Through the years of cooking and lifting enough cast iron to sink a cruise liner my shoulders have been abused. And that’s not including the 680 miles of fence I’ve built. It’s called C.I.A, and it’s not what you’re thinking. Cast Iron Abuse. And it rears its ugly head after catering events and driving marathons.

Going to the doctor has never been one of my strong suits. First of all they interrupt my daily routine and they charge an arm and a leg… not to mention a shoulder. So knowing my aversion to “doctors” my wife got me an appointment with a masseuse while we were visiting her hometown in Elko, Nevada. But the title masseuse was even more intimidating than doctor.

After visiting Julie and her magic hands, I was a believer! Sign me up, strip me down and put me in a fuzzy white robe and slippers!

Julie practices cranio-sacral therapy and whatever she was doing, it put my shoulders at ease. Unfortunately, we don’t make it to Elko that often and in my line of work there is always abuse on the body. So Shannon, being the loving wife that she is, is always looking for these massage people wherever we might be going.

Shannon set up an appointment with a lady that was also supposed to be trained in cranio-sacral therapy in Oklahoma. When she opened the door she looked like a flashback to Woodstock and her home smelled like an herb (I think you know the one I’m talking about).

She led me into the massage room which was filled with an assortment of Tupperware bowls filled with ripped up pieces of colored construction paper. “Be careful not to disrupt the bowls,” she warned, “it will ruin the aura.” Oh this is going to be great.

I laid on my stomach and she began chanting and dancing around my body. I was hoping she was doing a rain dance, because if it wasn’t going to at least rain, this appointment was going to be a complete wash! Luckily it was only a half hour appointment because I sure couldn’t have lasted another second!

A chiropractor was the next stop. Now I’ve been to some that have cracked me more than a Planter’s factory and still no shoulder relief. Cracks, crunching and even prolotherapy (oxygen injections) didn’t work. So we turned to the Google.

Up popped a feller in Amarillo that practiced acupuncture. Hold your horses! I’ve been bucked into enough cacti patches to know that needles in my backside sure aren’t going to help the pain. But due to nagging pain and Shannon’s persistence I gave it a go.


It’s a little scary to let some feller you just met stick a bunch of needles in you and then hook them up to electricity. I was jerking like a catfish on a trout line. It did help, and I went back a couple more times. But I’m just not that found of electricity. I guess it stems back to when Randy, my older brother, got me to pee on an electric fence.

So through all the fruit loops and failed attempts we found another masseuse that was just 30 miles from the house. What the heck – let’s add another one to the list.

After the first visit, I could sure tell the difference. And on the second visit it happened… fire cupping.

“How do you feel about fire cupping, Kent?” she asked. Up to this point I’d been cracked, poked, pulled, pinched, bruised and scared but I had never been fire cupped. And this was going so well…

Like a bran-soured horse I balked but she said, “You’ll be fine, it will help increase blood flow to the muscles in your shoulders.” It was the fire part that bothered me, but she assured me that I wouldn’t get burned. She swabed a glass cup with alcohol, lit it and quickly stuck it to my skin. This creates a suction to draw blood to the surface to promote healing.

I had hickies. And not just any hickies- hickies that were on steroids. It looked like I had been hooked up to the Hoover for about an hour.

fire cupping

Fire cupping

Fire cupping

Just don’t let anyone see you with your shirt off, they will think you’re into some weird stuff! But once again -I am a believer. I go to Cassie every chance I get.

Sometimes you have to step outside the box, get out of your comfort zone and take a chance. But be careful and look in that box if you get a chance before the lid flies open. It just might be full of Tupperware bowls, needles or even a voodoo doll- and if the doll looks like you… run.


13 thoughts on “CIA

  1. yer in pretty good shape Kent,,,,those are tiny cups on your shoulder,,,,,fella’s that really enjoy eatin’ like me and are somewhat larger would have to have several Ball fruit jars stuck to ’em ,,,mmmm makes me want to go pick some apricots and get to canning…….

  2. Thanks for the laughs Kent. Imagining you with the “Dancing Tupperware lady” was the best. Sorry I missed meeting you at the Oklahoma Storytelling Festival. The upside is that I requested getting your blogs with great stories and recipes. :)

  3. Kent;

    Well Sir, you’ve got one up on me. I’ve never been “fire cupped”. ROTFL! In all sincerity, I feel for you my friend. I’ve walked down the path of pain, and when you hurt, your willing to try almost anything.

    Your a Blessed man to have a caring wife in Shannon. Some out there could give a hoot. I too am Blessed with my Sandra. Hey, we’ve a daughter named Shannon also. Good people they are, those named Shannon.

    As always, I’ve enjoyed this read Kent, please never change your style. Your somewhat of a modern day Will Rogers. I believe you come by it naturally, and I like it.

    The best to you and yours Sir.

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