Too much weekend for me, which is not to say I partied too hard or ate like a Roman, only that the weekend’s weekending pushed the work I usually do on the weekend off to the side, which means… you get the idea. It’s going to be a long one, so today is a write-off, blog-wise.
And what did we do this weekend? Traveled back across the Mitten to pick up Kate from camp. We needed to be there too early to work an early-morning departure, so we spent the night in Grand Rapids. There’s something about the phrase “a night in Grand Rapids” that says, “Screw the cost! Let’s splurge!” and so we stayed at the Amway Grand Hotel, the finest lodgings to be had in Dutch west Michigan, or so we’re led to believe from the brochures.
I practiced the phrase, “I’m at the Amway” in my head a few dozen times, but could never escape that little frisson that millions feel with any mention of the name. Amway may have done for Grand Rapids what Eli Lilly has done for Indianapolis, what General Motors did for Detroit, what any (large corporation) has done for (name of city). So I guess people get a different feeling there, but for me, the word will always be attached to those phone calls you get from a friend, sorta — you know, that guy you used to party with, but he was really more Paul’s friend than yours, even though he gave you a ride that one time. Anyway, he called the other night, and asked to come over, and you said OK, although your spidey-sense was already a-tingle. And then he shows up, sits down, accepts a beer and immediately asks, “How would you like to join an organization that can make all your financial dreams come true?” And at that moment, you want to stick an icepick in your ear and end it all, because oh God, it’s the Amway pitch.
I’m no fan of Jennifer Granholm, and went into the 2006 gubernatorial race with my eyes and mind open. The first time I saw the Republican nominee and Amway scion Dick DeVos in action, was at a town-hall meet-the-voters thing on TV. A woman rose and asked how she was to stay in Michigan, with her family’s third-generation plumbing-supply business in such dire straits with the weak economy. (And this would be before the bad stuff started; I assume they’re long-gone by now.) What were these candidates offering her? Jenny gave some canned answer, and then DeVos turned to her, crinkled his salesman eyes, and said, “I grew up in a family business too, Laurie.” I yodeled an expletive at the TV, snapped it off and resigned myself to four more years of Granholm.
Anyway, Dick Jr., the unsuccessful would-be governor, is the mirror image of his dad, whose kingly portrait hangs in the lobby, along with that of his partner, Jay Van Andel:
Terrible picture, and I apologize, but the light was all wrong.
Anyway, I’ll have more tomorrow. In the meantime, tell your own Amway story, if you have one.