Some of you, against all reason, are actually annoyed when I am late with one of these daily columns.
I am flattered but perplexed. We are all so swamped! My favorite thing is Saturday’s New York Times because it is just two sections. And there is no Wall Street Journal Saturday! Yay! (There is no Wall Street Journal Sunday, either — but there is SUNDAY’s New York Times.)
Anyway, here’s my excuse. The dog did not eat my homework, but the elevators in the hotel I was staying in last night were so unbelievably slow, I just didn’t have time to get everything done.
Which is a shame, too, because I was all set to write the Secret of Wealth, which had just come to me in a flash — a rare moment of clarity perhaps divinely inspired at the hotel check-in desk — but then I got so distracted waiting for the elevator, and so bemused once I eventually got IN the elevator, the Secret snuck back off into the ethos, like a dream you know you had but can’t remember.
Oh, well. At least I remember every detail of the elevator. (I say “the” elevator, because it seemed as if only one of the eight hotel elevators was actually doing anything. Lines were forming for this elevator that stretched outside the hotel, down Commonwealth Avenue, over the B.U. Bridge, and well into Cambridge. The other seven elevators, I concluded, were faux elevators — trompe l’oeil elevators.) And the detail I remember most was way up at the top, above the red-dot L.E.D. display of the floor, a little rectangular plaque that read “Elevator Beeps for the Seeing Impaired.” This was to inform the seeing impaired — specifically those who could not read the red dot L.E.D. display but could read this little plaque — that the elevator beeps signified the floors being passed. Lest they, or anyone else, think that these beeps — beeps we have all surely come to know by now, as they are hardly exclusive to this hotel’s elevator — were some form of uniquely uncreative, annoying, Muzak.
The other remarkable, distracting thing about this elevator was that — this is true! only the part about the line across the B.U. bridge may be a bit exaggerated — the L.E.D. display was off by two floors. When the doors opened on 7, the L.E.D. display said 9. When they opened on 8 — and with just one elevator, and huge crowds packed into it, naturally there was someone getting off or on at every floor — the display said 10. And so on, consistently, hour after hour, all the way up to my high floor. So there should have been a second little square bronze plaque next to the first: “Kindly subtract two.”
So, no, the dog didn’t eat my homework. But there will be no column today. In place of the empty space you see here, please click Archives, and pick one of the hundreds of columns you may not have read previously. (Perhaps even one related to your money! I do try to do one of those occasionally.)
Or do what I do when there’s a little less to read: Rejoice!
Quote of the Day
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.~H. L. Mencken
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