November 5th, 2010

I remember those old commercials for the Hair Club for Men. At the end the spokesman would always say, “I’m not only the president, I’m also a member,” as they showed his very own before and after photos. Well, this month I’m saying to you, “I’m not only the newsletter writer, I’m also a guest.” Due to, well, I’d rather not say what, but due to some personal things I recently had the pleasure of spending a night at this hotel. It was so great! I had a thoughtless number of drinks, since the things I normally think of are: How much does it cost, and how will I get home? I ate whatever I wanted for breakfast and someone else did the dishes. It all felt so decadent and I was loving it.

But then I wanted to iron my shirt. At first I thought the iron was just sort of snapped into a little holder on the ironing board. That seemed really clever to me. I couldn’t figure out how to get it out, though. It took a while for me to realize that the iron was actually permanently attached to the board. What a crazy idea! And what an awkward thing it is to manipulate a scalding hot piece of metal that’s constantly trying to return home. As soon as I was finished I called our dear general manager and offered to pay for every single stolen iron, from now on, if only she would detach them.

I learned two things from that conversation. The first is that I am by no means the only one who has made that complaint. Or that same offer. Lots and lots of you are relating to this story and to my frustration.

The second thing I learned is that they are not attached to prevent theft. Of all the things that are not attached in these rooms, those little irons are pretty far down on the value scale and no one was ever stealing them. What people were doing, when iron and board were not mated for life, was being too lazy to set the board up. That’s right, and I know I’m not talking about any of you, my readers, but some people out there thought that, rather than taking 30 seconds to set up one of the lightest, simplest objects that exists in the world, it would be easier to just use the bed, say. Or maybe an armchair. Perhaps the floor. So that the rooms, pre-attachment, were littered with burn marks. But once our general manager figured out how to permanently unite the two, the burning stopped and so the final word is that we are never going back to iron and board as separate objects. A few people ruined it for everyone. I wish we at least knew who they were.

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