Some “Splainin’ To Do”…

I just returned from my first out-of-D.C. ethics presentation in more than two years. This, and the necessary preparation for it is why Ethics Alarms has been uncharacteristically devoid of new content for about 24 hours, though the commentariat, as usual, have admirably kept the ethics fires burning.

Before I make some ethics-related observations on features of the trip and the engagement, this: Are there really people out there who are primed to complain that references to Desi Arnaz’s famous catch phrase (as Ricky Riccardo on “I Love Lucy”), “Lucy, you have some ‘splainin’ to do!” are markers of bigotry and racism? They can bite me, because these are the individuals who fit Jacques Brel’s description of “them” is his famous quote, cited before here: “If you leave it up to them, they’ll crochet the world the color of goose shit.”


  • In the middle of yesterday, for no discernible reason, my knee suddenly swelled up to twice its usually size and mad it painful to walk, sit, drive or sleep. Nobody could tell during my seminar, where I paced for three hours like nervous jaguar as usual, because I’m a theater guy, and once doesn’t allow little things like illness or pain affect a performance. I’m also my father’s son, and Dad walked, hiked and generally refused to allow the fact that he had a permanently ruined foot (via hand grenade) painfully stuffed into custom made shoes affect his active post-WWII life. he did this for 50 years. I had to do it for three lousy hours.
  • The hotel where I had to drive to late, late last night was one with an address nowhere near the street it was supposedly “on,” and GPS and Google directions managed to ignore that fact. The place’s raised sign wasn’t even visible from the street unless a driver had the mysterious premonition that he had to look behind him and up despite being told that he could take the street “straight to your destination.” Saying that my destination was “on” that street, as its address indicated, when it was behind two layers of commercial structures and over 100 yards from the thoroughfare would be like someone living on the cul de sac next to the one where my home resides telling a visitor that they live at my address. I have lost too many hours of my life to such misrepresented addresses. I told the guy at registration that at very least the hotel should a have warning about the problem on its website, especially after he said, when I described my difficulty locating the place, “Oh, yes, guests complain about that all the time!” Oh???? Then why the hell don’t you do something about it?
  • My seminar had about ten lawyers present and the rest tuning in via web or Zoom. I began my presentation by praising the hardy souls who I could interact with face-to-face (I gave each off them a free hour of ethics consultation over the next year in gratitude, a$390 value) while telling the rest that  remote ethics training for lawyers is about as useful as remote schooling for children, and that as professionals, they needed to be serious about ethics, meaning that they should make the effort to participate in trainings directly. I was told that some of the online participants took umbrage at this.

Guess what my response was…

  • None of the lawyers at my seminar were masked; all of the hotel staff were. Typically, I had to ask the hotel personnel to repeat themselves because they appear to be unaware that having a thick piece of cloth over one’s mouth impedes communication. This is “mask incompetence.”
  • For the third straight time reaching back years, the hotel was late with my requested wake-up call. This used to never happen. I believe it is part of the increasing service rot infecting American life. “Quiet quitting,” perhaps?

8 thoughts on “Some “Splainin’ To Do”…

  1. If that tag line is a mark of bigotry it must be aimed at dizzy red headed Irish women given the context.

    My wife is a Lucy type at times and I use the phrase often.

  2. Perhaps the late wakeup calls aren’t a symptom of “quiet quitting”. Maybe the hotel staff have been educated by public schools in America, and therefore simply can’t tell time.

    Or maybe those same schools taught them that punctuality and competence, according to the not-at-all-bullshit Critical Race Theory, are “white supremacist” notions, and they don’t want to perpetuate such vicious racism.

  3. Did you have an actual human being make the wake-up calls? That would surprise me. My experience recently has been that you request a wake-up call and what you get is a robo-call. I think it works ok — what does the trick is the phone ringing, not who or what might be on the other end. However, the staff still has to input the time you tell them into their computer. Not too much to ask, one wouldn’t think.

    Apropos of hotel amenities, it intrigues me that hotels have been able to get away with reducing the services they provide for the huge sums they charge. It’s a trend that much predates the pandemic and the current labor shortages — but I am sure those things have accelerated the process. When I book hotel rooms, it often appears that the more a hotel charges, the fewer amenities they provide (I’m thinking of things such as breakfast, wifi, microwaves, and the like).

    Eventually, I think people will come to the conclusion that if the Hilton is charging $100 more than Motel 6 but doesn’t provide much more actual service — why should you pay the extra money?

    • I got charge $27 for an in-state call. The front desk didn’t quite apologize, but did refund it.

      I was also less than amused by the water bottles invitingly set up on the microwave, only to see a $7 price tag on them. At least the Keurig “coffee” was complementary with the room.

      • I also once tried to book a room, and was genuinely amused that a room with “free” WIFI cost $14 more per night than a room without.

  4. Re: Hotel Services: Wake-up calls used to be done by the night office staff. In days of yore, I remember hearing a human voice saying, “This is the wake-up call you requested, hope you have a nice day.” Nowadays it is an automated system with i computer-generated voice.

    Cost-to-service ratio- I have stayed at motels/hotels whose rates are much lower than the fancier hotels. The cheaper hotels provide free wi-fi, free breakfast, and some “afternoon tea.” At the expensive hotels, wi-fi is an added expense, breakfast is served at exorbitant prices, and I never dare to open the bottle of water in the room for fear that I would have to apply for a bank loan. Therefore I have concluded that hotel service is inversely proportional to room rate charges. So I opt for Red Roof Inns, Motel Six,

    Miscellaneous service complaints: Yesterday I receive a notification that my credit card would be charged for the automatic renewal of a subscription. They did say if I no longer wanted the subscription to call a given number. i called said number. They said they could not cancel my subscription because I subscribed through Apple’s app store. Only Apple could do that, I needed to call Apple. I called Apple and thus entered the beaurocratic circle of hell. They said NAY NAY, I needed to call the subscription people. I called back. The next individual said she did not have the authority to cancel the forthcoming charge but she would fill out a “request” for a supervisor to look into it. I pray for salvation.

    • This the part where you tell them that you will be working with your credit card company to “charge-back” the charge if they, after you have done your due diligence to work WITH them to remove it, prove to be unable to accomplish the simple task themselves.

      That’ll get their attention.


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