November 8, 2010

Four In-Laws, Two Parents and One Wedding

We have minutes, centimeters, inches and cups and all kinds of ways of measuring things, but we massage therapists don’t have a great way to measure tension.

How tense is someone during final exams? What about IRS audits? Or a divorce?

It seems that if we can measure everything in life we should have some sort of gold standard for tension, especially in these days when the relative value scale of stress as expressed in soft tissue has reached new heights.

I hereby propose the FILTPOW, a measurement of muscular tension that I dedicate to a lovely client who actually has four in-laws, two parents and has just survived organizing a big wedding.

The FILTPOW measures the exact angle of stoop between T3 and C6, multiplied by the number of shallow breaths per hour and divided by the number of minutes it takes to get all the old folks to go potty and into the van and off to the church on time.

It can be lowered on the wedding day by a medicinal glass of wine at 7 a.m. or a primal scream in the safety of the ladies room, but is heightened by the arrival of the groom in a wheelbarrow.

Thus a 10-hour day reading budget lines on a computer screen would be the equivalent of .23 FILTPOWs while a trip to jail to bail out a spouse should be about 1.5 FILTPOWs. Having to post the house to make bail would raise the bar to 2.2 FILTPOWs.

Using the FILTPOW scale would help us in documenting our massages, and we can, like the folks at the earthquake tracking center, use a scale that out-Richter’s Richter.

True, some measurements such as the mile are quaint reminders of when we walked a lot and felt every step. In the modern world, a mile is a minute on the freeway, but a FILTPOW is a true measure of how much a vertebrate organism can take at family gatherings.
Well, I hope FILTPOWs catch on.

I’d like FILTPOWs to go the way of Smoots, a measurement of how many times it takes a group of friends to roll a drunken MIT freshman named Dick Smoot to get across the Mass Ave. Bridge. If memory serves, the distance was about 1538 Smoots. Thus history is made.

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