How to Give a Great Neck Massage session was happening. There I learned several more things.

  1. “Pull the meat off the bone” is the key to Thai massage in general, but deltoid massage in particular
  2. There are a string of pressure points along the scapula that, when pressed even slightly, will make a person say, “OW” followed quickly by “YES, RIGHT THERE” and “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T STOP”
  3. You can press with all your might on someone’s head with your finger pads like you’re trying to squish their brains out their ears and it won’t actually hurt them, it will feel good
  4. Don’t massage anyone’s neck arteries or you’ll obstruct the flow of blood to their brain and they’ll pass out

I was gingerly trying to find Cameron’s deltoid muscle when the massage therapist came around, put her hands over mine, and showed me how to lift and gently pull them toward me, and the confidence of her touch transferred into my hands and I got it. It was like when a golf pro wraps their arms around you to teach you how to swing, except not as creepy.

So again: learn some techniques+ get comfortable with the motions + practice = enviable skill that your family and friends will enjoy, plus it will help put an anxious, talkative child to sleep after you’ve been away for three days.

Comments

comments

11 Responses to “Day Fourteen”

  • Thank you, Eden. My deltoid is still saying your name reverently.

  • So, next time I see you I get a balloon animal AND my kinks worked out? This is a bonus I never saw coming.

  • Holy shit, did you make that motorcycle?? Send it to me and I will ride it to California with the saddlebags stuffed with (the better and more expensive) long balloons!

  • I would like to learn to make pulled pork, to do the Tango but not with my husband because he has no rhythm hence with a muscular gay man who won’t destroy my marriage by falling inescapably in love with me due to my sinuous spinal column — I got sidetracked – I’d like to learn French – and not just the dirty words – and I would like to do flower arrangements. And I’d like to meet you for coffee. No pressure. Do you live in LA? No pressure. Just a thought. Mwahahaha.

  • I want my husband to learn the neck massage technique! Oh, and I liked your poodle!!!

  • I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who just stopped reading for a moment to test out the finger pad pressing thing. It’s magic! Or I’m just really weak.

  • Hello, Eden – I think we barely met this weekend (maybe we made eye contact a few times? – it was steamy if we did, though) . . .

    But, I am from New Mexico – in fact I am sitting in New Mexico RIGHT NOW – and we always have piles and piles of turquoise necklaces everywhere. We just roll around in them and sometimes use them as currency at the local Super Walmart.

    Anyway, do you want one? I have the legit stuff, not the cheap, Chinese, plastic/wax-infused stuff that is sold nowadays.

    OLD SCHOOL TURQUOISE COMING AT YOU (if you want it).

  • Wow, is THAT what you do at those things? I was like ‘what do they do at those things?’ All you see is pictures and everyone looks very nice. That’s pretty genius, actually. I want to know how to do all those things. Mad skillz.

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