You No like’a the Chop?!

This coming Wednesday is Mick’s birthday. He would have been 59 years old and he passed away on February 28th, 2017. I can’t believe it’s been almost 8 months since my partner of 15 years succumbed to cancer. Amidst the tragedy of his death, I often reminisce in the brilliant stories he would share. This is one of my favorite ones; it is not as good as he would have told it but I will do my best.

The Fall of 2006 and I wanted to take Mick to Philadelphia to visit my alma mater, University of Pennsylvania. His friend April insisted we go with her and her boyfriend, to NYC for a visit. She bought the plane tickets and booked the W Hotel in Times Square. It was a very generous gift and I would have preferred we went straight to Philly.

Although the story has little to do with the description of the room, it does add to the feeling of the story. The rooms were SOOO small. The bathroom was a plastic cutout in the corner of the room that lacked in privacy and soundproofing. Mick and I hated the hotel and would have preferred staying elsewhere without the benefit of hipsters or MOD design.

On our last day, we scheduled massages before going to meet my Aunt Diane for brunch and then to catch the train to Philly. The massages were an upgrade as a result of paying for the rooms with an Amex Platinum. We would not have purchased them at this hotel. Still, we were grateful for the treat and chose to make the most of it.

We scheduled our massages in the morning at the same time so we could double back to the room, pack and check out. I had left plenty of time between the end of the massage and brunch so that we would not be too rushed.

We took the elevator to the appropriate floor and entered the spa. We checked in and sat in the minuscule waiting lounge. A very attractive male masseuse walked in and asked for me by name; I was instantly delighted! Mick gave me a pat and sent me on my way. “I’ll meet you back at the room when you finish. We have to pack and leave one hour after the massage ends.” I reminded him and follow into my treatment room.

There is nothing memorable about my massage. I pay the tip, check out and return to my room to get ready. As soon as I got to the room I showered, packed and got dressed; the whole thing didn’t take more than 30 minutes. Mick was still not back. Another 15 minutes go by and I call the spa. He had just checked out. Another infinity of ten minutes goes by, he shows up with a look I’ve never seen before.

“Where have you been?!?!? We need to leave in 5 minutes!!” I proclaim.

“I need a pen and paper!!! Have you seen a pen and paper?” he moves through the tiny room searching desperately.

“What are you talking about? Answer me!!” “ I can’t! I have to write this down or I’ll forget it!” He starts jotting things down, smiling, giggling and I can tell he’s trying to remember every detail.

“Mick!! What the fuck!?! We are going to be soo late. Jesus Christ!” He continues to ignore me for another 10 minutes or so and writes. “I’m’ heading downstairs, we have to be at brunch in 20 minutes uptown!! Meet me downstairs!” I slam the door and take my bags to the lobby.

In a miraculous turnaround, Mick shows up 10 minutes later and we rush into a cab and head to the Upper East Side.

In the safety of a yellow cab, this is the story that I got from a Michael Kuisel who could not stop laughing and crying!

“So after you got taken, I sat in that stupid lounge for almost 20 minutes. The receptionist said that my scheduled masseuse did not show and they called another one. Another 15 minutes later a huge bear of a man runs out of the elevator. He’s pouring sweat. He’s super hairy and his hair is all matted to his body in his own sweat.” He begins with glee.

“After like another 5 minutes that sweaty oaf bumbles his way to me and says, ‘I’m Yuri, thank you for waiting. Follow!” I immediately know this is going to be good. I undress and get under the sheet. He leaves me there for at least 10 minutes. He storms back in. He’s so big and the room is soo small that he keeps banging the wall cabinets. So you know how when you first start a massage they put the sheet on you and adjust it, put a bolster under your feet. All that stuff?”

“Of course, “ I reply.

“So this guy does the bolster but at my shins, not my feet. Super uncomfortable and then he begins to adjust the sheet but he leaves it diagonally on my body so ½ my ass is just hanging out! He leaves it that way for at least five minutes so I say, ‘Yuri? Can you adjust my sheet please?’ I asked him. So he does and he begins to do that thing where they rock you a little. He did it so hard the table was listing from side to side, it throws him off balance and he hits the wall cabinet so hard he knocks it clean off the wall!!” He wails!

“So then he starts to karate chop my back. You know that thing that they do before they start to use lotion. This kept going on and on and on; literally 10 minutes. Eventually, I say, ‘Yuri? Can we do something else,’ and he replies to me, ‘you no like a’ the chop?! Yes Ok.’” He’s now crying in the cab.

“I hear him pick up a bottle from the broken cabinet, he grabs me by the back of the head, by the hair and lifts me up! In this cranked position he puts a bottle of lotion directly under my nose and as he says, ‘you like’ he squeezes it so hard that lotion goes all over my face and up my nose!” he’s shaking from the laughter. I’m beside myself in anger. He lifts his hand as to say wait….wait ….wait!

“So he drops my head in the cradle, literally with a thud! Grabs a towel and shoves it up into my face. ‘Don’t worry, yes that is fine’ so he starts to work on my back and then the best part…..I can feel his sweat dripping onto my back! But it doesn’t matter because he’s rubbing me so hard that the entire table is rocking side to side again. Eventually, the massage ends. It’s not great. He walks me out and I tipped him 30%!!”

“What?!?!? What the fuck?!?! Why would you do that?” I scream. Furious that this Yuri idiot made us late and because I hate bad service and because he wasted so much money on this terrible experience! “You should get the whole thing for free and they should fire that guy!” I continue.

“Look, honey,” he says in his most loving and soothing voice, “ I’m so sorry that I was late and I just had to write it down! In life, sometimes the worst experiences make the most incredible stories!”

We arrived at the restaurant that exact moment, fashionably late for a fabulous brunch with my Aunt.


You’re musical Cue for the post, Riptide by Vance Joy.


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