January 25, 2012

Humiliation Builds Character

Several years ago, in my creative director days, I was shooting a TV campaign in Los Angeles. I was staying at a suitably  swanky Hollywood hotel.

The hotel had an equally swanky restaurant. The maitre d' was a grimly efficient woman who presided over her dining room very much like a third grade teacher governing her classroom -- with acute attention and an equal amount of thinly disguised condescension.

One morning, having finished my breakfast, I was leaving the dining room. As I passed her station her phone rang. She picked up the phone and I heard her say, "I'm sorry, Mr. Hoffman isn't here."

I stopped and said, "Excuse me, I'm Bob Hoffman."

She put the phone back to her ear and said to the caller, "Do you want Bob Hoffman or Dustin Hoffman?"

She listened for the reply, put the receiver to her bosom and said to me, "It's not for you, dear."

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