Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Imagine my surprise when I went to visit my dad one year and found that the bed in the guest room was equipped with Magic Fingers. If you don’t know what Magic Fingers is, you must be under fifty. Back in the dark ages, you see, travel was arduous and uncomfortable. We spent entire days on primitive roads in horseless carriages, poking along at a rate of seventy miles to the hour. We’d be weary when we finally stopped for the night at an inn, or motor court, as we called them, which, if we were lucky had the newfangled lifesaver, “air conditioning,” as well as a television with up to three channels. The modern world was truly remarkable. But if we were supremely lucky, the beds at the lodging would be Magic Fingers beds. For a mere quarter (upwards of 88 cents in today’s money!), the Magic Fingers unit would cause your bed to vibrate in a most stimulating and relaxing way. If a child, you would giggle and squirm until you couldn’t stand it, then you’d leap off the bed and run around the room like a top until the buzz subsided. You’d leap back on and wrestle your little brother there, the two of you in a state of uncontrollable delight. Meanwhile, your parents would lie on the other bed with their eyes closed and their hands folded on their stomachs while the Magic Fingers melted their stress away, its musical hum akin to the chants of Tibetan monks. The bed was transporting them, most likely back to their own bed at home. But as I grew older I began to piece together that Magic Fingers was not all it appeared to be. There was a vaguely sexual implication to it. (Then again, there was a vaguely sexual implication to everything in those years.) And that’s why it was quite the surprise to find Magic Fingers in my father’s guest room. I tried to keep my imagination in check, because the last thing I needed was an image in my mind of Dad and his wife wrestling on that bed, then leaping off and running around the room like tops. It was a little embarrassing when, after already having said goodnight, I had to slink back to the living room where the two of them were still watching TV and ask if they had a couple of spare quarters.