My family is pretty normal. But if anyone heard a very common phrase, “Wanna go to Crystal?” they’d be pretty fucking confused.

Crystal Foot is an Asian foot-massage place. The term “reflexology” is loosely used in regards to the place but it’s pretty damn different than a spa. The first shop, in Quincy, was the shadiest and where I began in 2006 or so. You’d enter this place and see a desk, 2-3 Asians, and about 6 fuzzy pink recliners. If you didn’t know any better (and even if you did), you’d be pretty sure you’d end up on the news if you entered. But they promised a 1-hour foot massage for 30 dollars and in body-touching circles, that’s a freakin’ bargain.

Word quickly spread around our family of the shady, hidden gem. We probably kept that business going and even my uncle Charlie went. He wanted only 30 minutes but the employee insisted that was impossible. For some reason it was one hour or nothing. No bargaining. They had to touch your feet for a minimum, one hour’s time. You could get a fully body massage there too in the back room and one time I went out of devious curiosity. I swear to my grave I’ve never done the rub n’ tug but it was 50/50 whether my reputation would be in jeopardy when I asked for the full-body. I came away relatively unscathed morally, but let me just say that they do not specialize in the full-body. It hurt and I’m pretty sure I cried a few times.

Anyways, my family–my mother in particular–goes A LOT. They are incredibly rude, often taking phone calls as they somehow continue to touch your feet. Despite being in business for at least 8 years, nobody really knows English. This makes scheduling an appointment difficult. I’m not the “if you can’t speak English I want to kill you type” but it’s just not great business when you can’t employ at least one person to deal with the help desk.

So I went to Crystal a few days ago. It was a top 3 foot rub for sure. I’m not sure of his name but this guy really knows his way around my ugly feet. And if that sounds gay, great. Because I don’t really give a shit because I’m pretty sure around minute 15 of the thing I slip into the 4th dimension. It’s that hidden room between sleep and ecstasy. I was in it and it was glorious.

Every now and then I’ll take a look down at my feet and see the guy doing his thing. It’s kind of strange. I mean the whole touching-feet-for-money seems a little demeaning in general, so I try to close my eyes and pretend it’s not foot prostitution. He usually just has this grin on his face. I wonder sometimes if he wants to kill me. Maybe he likes feet, I don’t know for sure. He’s never tried anything sneaky with me so his would-be fetish is OK with me.

They recently started charging 10 more dollars. This is because they now have this machine that supposedly “detoxes” your feet. I have no idea how it works but when your feet are in the water, suddenly it turns this murky brown so it’s either working really well or I just didn’t shower for a few weeks. I do shower every day but writing this now, I don’t think I’ve rubbed below my knees with soap since middle school. It’s just a lot of effort with little payoff.

So my family is really into “Crystal.” I get gift cards there from my mother on Christmas. It’s the weirdest stocking stuffer you could imagine. But it’s great. I have a punch card there. That’s how crazy I am. They’ve done away with the pink fuzzy chairs so that’s good. But I really want to approach them with some new ideas. Like, how they shouldn’t keep playing the same 2 elevator songs. I could hum them to you right now. Let me bring in my iPod and we can put some Enya on and really get this place rockin’. How about we stop taking phone calls while your face is parallel to my feet?

Seriously, though. Besides a hot tub, which technically I don’t consider an “on land” experience, this is the best 40 bucks you’re gonna spend. I’d say tell them Scott sent you but I’m pretty sure that they don’t know me even though I’ve been 50 times. It’s part of the gig. I really want them to acknowledge me one of these times. It would be nice.