Luxury in the Middle of the Day

Yesterday a young woman I had never met before had her hands all over me for an hour and a half.

Of course I’m talking about a massage, in this case a birthday gift from Suzanne. The second professional massage I’ve ever had, I would like very much for it not to be the last, and I’m not sure I’m willing to wait for another birthday to come around in the hopes of getting another gift.

Whether or not I can arrange that depends, as do so many things for me these days, on finances. This month I start drawing Social Security, which will double my retirement income. My pension from the state positions me a little above full-time minimum wage, but I can still see that line from my front porch; the SS check will add a little more distance. 

Of course, by any reasonable standards, I’m already living the good life. I live in a house that’s paid for, and even though it’s a little hard to get to, especially in bad winter weather, some would say it’s a nice place. I don’t lack for food or power or any of the necessities of life, and I can afford some entertainment and limited travel. I have friends and an expanding family, and, as I tell people, in every way except financial, I am a wealthy man.

I think one of the keys to satisfaction with one’s lot in life lies in the realization of where one stands on the continuum. As I said, I don’t lack for any of the necessities of life, plus I’m a white male in a society that affords that demographic a position of some privilege. The fact that other demographic groups want to share in that privilege doesn’t frighten me; I don’t believe that there is only a limited amount of wealth and fair treatment to go around and those of us who have it have to guard it and be very choosy about who we share it with. I’m more Fullerian than Malthusian, I guess.

Having said that, I’m fairly certain that a weekly or even monthly massage is going to be beyond my grasp, at least until someone buys the movie rights to my Boone series. Given the fact that interest in that area is at present non-existent, I’m not holding my breath.

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A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

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