One Star Too Many

Monsieurs et Mesdames:

I write to question your rating in the current Michelin Guide Coup de Coeur of the Sea Girt Motor Lodge (Sea Girt, New Jersey). Having now been a guest of that particular establishment for one night, I offer my considered opinion that it does not merit even a single star.

As an initial matter, I believe the very name of the business is misleading in the extreme. My automobile was in no manner able—to say nothing of welcome—to share my accommodations; to my dismay, “Monroe” had to remain out of doors for the entire duration of my visit in what I was informed is called a “parking lot.” The Sea Girt Motor Lodge, in other words, is nothing of the sort.

Before I address the shortcomings of my assigned suite, I should mention that I am writing this letter on the stationery provided for my use by the Sea Girt Motor Lodge itself—stationery that I first held up to the light, only to find no watermark of any pedigree whatsoever. Holding the paper then up to my nose, I found that it smells quite cheap indeed, and I should not be surprised to learn that it is made of bleached wood pulp rather than reclaimed United States currency or rice. In the same vein, I am reasonably certain that neither of the two pillows provided to me were stuffed—much less overstuffed—with eider down. It is possible—likely, even—that the wadding was something synthetic. The thread count of my bedsheet could not have been greater than 300.

When I first arrived at the Sea Girt Motor Lodge, however, it was not quite yet time to turn in, and I confess to having been a bit peckish. Although I could hear the sounds of bubbling water and smell a fragrant herbal aroma both coming from the room next to mine, my neighbors did not extend an invitation to afternoon tea. Also to my surprise, the quaint refrigerator in the room was not well stocked with provisions; in fact, it was empty. When I rang the front desk to inquire about room service, I was told that no such service was provided, but I might find an ice machine by the pool. (The “pool” on the premises, by the by, was merely a cement container in the ground filled with chlorinated water and children.) I found the ice machine located where advertised, but I found the product it dispensed to be cold, tasteless, excessively moist, and not at all satisfying.

(Although it does not reflect on the Sea Girt Motor Lodge directly, I feel my report would be incomplete if I did not mention the trouble with my “off-campus” dining experience. The food at the colorful Scottish eatery up the road was delivered exceptionally quickly, but this convenience was offset by the delay that resulted from my waiting a full ten minutes in the restroom before I decided that, notwithstanding what the sign at the sink read, no employee was going to wash my hands.

Returning to the Sea Girt Motor Lodge:) I returned to the Sea Girt Motor Lodge intending to perform my evening ablutions and then to seek absolution through prayer, but the Bible I found in the nightstand drawer contained inter-Testamental apocrypha, so I forwent my devotions (and then spent a fitful night half-expecting to wake up in Hell, the irony of which did not escape me).

Finally, there was the matter of the charge for my use of the room and its amenities. When I checked out at the front desk in the morning, I was informed that I owed $49. Absurd! A night’s accommodations should cost at least ten times that! To the manager’s credit, he did not argue with me but simply accepted the cash that I offered. Still, it was small consolation after the series of disappointments I had endured.

For the foregoing reasons, therefore, I strenuously recommend that you reconsider your award of two stars to the Sea Girt Motor Lodge. In my next letter, posted separately, I will address the particular and curious shortcomings of a certain ’burger réstaurânt that can hardly be said to be fit for royalty.

Yours truly,
A. Buckley Corbett IV
Tyre-on-Rhode, Maryland

Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.

Read more humor here. Or read some fiction here.