My Dad called me tonight. He consistently forgets that my minutes aren’t free until 9pm. For years, his excuse for calling earlier in the evening was that he had to get his conversation out of the way before 24 came on. He doesn’t know what he’ll do without 24. He’s never missed an episode. He’ll tell you that. At least five times.
Tonight, we had a three-minute conversation before he said in a grave voice, “I have to tell you something.”
“What?” I asked, leaning against a doorframe to brace myself for the worst.
He always does this. Neither of my parents have a very good sense of what tone of voice to use when delivering news. Good news is told in a dark, low monotone. Bad news is communicated almost flippantly. It’s impossible to tell with these people, so I spend most of my time on the phone with them thinking that someone is probably dead.
“Do you have your computer?” he asked.
“Look something up for me. Sunny Trumpeter.”
(Note: Sunny Trumpeter is not this person’s real name. After my father told me his story, I said it was ridiculous enough to put on the Internet. He told me not to, because apparently this blog is well known enough that even this kind-of-famous-but-only-in-a-few-very-specialized-areas-of-interest-no-not-porn-you-sick-bastards celebrity would somehow find out about it and be mad at him. So just keep that in mind.)
“Okay,” I said. “The athlete?”
“The athlete, Dad. Sunny Trumpeter the athlete?”
“How’d you know that so fast?”
“Nevermind,” I said. “What am I looking for?”
He goes on to tell me that this athlete, Sunny Trumpeter, came in for a massage that day. Oh, right, in case you didn’t know: my dad is a massage therapist at a salon. This was a very weird choice of career for him a few years ago, but now it’s kind of normal to hear my dad talk about selling hair products to old queens (who he loves, btw) and what kind of chakras are in the human spine.
So he’s telling me about Sunny Trumpeter and how she won a gold medal, and then says she was getting a massage because she’d just gotten off a plane from some event in the Middle East. She was tired, so she fell asleep while on the table.
“She only paid for an hour,” he said, “but I gave her an hour and twenty minutes. I figured I’d do a little extra. You know, for the USA.”
For the USA. As if renouncing Communism and running the school picnic bingo and drinking domestic beer wasn’t enough, my dad tacked on an extra 20 minutes to the massage appointment of an American Olympian, and he did it for the USA. Also, he’s clearly a model citizen, but he wouldn’t be opposed to going to London. You know, if Sunny Trumpeter’s people thought he was the best massage therapist around and needed him for the next Olympics.
“That’d be cool,” he said. “I wouldn’t even dry my hair. You can’t use hairdryers over there, you know. Their electricity grid is messed up.”
“I think you just need an adapter, Dad. You can buy those at Radio Shack.”
He was thrilled about Sunny Trumpeter and the brief delusion that he is in some way connected to the Olympics, which, like every other man his age, he is obsessed with. Then he tells me that Sunny Trumpeter was the second celebrity he’s ever worked on.
“Who was the first?” I asked.
“Arlo Guthrie?! Alice’s Restaurant Arlo Guthrie? You used to play that record for us! I just bought it on vinyl the other day!”
“Yeah, he was playing at SIUE and I took my table over there. I didn’t even know who I was seeing, to tell you the truth. But I worked on him and he got up and said he could stand up straight now, and then he offered me a ticket for backstage.”
“You’re saying that Arlo Guthrie got a massage from you and offered you a backstage pass.”
“Yeah! I sat back there for just a little bit, but I had to get up early for work the next day.” He chuckled. “Old Arlo. He was neat.”
The lessons here are that you should always do a little extra for the USA, and Arlo Guthrie is neat.