Get it on with your mini-bar

Doesn’t it seem at times that life is a hotel room mini-bar? It rarely provides exactly what you want, the portions are too small and everything costs way too much. Plus, you must fetch your own ice.

When I travel, I almost never resort to the mini-bar. I can’t bring myself to spend $6 for a single cookie or $8 on a bottle so small that the liquor evaporates before I can get it to my lips. Besides, by the time I get to my room at night, I’m usually already well-oiled from the maxi-bar off the hotel lobby. At that point, consuming a miniature bottle of booze would be like spitting in a river.

Mini-bars are much on my mind since I saw a newspaper item about a hotel in Miami’s South Beach that offers “themed” mini-bar packages. For $50 and up, the Catalina Hotel and Beach Club will tailor mini-bar stock to fit guests’ special needs or moods.

The “Get It On” package, for example, includes champagne, whipped cream, maraschino cherries, strawberries, scented candles, edible body paint and -- this is my favorite part -- a Barry White CD. Oh, baby, baby.

(If I consumed whipped cream, maraschino cherries and strawberries, on top of champagne, I wouldn’t be considering whether to “Get It On.” I’d be worrying about “Diabetic Coma.”)

I don’t know what other mini-bar packages the hotel staff has dreamed up, but here are some suggestions:

“Bang a Gong” -- Champagne, beer, vodka, strawberries, peanuts, beer, a bong, a gong, Wild Turkey, beer and a T-Rex CD.

“Get It Done” -- Coffee, caffeine tablets, beef jerky, strawberries, a wireless Internet hookup and a recording of your boss screaming about an impending deadline.

“Get Her Drunk” -- Champagne, maraschino cherries, champagne, a bottle of Southern Comfort, strawberries, more champagne, and a Pink Floyd CD. This package is also known as the “Prom Night Special.”

“Get Some Sleep” -- A carton of milk, some chilled turkey, sleeping pills, a jug of cheap wine and a Barry Manilow CD.

“Get a Job” -- Champagne, strawberries, resumes, a phone book, want ads and a CD by The Silhouettes.

“Lose Some Weight” -- Diet Pepsi, Miller Lite, rice cakes, carrots, celery, a Richard Simmons DVD and six gallons of edible body paint.

“I’m Sorry” -- Champagne, red roses, shiny baubles, strawberries, a form letter of apology, kneepads and a Brenda Lee CD.

“The Romeo” -- Fresh flowers, scented candles, strawberries, a jug of wine, a loaf of bread, a book of sonnets and a Julio Iglesias CD.

“The Bubba” -- A six-pack of Bud, a pint of Jack Daniels, a bag of pork rinds, two EZ-Open cans of chili and a DVD of the Daytona 500.

“The Flight Attendant” -- A variety of miniature booze bottles, flimsy plastic cups with too much ice, and 47 tiny bags of pretzels.

“Weary Business Traveler” -- One large bottle of hooch and some ice. Maybe some peanuts or something.

“Family Vacation” -- Mai Tai mix, rum, sunscreen, aspirin, antacids, a hat with Mickey Mouse ears, stain remover, a Wiggles CD, earplugs and edible body paint (for the kids).

Perhaps none of these mini-bar packages will work for you. Perhaps you’d still resent paying so much for so little. Maybe cramming a small refrigerator with tiny goodies will never come close to what we all want, which is to stay home with our loved ones and our familiar surroundings and our Barry White CDs.

That’s life. Pass the strawberries.

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