Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

“Tired Back”- In China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on February 15, 2011


Today I will continue to bore you with my physical ailments both real and imagined. Lacking a loving family with which to commiserate, I choose this forum.

As you may know I had an intense back pain which forced me to amble simian-like about my house.
Baby Gorilla

(photo from here)

Not so long ago I had gone to a ‘Traditional Chinese medical clinic’ and decided to return thereto

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Upon knocking at the door, there was silence indicating no one was present, the laughter of small children, however, told me otherwise. Venturing the back, I found the ever-diligent China-man plying the crafts of his trade.
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Fearfully approaching me, the mistress of the place asked what I needed.
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as my Chinese has come a long way in three paltry years, I commanded that I was in need of a back massage. Apparently they had forgotten about me, the guy who came in many a fortnight ago, in much the same situation as i now found myself. The little sprite inquired as to whom should massage my back, and I deferred to her professional opinion.

Nodding , or maybe it was just a tic, she grunted at Lo Mien, the only professional on staff.
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Thinking the man dead, I approached him and kicked at his boney shin. Howling, the man dropped his needle point and focused his rheumy eyes upon me as if for the first time.

“massage” I croaked in Chinese.

With the quickness and ferocity of a migraine, this stolid professional moved me to the inner sanctum of the place, as it were and after crossing many a street, i was taken to the massage area where similar professionals gahtered to heal the sick.
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Stubbing out his Mrarlboro cigarette, after of course, lighting its virgin sister from his ear, Lo Mien proceeded to tell me about my back. Momentarily he paused as I asked whether or not he actually wanted to see or touch it, or maybe take x-rays, he scoffed, called me an amatuer and bid me to sit.

Lo then explained the history of he back and how it was created by the god Ping an, who was a China-man who made all that it is that we enjoy today. He explained that while the back of a typical china-man is as strong as teak, I being a barbarian, was blessed with nothing sturdier than birch. Nodding my head at the sage man I mumbled that I understood.

With that this magician hiked me to the ‘chair of pain’ and in between exhaling purple wisps of nicotine stained air directly into my nose, he proceeded to pound, squeeze, cajole and hammer my athletic form and birch-like spinal cord into abeyance.

Casting down his last cigarette, he stomped at it triumphantly. I asked what was wrong with my back the the wise man explained.

“its tired…”

I was like “tired?”

And the ‘doctor’ nodded, shoving me out the door.

pausing I wanted to make sure I had heard him right. I then dialed one of my friends and asked them to interpret and sure enough the words of this honorable physician were that my back was tired.

Waddling from the parlor of pain, I hitched up my britches and scratched my mangy hair. “Damn i didn’t know there was such an ailment.” I muttered then got some Mu shi ro.

Upon arrivng at work I sought o better my situation and googled (yes we can still google) the ailment known as ‘tired back’. Ufortunately, although words like fibro myalgia, herniated disk, and such flickered up at me from my glowning screen, iIfailed to encounter the elusive back disorder called ‘tired back’.

I guess i will just defer to the man’s countelss (no doubt) hours of study at one of the most hallowed institutions of higher learnign that this place has to offer and merely let my birch-back have a much needed rest.

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