For Those of You Who Aren’t Spilling Blood For A $2 Toaster…

I realize many of you are currently engaged in heated battle for that ever-elusive Black Friday item but for those of you who are still with us, here is a little childhood recollection from my hall of memory.

Public schools are all about slave labor; in my educational career every teacher I ever met was underpaid, undersexed and overbearing. Naturally, I clashed with most of my masters, and of course, these conflicts rarely went my way. One of my earliest adversaries was Mr. Borden. (He was a real pip; his motto was “I’ll beat the rambunctiousness out of your kids – with learning.”)

You know the saying, “spare the rod, spoil the child”, or as it was originally written, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”?  Well, “Bad Borden” was never in danger of spoiling a child, and he certainly never spared a rod. Don’t get me wrong, he certainly never behaved inappropriately with any male students, but the man once showed up on a Monday morning wearing more rouge than our Home Ec teacher, Miss Burnnitt. 

He once insisted I divert time from my stalking adoration of Cindy Day (Cheryl Williams wasn’t the only game in town), to post pages from various comic books on the classroom wall as part of some half-baked lesson plan.

(You see, kids, in the Seventies, “posting pictures to your wall” required slightly more exertion than it currently does, ya lazy pricks.)

As a lifelong comic book fan and a horny young male, I was mortified. And since 90% of my blood supply was moving away from my brain-box, I was also hopelessly under-equipped for the task at hand. When my feeble attempts at pressing pins through the pages and into the bulletin board proved fruitless, my Master demanded I use the stapler instead. His exact words were quite subtle:

“Hey, Hookey, we don’t have all day! Snap out of it, you slacker! Use your brain and the stapler!”

And so, as Cindy Day and the entire classroom looked on, I picked up the stapler and used it to hammer the pins through pages of what would have someday been classic issues of Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man.

Needless to say, I didn’t spend my recess swapping spit with Cindy Day in the schoolyard tire fort.

Oh well, I’m certain I ruined her for other men, at the very least.

Stop giggling, it may have happened!

See you in the lobby, but not the Black Friday sales, shoppers…

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The Hook’s Rules (Ten Of ‘em, At Least.)

Once again, the American Thanksgiving holiday is upon us and you know what that means, right?

Tons of well-intentioned, super cool – even from Ned Hickson – holiday posts.

Well, this isn’t one of them so don’t get any ideas. If you want some holiday-themed yucks and sentiment go check out those over-medicated nut bars at Long Awkward Pause, they’ll be happy yo help you. As for yours truly, I’m… well, I’ll explain what I am in a moment. Right now, I want to wish everyone a happy Yankee Turkey Day. Even you, Ned. Though you still owe me fifty bucks.

Let’s begin with three words that speak volumes, shall we?

I’m. Still. Here.

The last few months and a few more failures/rejections have changed me beyond measure, and I cannot say when or if I will ever return to a regular blogging schedule, but at this moment, the mood has struck me and so here we are.

So without further bullshit adieu, I present to you now the Tao of The Hook.

1)  Wake up every day.

   It’s that simple. As a lifelong resident of Niagara Falls I have seen the horror that accompanies the act of suicide and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. (More on that later, by the way.) To be clear, I would never judge those poor souls who have taken that step – I’ve literally been to the edge myself – but no matter what the problem, there is a solution.

   The key to that solution? Surviving long enough for it to present itself. Find a coping mechanism that doesn’t diminish your body and soul and hang on for dear life.

2)  Don’t have a worst enemy.

    Or any degree of enemy, for that matter. Unless you’re a spandex-clad member of the superhero set, having a nemesis will bring you nothing but heartache and it will rot your soul faster than any evening with the Kardashians. And besides, would you even know what to do with an enemy if you did have one? It’s a losing proposition, man.

   Sure you could fight them with conventional weapons, but that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, the only way to win at personal warfare is to not play the game at all. And yes, this advice comes to you courtesy of a man who has gone toe-to-toe with many a colleague and guest over the years, but those battles were one-offs, not full-blown campaigns.

Make love, not war; it’s not just a slogan spouted by long-haired, drug addled freaks, but a way of life.

