The year was most likely 1968. I was working as a traveling salesman in the Bible Belt, selling vacuums and encyclopedia sets to unsuspecting Southerners. Sales weren’t great; I am not going to lie to you about that. This was, of course, before I made my millions via rigorous investment in a chain of candy shops. I was in what you would consider Oklahoma (just outside the buckle of Oklahoma City) and dead tired of staring at yellow lines running down the center of the road. To my good fortune, I spotted one of those small, mom-and-pop motels just off I-270, which is now Highway 40. (If you’re looking for it today, I believe it’s an Econo Lodge.)
I checked in at the desk and was handed a key to room 29 by a lazy, four-eyed clerk who seemed quite plussed that I had awakened him. I trudged up the creaky steps and fumbled with the room key. See, traveling like this was difficult because I had to bring the carpet and encyclopedia samples into the room with me, along with my ancient portmanteau-style suitcase that my wife had lovingly packed for me. I finally jiggled the door open, hurled my belongings and samples into the room, and used my foot as a doorstop. Taking a look at my surroundings, it was, as you might expect, dreary. This was my life. A mauve room dimly lit by a single 40w bulb. The wallpaper sagged and frayed in spots, and the carpet had stains from condiments long since retired from the American palate.
I’m not going to lie to you fine people: This wasn’t the “come to Jesus” moment that these bible-thumping evangelicals had hoped. What it was, however, was the filthy tale of a man plumb worn out by a lifestyle given to him in haste rather than carefully chosen based on his character and attributes. I reached into my right pocket, feeling the ridges of a few quarters. I was in luck! I took two coins out, placed them into the hungry slot, and heard the pleasing sound of change falling into a hollow metal receptacle.
What happened next is something that almost slipped my mind. The bed began to jostle, and my mind slipped slowly to the thought that I should probably call my wife and tell her I was bedding down for the evening. I didn’t. The beer I placed in my lap began taking effect, and the bed slowly rocked me to sleep. I do not recall having any vivid or exceptional dreams, but I can report that I slept well that night and remember waking up feeling somewhat refreshed. I popped two aspirin tablets into my mouth and washed them down with the now warm, flat beer resting in between my legs. While mostly unremarkable and rote for my travels then, I will never forget what the coin slot read: Magick Touch—their slogan unmistakably embossed onto the rigid metal that fastened the child-like vault, worth more than the change it held, to the bed. Heads Have Got to Rock’n’Roll.
So, mon frere, if you are in the mood for some traditional rock and roll, leaning on the hard and heavy, you might also be in the mood for the Magick Touch. While I can’t recommend the bed, as I do not believe they are in service any longer, the band will certainly vibrate your soul vigorously. If you’re fortunate enough to own an automobile you might consider listening to Heads Have Got to Rock’n’Roll while driving that automobile through your downtown area, rolling through country hills, or perhaps that very highway I-270 that I mentioned before. Follow it up with some Bang or Thin Lizzy or Budgie or Sir Lord Baltimore. That part is up to you. It’s been suggested that I do not care about the people. Please let it be known that I care very much about the people.
And there you have it. That’s the best approximation of my encounter with Magick Touch. The company never did break free of the vibrating bed industry, and it’s likely that the new owners of the Econo Lodge replaced the antique bed with some newer inventions full of flea powder and toxic gels. (They were probably youngsters that didn’t value their parents hard work in building the place and wanted a quick buck before spending it on a foolish trip to Central American beaches.) But despite its plainness and truly unremarkable standing in an otherwise unremarkable time in my life, Magick Touch, the name and feeling, has stayed with me even here into my old age. And now, friend, I must retire for the evening. The ice has diluted this scotch beyond repair and I hear old Madeline calling for me upstairs. Until next time. Be well, amigo.