Dear Dayton Marriott Management,
Thank you for your recent communication of 4/23/12 (forwarded to me by your corporate legal department and hereinafter known as “the steaming pantload”) regarding my recent stay at your hotel while attending the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.
I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the various allegations therein, all most some of which are completely without merit and may adversely affect your hotel’s score on the guest survey card which I have yet to complete and mail in.
First, it is outrageous and preposterous to assume that my suitcase was responsible for the malfunction and ultimate failure of elevator #3. I believe the security tapes will show that the fault lies not with my sleek, utilitarian baggage but with the housekeeping staff member riding in the elevator with me and struggling under the weight of 3-4 thick, fluffy and obviously highly absorbent bath towels made from an exotic strain of imported cotton known to be both unstable and, well, really heavy.
Second, it saddens me to know that the microwave cozy I crocheted for (keynote speaker and comedy legend) Alan Zweibel and stapled to his hotel room door left him feeling (as your so-called report puts it) “disturbed and anxious” rather than relaxed and heartwarmed as I intended. As for my decision to staple it to his door at 3:14 am, I believe the logic behind that strategy is self-evident. That being said, I really don’t see how this matter is any of your bossy hotel security team’s business, as Mr. Zweibel has thoughtfully begun a separate correspondence with me regarding this matter. And when I see him in at our appointed court date, I will finally have the opportunity to tell him in person how much I admire his work.
With respect to the cake, I would like to remind you that I am an attendee/presenter in good standing at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop with all rights and privileges thereof, including – but not limited to – assorted desserts, baked goods and non-dairy creamer. I have reviewed my official workshop documents and have found no language that asserts a fixed limit on the number of desserts an individual attendee may commandeer, assuming those desserts have not yet been laid claim to by another attendee. As those slices of carrot cake were unclaimed at the time I consumed them (fact: not a single person had even entered the ballroom yet when I stumbled across the pieces of cake at tables 14-17), I herewith reject your catering bill of $276.55 and demand that you reverse the charge in the aforementioned amount that you ran on my Mastercard.
Lastly, in the matter of the white school bus, it was my understanding that the bus was no longer in service as a shuttle for workshop attendees at the time I drove that out-of-state drum and bugle corps to Arby’s for a late afternoon snack. (Those kids must really have been practicing hard, because I have never seen young people with munchies like this in my life.) I believe a review of the facts will clarify that it was completely beyond my control that the bus ran out of fuel on the way back to the hotel and had to be abandoned on the shoulder of the I-75. And also, if you don’t want anyone borrowing your vehicles, you probably shouldn’t leave the keys in the lockbox under the registration desk where people can easily find them.
In summation, I have no doubt that we will be able to reach an equitable settlement in the matters above, especially in light of the fact that I have now returned the 769 facial soaps, 412 miniature bottles of body lotion, harvest gold woven blanket and pneumatic desk chair that I mistakenly interpreted to be gratis souvenirs of my stay at your hotel.
Note: please address all future correspondence directly to me, as I have terminated my dealings with my previous counsel (who, it turns out, characterizes an evening of foofy-drink-fueled line dancing followed by a late-night half-stack at the Waffle House out by the airport as a “bizarro, one-off odyssey” rather than the sublime prelude to long-term romance we both knew damn well it was up until that unfortunate incident Saturday morning).
Thank you and good luck,
So here’s the thing: the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop was amazing. (I hesitate to apply this word because it is so overused these days, but this instance calls for it.) Other words come to mind, such as inspirational, humbling, hilarious, educational, magical and poignant. I could go on and on, but I will simply say that, for me, unforgettable is the word that best captures every aspect of my four days and three icing-flecked nights among my fellow humorists and heroes in Dayton.
To the organizers of the workshop who paid me the tremendous honor of inviting me to teach two of the sessions, to the folks who spent their time listening in the audience, to the people who went out of their way to ask questions, share experiences and pay compliments, to the warm and gracious Bombeck family who welcomed me into their company at dinner, and to every attendee and speaker, I would like to say
THANK YOU. From my heart.
— Anna Lefler
Anna Lefler, author of CHICKtionary, served on the faculty of the 2012 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop.