Clear my schedule. Hold all my calls. Hold all these giant palm fronds too–I have to go to the bathroom and don’t want to get my fronds dirty. Plus, they make you look ridiculous all stacked up in your arms like that, which amuses me. The point is, I have just discovered The Best Thing Ever, and I don’t think I’ll be getting much of anything done for the foreseeable future. No, I’m not talking about drawing mustaches on expensive oil paintings. That’s called Art Crime and it’s a felony. What do you think happened to all those cartoon characters who drew mustaches on expensive oil paintings? They went to federal prison. No, The Best Thing Ever is, in my arrogant opinion, reading reviews of horrible hotels on TripAdvisor. If you haven’t experienced The Best Thing Ever first-hand, allow me to give you a dramatic writing: AVOID THIS HOTEL LIKE THE PLAGUE. Because it is infected with the plague, and if you stay here you will get the plague and no longer be able to use the phrase, “Avoid this ____ like the plague” without a depressing sense of irony. We checked into this glorified rat salon at 1 am, and immediately contracted the plague. After switching rooms three times, because they all contained wild animals with a variety of highly evolved defenses, we were led into an alleyway, and robbed. Granted, we probably should have notified the police at that point, but we were hungry and wanted room service. The manager, whom I believe was also a wild animal, informed us that room service did not service alleyways and besides did not exist. Starving, and a teensy bit tired from the plague, we decided to cut our losses and check into the Hilton across the street. Two-and-a-half stars.
I’m no Donald Trump. In fact, I have the business mind of a ten-year-old. I guess you could say I financially peaked at an early age when I discovered that I could use my allowance to buy Star Wars cards and blue raspberry slush. Of course, that was back when I actually handled money. Nowadays I just wave a magic plastic rectangle at the Ewok-looking convenience store cashier, like some Jedi Mind Trick, and I can get unlimited slush. Of course, I don’t, because I get a brain freeze after two or three sips, but that’s about the extent of my economics acumen. So you can probably understand why I’m confused by the voucher for a free three night stay at a resort hotel, plus eighty dollars cash, Wife and I are being offered by some guy named Chip outside a pizza restaurant in North Conway, New Hampshire. Maybe it’s the hour-long “tour” of the resort that we have to attend the next morning to redeem our voucher that’s confusing me. Maybe it’s the way Chip keeps telling me that I have a babyface. Maybe it’s the fact that hotels don’t make money by giving rooms away and plus too also giving money away. I DON’T KNOW. Whatever it is, my 10-year-old, slush-stained self is telling me to use the force and tell this guy, “These Aren’t the Suckers You’re Looking For.”
Here’s a tip. No, really, I’m tipping you, as in “here’s four crumpled dollars for your trouble.” Granted, I don’t know why I’m tipping you, but I’ve become so used to the bizarre custom that now if anyone so much as looks at me I shove cash into their hand. I guess it all started when Wife and I stayed in a fancy hotel during a pit stop on our cross country road trip. Sure, the hotel was nice, but dealing with the constant stress of knowing who, when, and what to tip was almost too much to bear (this is not a turn of phrase – we are traveling with a pet bear and, like me, he was very confused by all the tipping). Based on my most recent experience dealing with hotel staff, here are the kinds of services expected to fetch a cash tip: opening doors, wearing a fez, ringing tiny bells, lifting lids, smiling, maintaining eye contact, pressing buttons, and cleaning rooms destroyed by cranky pet bears. Indeed, the art of tipping is so subtle and nuanced that I stopped keeping track and just started handing money to people in the hallway. I’m pretty sure I tipped a baby. I may have even tucked a dollar bill into the soil of a potted plant in the lobby. One thing’s for certain: this insanity must come to an end! Can’t we stop tipping people in the service industry altogether and instead pay them larger salaries? That would be a good idea, right? Oh, you’re agreeing with me. Here’s another tip.