The previous occupant of my hotel room inadvertently challenged me with a moral dilemma upon my Tuesday check-in.
He’d left behind a pair of old athletic socks in the dresser. Housekeeping either missed them or sensed the new Mr. Room 7256 was going to need some socks.
So before I can even begin unpacking, I have to pause and decide if I’m going to keep them, toss them, or go to the trouble of trying to return them to the original owner.
Dingy white and a bit worn, they weren’t fancy socks. But I could tell at one time they were special. Someone — perhaps a nimble wife — had taken the time to seamlessly weave the owner’s name in both soles up near the toes.
Guy’s name was Hanes.
When I got home and told my family the story of Hanes’ socks, my oldest daughter sarcastically pointed out Hanes was the name of a popular sock and underwear manufacturer.
I said that could be a coincidence.
Of course, I kept them.
Stole a towel, too!
I’m kidding about the towel.
It wouldn’t have matched the ones I stole from Marriott.
I wish Hanes had left me his swim trunks.
I was overnighting at the Kalahari Resorts & Conventions in the Poconos, home to one of the world’s largest indoor waterparks. The place, opened July 1, is fabulous.
I was there to speak to the Middle Pennsylvania Meeting Professionals International.
I didn’t take my swim trunks because I have this quaint notion I shouldn’t have family kinds of fun without my family.
Plus, I didn’t think it would look too good for a man who’s about to speak to about 60 meeting professionals to be seen shirtless in a line with a dozen 10 year olds all waiting to go, “Wheee!!!”
And what if one of the kids tried to cut in line?
I’d have to do the socially responsible thing and shove his head underwater until he either passed out or learned some proper manners.
It takes a village.
It is my custom whenever I’m on the road to just stay in the room, order a pizza, strip down to my boxers and watch whatever the hell I want for as long as I want.
And that’s just what I did.
For a guy who’s been a married father as long as I’ve been, that beats even springing for a hooker.
But I felt a bit chagrined I didn’t take a dip.
Especially later after I talked to a guy who said it was a blast.
“I spent the whole afternoon out there,” he said. “It’s fantastic. They have these huge slides that go clear outside the building and back. I did the surfing thing, the big swirlie, and the rapid raft slides. It was so much fun. Haven’t you gone yet?”
I told him about my self-imposed prohibition about not having any fun that might make my kids envious.
“And by doing that, just what kind of lesson are you hoping to teach them?”
I mumbled an answer about the importance of shared enjoyment in the family dynamic.
“C’mon,” he said. “You must sacrifice long nights in the office for their sake. Man, you earn this.”
Telling him my idea of sacrifice was not starting my daily Happy Hour until 4:30 p.m. wouldn’t have strengthened my argument, so I asked if he was going to tell his kids about his time at the water park.
“Tell ‘em? I spent the afternoon texting taunting selfies.”
He went on, but I’d had enough. I wasn’t going to stand around and let some yahoo ridicule me for my innate decency.
Had I stayed around any longer, it might have gotten awkward.
I might have told him to shove a sock in it and wait right there while I ran up to my room and got the ones Hanes left behind.
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