07/17/2012 03:53 pm ET | Updated Sep 16, 2012

Why Stare at the Floor in an Elevator When You Can Have a Conversation?

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

Remember that Groucho Marx quote? Good. You'll need it in a minute.


Have you ever been upgraded to a special floor in a hotel, where you had to swipe your room key in the elevator before the button for that floor would light up?

It doesn't make you too popular with the other riders, I'll tell ya. If someone didn't beat us to husband and I both did the same thing -- downplayed it. "I really don't think there's anything special about the rooms," one of us would say. On this particular trip upstairs Darrell teased the person who was teasing us, something about why you'd want to belong to a club that would have you for a member.

You know, that Groucho Marx quote.

Which our daughter hadn't heard, judging by the "What the...?" look she gave Darrell.

"You know who Groucho Marx is, don't you?" he asked.

"Yeah..." she said.

At this point my focus turned from the two of them to the remaining passenger on the elevator. He'd been enjoying the conversation, I could tell, and smiled in anticipation of the rest of Katie's answer. Which amused me, because I had this feeling he had no idea what was coming -- we never do -- and I wanted to enjoy his reaction.

The elevator doors opened and the man got ready to leave. And Katie said, "He's the guy who said he didn't want to read on the inside of a dog."

I wish you could've seen our fellow traveler's expression change from a knowing smile to a scrunched up, confused looking "What the...?" A feeling I shared with him, by the way, because I didn't remember the correct quote -- and kept thinking, "What is she talking about? What does that even mean?"

The doors started to close as the man stepped off the elevator, disoriented. He looked like someone who thought he was taking a drink of water but got club soda instead.

Career consultants are fond of suggesting you be careful what you say and do because people are always watching.

Are you giving them a good show?