If you’re wondering how much soap they give you at the Ritz Carlton in Chicago, I can answer: too much. They give you far more soap than you can possibly use during one stay. That’s how you know it’s a fancy hotel. Most hotels give you those little hotel soaps that are about as big as a fun-size Mr. Goodbar, and honestly, that's a good size for a soap you are probably going to use, at most, twice. But the Ritz Carlton gives you two big blocks of fancy L'Occitane “vegetable soap.” I’m not sure what vegetables the soap is made from, nor why they feel the need to say that it’s made from vegetables, other than perhaps that’s their subtle way of trying to tell me that other soaps are made from meat, which I hope is not true. Didn’t they used to make soap from whale? Have I been washing with whale soap my whole life and didn’t know it? If that’s true I’m going to be very upset because I have donated a lot of money to various groups attempting to save whales over the years, and if I have been undermining my own efforts by using whales to clean my pits this whole time, I am going to feel seriously hoodwinked.
I actually felt guilty taking my morning shower because I knew while unwrapping the giant soap that it was mostly going to go to waste. Then I thought, maybe not. Maybe they reuse the soap for other guests. Maybe they wrap it back up and nobody is the wiser. Wouldn’t the soap still be clean? I think so. After all, it’s soap.
I would prefer it if they offered a smaller soap size. There’s no reason why it couldn’t still be fancy. For example, each soap could be small, but hand-carved into a whimsical animal shape. That would be good. Think about it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to start your day by washing off with a frolicking Shetland pony soap? Or a laughing baby orangutan? I remember as a kid how fun it was to pick out the different shapes from a box of animal crackers. Simply translate that idea to hand-crafted vegetable soaps and I think you can begin to see the potential here. Plus, there’s also an opportunity to do some good here. Not only would this idea save soap, but it could provide employment for scores of poor children in Third World villages. Imagine the pride those kids could take in carving tigers and iguanas for the enjoyment of dirty Americans. [Note: send this idea to Jimmy Carter.]
Anyway, I ended up taking an extra long shower so that I could use up as much of that fancy soap as possible knowing that if I didn’t use it, the hotel would most likely not reuse it, and it would just end up in the pocket of the chambermaid. Why should she get the soap? I’m the one who paid for the room, not her!
Actually I didn’t pay for the room. Simon & Schuster did. And they pass the cost on to you, the consumer. So really, you paid for the room, and I didn’t think you would want the chambermaid to take my unused soap, especially because the chambermaid most likely can’t even afford to buy one of my books, which makes it doubly wrong that she should get my soap.
When I got done washing, I decided to see if the vegetable soap tasted like vegetables. Knowing that soap usually tastes terrible, I took the tiniest nibble. The answer to my question was immediately apparent. No. It did not taste like vegetables. Just as I suspected it would, it tasted like whale, and I ended up eating the whole thing. Then I put the other bar in my tote bag and ate it on the plane to Seattle. When the passenger next to me commented that my snack smelled delicious, I said, "Thank you." When he asked me what it was, I just smiled and said, "I'll give you a hint. You use it to wash your balls." That pretty much ended the conversation.