Monday, March 25, 2013

First Class

"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great."
- Tom Hanks, in A League of Their Own

I have never flown first class, but I imagine it is quite special. I try to get bumped up when I fly on my birthday, however I have yet to be successful in my plight, and I assume the airline agents laugh at me after I leave the counter. This year marks twenty years in the service and hospitality industry for me. Most who have worked with me will attest that I take pride in my work and (in the words of Sean Honan) "do more than is asked of me," but my newest endeavor at the luxurious Capella Hotel in Georgetown has forced me to think of a different level of necessary mastery - "first-class service."

Remember that I wrote a whole blog entry a while back about the madness of opening and operating restaurants? Yeah, so I chose to do it all over again. Most of my friends say that it is better to go to an already established place so that you know what to expect. I, of course... don't. Come to think of it, out of the nine restaurants I have opened, five of them have been sight unseen - not a darn clue what the places would look like or be about (fully). Blind trust? Faith? Naivete? Thrill of the gamble? Upon some reflection, I like to think of it as the opportunity to put my mark (yes) on something. There is something quite exhilarating in the madness that is starting from scratch. Fortunately, the vision we were imparted in our training was to aspire to be the best. The tools and the road map we were given were meant to produce a successful business. Exceptionalism is optional and will require some extra dedication and creativity. Perhaps I have found the right place.

The Grill Room at Capella Hotel in Washington DC

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dear Cardinals

It has come to my attention that there is a job opening in Vatican City with the Catholic Church.

While I understand that it is traditionally frowned upon to actively campaign for the office of Supreme Pontiff, I would be remiss if I neglected to inform you all that I hereby throw my hat (albeit not red) into the ring. According to the laws of the church, as a baptized Catholic male person, I somehow have met the minimum qualifications for the job posting in question. However, seeing as how the job is Pope, I am prepared to offer a compelling argument for the viability of my candidacy.

First, I would like to confront the glaring obstacle that you all must be considering - I'm too young. Gentlemen, the last thing our church needs is another elderly fixture in, arguably, one of the world's most demanding positions. At 37 years old, I have the stamina and the optimism to take on the challenges that this kind of work demands. Pope Benedict could only give you eight years; we need a leader who can give us decades.

Second, while my candidacy may appear to be the dark horse in this race because I am not a cardinal... nor an ordained minister of any kind, I assure you that I already have decades of preparation leading me to this profession. Following eight years of formal study in the church - including several as an altar server - I have taught in Catholic schools and have also been devoted to a life of service for nearly twenty years to people from around the globe.

"Whoever wants to become great among you must serve the rest of you like a servant. Whoever wants to become first among you must serve the rest of you like a slave. In the same way, the Son of Man did not come to be served. He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people."
- Matthew 20: 26-28
Third, I love to travel. One of the best ways we get out our message is by getting out there. I intend to take this show on the road.

Fourth, any priest or other church personnel found to have been involved in any illegal activity will be reported to the local legal authorities. That will be step one of their penance.

Fifth, never again will a homily be supplanted by a request for money.

While I recognize there are others among you who would seem to be the safer choice for this position, I urge you to find someone whose stated goal is one of international tranquility and can reach millions with his message of love and hope. Good luck to all the cardinals as they prayerfully arrive at their selection.

Peace be with you.