It was my very first appointment with a chiropractor ever. After greeting me at reception, and leading me to a massage table in back, Barry asked about my injuries and started off with a general assessment. As I lay on my back, he turned me this way and that, knocked on my bones and somehow loosened my spine out of its torqued state.
Then he checked my legs, and deemed that the difference in their lengths was not permanent, but rather a temporary situation which would be corrected over time. I was compensating, he explained, by leaning heavily on the crutches to alleviate the pain in my left leg.
Then out came the tools – with a distinctly nefarious, machine-shop (or torture chamber) quality to them. He kept knocking and poking, twisting and turning. All the while, I kept glancing over my shoulder half-expecting to find an anvil nestled among the tables and chairs. And as if that wasn’t enough…
I started to notice that Barry used words like traction, manipulation and adjustment. This was standard terminology in the chiropractic industry, but hard-core metallica music to my ears. The jargon wasn’t only foreign, it must have triggered a serious dollop of anxiety inside my mind – although I didn’t fully realize it at the time. Upon leaving Barry’s office, I recall that images of medieval gallows and solitary confinement cells weighed heavily on me.
And then, the piece de resistance; the dream I had that very night. I was entering Barry’s office for yet another treatment. He took one look at me and gasped, exclaiming: “What happened to you? You look completely out of balance. It’s time to get you on the Brancusi machine!” At which point, he hoisted me up on his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, carted me off to the back of the office, and promptly unloaded me onto the machine.
You might be wondering, what is a Brancusi machine? I have absolutely no idea. And, to the best of my knowledge, none exists. The best explanation I have is this: Constantin Brancusi, a renowned Romanian sculptor (I am a fan of his work) once erected a sculpture entitled Endless Column. At the time of my Barry-visits, I happened to be staying in a friend’s home where, right outside my bedroom, there were two pewter coffee tables that were almost exact replicas of the Endless Column – but in miniature.
The Endless Column Traction Machine. A newfangled therapeutic device. Why not; it kind of has a nice ring to it…