When pain becomes pleasurable

Jim demonstrates a face punch with Chet. Photo courtesy of Jim Dougherty

Studies suggest that the brain chemical dopamine, the chemical interface between events and our emotional response, cannot distinguish well between a negative or positive stimulus. In other words, it is non-discriminatory when it comes to the pain / pleasure dichotomy. This makes perfect sense since it is our own subjectivity that determines whether a sentient experience is, individually, pleasurable or not. And I can certainly nod my head in agreement, as for some odd reason I keep returning to a series of events that some may consider to be ”painful” or unpleasant.

Well, first let’s get the attribution right, it was all Jim’s fault, as he introduced us to the place a few weeks ago, and now it appears that I’m hooked in a pleasurable way, despite the bumps, thumps, and banging I take in these initial stages of this new love affair. And since my introduction a few weeks ago, I keep returning to Asylum Stunts in Chigaco.

It all started several weeks ago, when Jim Dougherty (IAA) took us (a handful of his students) to Chicago for an introductory session to stunt-training. As you may have guessed, yes, we (well, I may be speaking for myself here) took a whipping from training with the experts – Laurie, Gaby, Gabriel and Jim – I may be exaggerating here, but when I woke up the next day, it sure felt like someone kicked my patootie, solid!

Anyway, after a well-worth-the-2-hour lesson, taught by Jim (from Asylum Stunts) with his talented assistant, Laurie, a famished pack of stunt-neophytes headed over to nyam some chow at Opart Thai House, then angled down the I-65 corridor for the 3-hour and some change drive home, with Jim Dougherty at the wheel. I cannot give a full account of the drive home, as I spent much of it napping in the back seat – a purposefully sequestered spot.

Needless to say, life the next day was not entirely rosy, as I felt pain in muscle groups that were never even formally introduced to me, and I awoke wondering if I had somnolently wandered into the busy street and had been run over by a semi. I dragged through the day, noodle-like, and later decided that a massage may be what the doctor would order. So, I rang my handy Indy-savvy friend, Sarah, who pointed me in the direction of Foot Finesse in Carmel.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, you’re saying ”Gee, I envy her!” Well, don’t….not until you know the full story….. I took another whipping! On a parenthetical note, did you know that the terms massochist and massagist not only sound the same, but have eerily similar definitions? I’m just saying……because I was prodded, probed, slapped around, and generally man-handled by a man whose name I don’t even know. All that I do know is that he is from China, smiles at everything I say, and gave me a beating that…..yea, left me wanting more; sounds like a massochist, doesn’t it? So I’m a massochist, he’s a massagist, and then there was the modest transaction fee of $30.00….and I waas by this time hungry and drained.

Limping out of the salon, like a diabetic bee on the glucose path to the first sign of an early spring blossom, I spotted Earth Fare supermarket just a stone’s throw away. Now where else can one buy the most delightful, freshly baked, health-abiding muffins (even with my myopia I have an eye for these things)? Well, yes, one can bake them, but why do that when the lovely and amiable Alice in the bakery would give you a bright smile and friendly chat-chat, while  happily switching around some muffins so you can have a customised pack (well, don’t advertise that bit of info., as I don’t want to get her in trouble)?

With my stash of dessert secured then, I moseyed (well, I drove, mosey-like) down the road to Broadripple, to pick up my favourite dish from India Garden. This consisted of some palak paneer, with aloo paratha. Sounds fancy, but it is just spinach with goat cheese, and bread stuffed with potatoes…..but insanely yummy! I then crawled home to nurse my wounds and drown my pains in the pleasure of this gustatory delight.

Well, then three weeks later, after being properly recovered, what did I do?…..yea, you guessed it! I pulled a RiRi and went running back – to begin this viscious cycle all over again. Last Tuesday, I promptly returned to Asylum Stunts (took a friend this time, yes, misery likes company), but I took my beating like a wo-man, threw a few punches myself, then called it a night at 10:30pm (well Brian, the instructor did), and we made our weary way down the I-65 corso, with Jordan at the helm.

I later  scheduled my appointment with my favourite guy – the man from China – and arranged the usual dinner plans at the pit stop in Broadripple – with the man from India – so that I can replenish my strength, and rejuvenate with the ayurvedic properties of the Indian cuisine. So most assuredly, no lobotomy involved here, but it is like Janet Jackson says in ”The Pleasure Principle,” you must think I’m crazy, but I’m serious, and all I can say is: I may run the risk of becoming an addict here, but it is a good high!

And speaking of high, in the photo, Derek Kunzman takes to flight for his dive roll above Katy O’Brian; and we all stand in line awaiting our turn…..I’m right behind Laurie….yikes! I’m not there yet, but I know I can clear her lying down.



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