'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
‘HAPPINESS’ IS IN THE EYES OF THE BAGEL-HOLDER
They say Disney World is the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Of course, the word “they” usually refers to the marketing department of the Walt Disney Intergalactic Empire, and we know we can trust the pronouncements of marketing departments about as much as we can trust the pronouncements of politicians. Especially in recent years, when politicians have transformed their once grassroots campaign committees into full-time marketing departments, staffed with soulless and slick Madison Avenue types.
Whether or not the Mouse Kingdom of Central Florida truly is the pinnacle of happiness on this planet is a question best left to those who visit there on vacation, rather than those who devise advertising slogans from corporate office towers a thousand miles away.
For me, the question is a no-brainer: the “Happiest Place on Earth” is a Holiday Inn Express. No, I’m not a member of the marketing department of the Holiday Inn Intergalactic Empire, which would mean you could not trust a word I am writing. (As opposed to when I opine on other topics, when you can confidently trust almost half the words I write.) This particular humble opinion is offered as someone who is simply a satisfied customer.
In recent months I had to travel out of state twice. On both occasions I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express. Each of these hotels had the greatest invention since sliced bagels: a free breakfast buffet, which included, coincidentally, sliced bagels. The buffets also included coffee, eggs, sausage, fruit, coffee, muffins, toast, cereal, coffee, bacon, pastries, juice—and if I haven’t mentioned it yet—coffee. (Hey, when I’m traveling and my sleep schedule is disrupted, I need coffee, lots and lots of coffee.)
The breakfast buffet also has enough Styrofoam plates, bowls, and cups, along with plastic utensils, to make an environmentalist collapse on the floor in tears. My favorite kind of bone china and silverware are those which are devoid of any bone or silver and instead chock full of polystyrene. Clean-up is a snap when you’re finished eating. Just gather up everything on your little table—plate, napkin, bowl, knife, fork, spoon, banana peel, empty Fruit Loops box, those little grape jelly packets, and the free USA Today newspaper you didn’t bother reading—and shove it all into the large trash can where it will take only about 4 billion years to decompose.
OK, I just made myself feel guilty when I wrote that last paragraph and contemplated for the first time what happens to all that trash. But not guilty enough to stop going to breakfast buffets.
The hotels have additional items that come in handy when traveling: beds, toilets, showers, clean towels, free wireless Internet, cable TV, and exercise rooms. Although the next time I work out in a hotel exercise room will be the first time. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not a big fan of sitting on top of other people’s sweat. The hotels also have those delightful air conditioning units that cycle on and off every ten minutes and keep you up half the night. Hmm, maybe that’s part of the reason I needed so much coffee in the morning.
Usually I’m livid if someone or something wakes me up in the middle of the night. But when the AC unit woke me up in the hotel, I just smiled and thought to myself, “Oh yeah, only four more hours until the breakfast buffet opens.”
The “Happiest Place on Earth” is really a state of mind. It doesn’t require an expensive trip to Orlando. A sliced bagel (plus a dozen other tasty items) will do.
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