I’m not what you would call a smart man. (Just ask the wife.)
However, after two decades (almost) as a bellman I can honestly say I know my way around the hospitality trenches with the best of them. And now you can share in the benefits of my wisdom for the low, low price of… nothing.
That’s a helluva deal no matter how you slice it, kids. Without further adieu, here are a few of the things I’ve learned in my nineteen years as The Hook, bellman extraordinaire, world-class tweeter, sometimes blogger, failed author and all-around indefinable mammal.
Here we go, kids…
ONE) Failure is nothing to be afraid of. Own it. Embrace it. Use it to expand your stockpile of self-deprecating humorous anecdotes.
TWO) The following items are not viable substitutes for a luggage cart:
- Grandma’s wheelchair.
- Grandma’s walker.
- A baby stroller.
- Timmy’s little red wagon.
- Shopping carts from the liquor store.
- Maid’s carts swiped from service areas.
- Those cheap, crappy two-wheeled dollies people use at the airport or in court.
- Beer coolers.
- A barbecue. (Seriously. This dude opened the lid, and loaded his crap in there with the intention of using the BBQ on the balcony. Until I told him there were no balconies. He was bummed. And not just because he was stupid.)
THREE) Hookers may sell their bodies for profit but they’re as human as the rest of us. In some cases, more-so.
FOUR) “Weekend Girlfriends” are more common than ever. (For the confused: WGs are hookers on extended duty.) This is further proof that we’re losing our ability to communicate and forge real relationships with each other.
And yes, I’m judging – but only for entertainment value…
FIVE) Fire hot! (My daughter taught me that one, with some help from Disney, of course. Love that kid.)
SIX) Bringing a dead cat with you on vacation is not a sign of devotion to a furry companion… it is a sign you may require psychiatric help. Especially if you place said kitty in a cooler. Which then falls off my cart and slides across the smooth, polished marble lobby floor because corpsical kitty has become smooth as glass.
Ironically, this is not cool at all.
SEVEN) Women are not to be treated as less than human – on vacation or at any other time. (A guest once bit his girlfriend’s nose in the lobby. No, not in a loving way, but rather a violent, psychotic way.)
EIGHT) “You gotta have fun in this life while you can, Robert. Trust me on this.” Those words of wisdom were spoken by Mr. O.J. Simpson as we entered his room upon his second visit to the hotel. His knees were killing him (though I imagine they hurt more in prison) but he was congenial, unbelievably-friendly and a great tipper. Who knew?
I prefer to remember The Juice this way.
NINE) Never underestimate the value of dark humor. This lesson was imparted to me by a grandfather named Howard. (“Call me, Howie, son!”) Howard accompanied me as we made our way to his family’s rooms; they were a giant brood, consisting of no less than twenty-five members, several of which were kids who were no doubt raised on the same island as the little monsters in Lord of the Flies.
These kids were out… of… control. They were literally bouncing off the lobby walls and making spectacles of the entire family – and it did not go unnoticed by Howie.
“Kids… kids… KIDS! Come here… grandpa wants to talk to you.” he beckoned as we arrived at the elevators. Inexplicably, the little devils listened. “All right, kids… if you promise to be good, grandpa will buy you all new phones for Christmas!”
The kids shut up immediately. The parents were amazed. I wasn’t fooled. I waited until Howie and I were alone on an elevator to get the skinny.
ME: Do you really intend to buy all your grandkids new phones at Christmas, Howie?
HOWIE: Fuck no! The joke’s on them… I’m dying! I’ll be long gone before the little bastards can come sniffing around the nursing home looking for gifts!
Howie may have been rough around the edges but you had to admire the Chutzpah, right?
TEN) If you desire privacy during an intimate, vigorous physical encounter, book a corner hotel suite. Otherwise, get comfortable with the distinct possibility of strangers/hotel staff overhearing your cries of passion. However, on the off-chance being overheard is your cup of erotic tea… as you were.
ELEVEN) It is easier to destroy rather than to create. It is far easier to judge and disparage than approach with an open mind and heart. But the hard way is worth the effort.
TWELVE) As a traveler you should be able to unpack your vehicle in sixty seconds. Yes, it sounds crazy on the face of it, but vacation time is precious and if you’re truly organized, a minute is more than doable.
THIRTEEN) The following items are not viable substitutes for an actual suitcase. (Something everyone who plans on taking more than one vacation in their lifetime should purchase. Yes, they’re pricey, but if you search online you can score a deal or two.)
- A gym bag with ripped straps.
- Laundry baskets.
- Plastic bags.
- Fruit baskets. (You know I’m not making this up, right?)
- Cloth shopping bags. (Even from high-class shops.)
- The aforementioned beer cooler.
FOURTEEN) Seniors may be slow-moving and sometimes a bit smelly, but they’re phenomenal guests. Just check out this exchange:
ME: (Addressing a grey-haired gentleman in his room upon check-in.) Would you like me to put your suitcases on luggage racks, sir?
GREY-HAIRED GENTLEMAN: Put ’em anywhere, son! You think I have time to waste? I’m too old to dilly-dally, man… Death is coming!
ME: (Completely straight-faced.) Well, remember to greet him like an old friend rather than an enemy, sir.
GHG: A friend? Screw that! I plan on telling him to fuck off and leave me alone!
ME: Good luck with that, sir.
See what I mean? Old folks, rock.
FIFTEEN) Planning a trip is a lot like making love: The more effort you put in… the bigger the orgasm.
SIXTEEN) Guidebooks and websites are great, but when traveling, never underestimate the value of a local recommendation. Residents know where to eat and visit and most importantly, they know which spots to avoid like the plague – so you won’t wind up with the plague. Or sonic diarrhea.
That’s a thing , right?
I’d be a fool to try to top a travel tip involving diarrhea, right? We’ll return to this topic again soon. Until then, let my unique wisdom settle in and
rot enhance your brain box.
See you in the lobby, kids…