3)  If you can afford to hire a contractor to handle home repairs… do so – always.

Screw your pride – and the entire DIY industry – not everyone is cut out to be handy with a hammer. (Quit giggling, this serious business!)

However, if you do find yourself motivated to tackle such endeavors, heed my words of caution…


I’m sure I don’t need to explain myself, do I? And speaking of costly mistakes…

5)  Don’t fear your inner Dumbass.

There resides within each of us, a dumbass, a failed version of ourselves that will rear his or her ugly head from time to time. Don’t fear your inner dumbass; God put it there to remind of your humanity – and how fragile it actually. Learn from your dumbass. Adjust for its presence. Live with it rather than against it.

Bear in mind this advice is coming to you courtesy of a world-class dumbass, so…

6) Hookers, strippers and porn stars used to be little girls.

Yes, I realize I just deflated more than one erection, but in a society obsessed with sex, that needed to be noted. I’ve seen thousands of sex workers in my career and I’ll see thousands more before I’m through – and each and every one of them had a heart and soul. Somewhere in there.

7)  Honesty is the best policy.

Yes, I sound like an After School Special, but so what? The classics  have never go out of style. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve avoided spending the night in the dog house by revealing the truth before it came out. Which it always does, sooner or later. So be smart, kids, tell the truth and it’ll set you free, apparently.

That having been said…

8)  You’re going to spend time in the dog house.

Inevitably, we all screw up – some more than others – and whether we’re in a relationship or not, we all spend time paying for those mistakes. So keep an emergency kit handy at all times. And always be prepared to suck it up and move on.

9)  Always take time to enjoy the little things.

We rarely inject a dose of perspective into our daily routine. We just put our heads down and hope we come out a winner in the rat race. And we rarely do. So never forget to enjoy whatever makes you happy – if only for a moment or two.

For example, I know this will make some of you happy…


And this will do it for some others…


And finally, this will appeal to some truly special souls…








Is anyone still here?

Yes? Wow, you’re troopers, aren’t you? All right, that type of perseverance deserves a reward. Here now, is my final rule, the one that has defined my life and set me upon the path to greatness.

All right, stop laughing. I may not be a legend, or successful, or rich, or even respected, but I’m not a total D-bag, so this rule has served its purpose.

Here we go…

Oh wait, we’re out of time. Sorry.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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Five Minutes of My Life.

Experiment time, kids! Here is a brief snippet of my day, written before the first call of my shift.

And nothing more.

Shall we begin?

So, despite my best efforts to the contrary, Sunday is here. Again.

At the moment, the hotel is in the midst of awakening from a Saturday night slumber that, for most guests, was induced by alcohol, pharmaceuticals that were originally prescribed for someone else, coital activity and in rare cases, plain old exhaustion. There are no hookers yet. No drunken corporate drones. No hung-over cougars. No Red Bull addicted kids. No twenty-something couples desperately clinging to their youth by engaging in wild, reckless, dangerous sex. (They all seem to think life ends at thirty. The fools have no idea.)

The lobby is virtually empty.

The horde has not arrived.


But some guests are beginning to make their way down to the lobby – slowly – but my fellow bellmen are only interested in one particular guest.


ME:  You were struck by a freak meteor shower on the way to work, gained temporary super powers, fought off an alien invasion single-handed, which required you travel to a future where humanity was long-dead and there you met several time-displaced individuals who agreed to remain behind and restart the human race and when you returned you repaired all the collateral damage before I arrived for work?

ART:  Uh… no.

ME:  Awww…. I was so hoping something really cool would happen.

ART:  There’s a Toronto Maple Leaf here with his wife. They arrived late last night after they won a game.

ME:  You’re lying!

ART:  No, I’m dead serious!

ME:  Come on! I know I don’t follow hockey and I have no real interest in that news but I still refuse to believe that!

ART:  I swear, I’m telling the truth!

ME:  The Leafs won a game?

And that’s it, folks. Let me know if my efforts to squeeze in a post before my day begins in earnest were successful, will you?

See you in the lobby…

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Things Running Through My Mind Right Now.

Yes, I’m still distracted by life. And its early.

You know what that means, don’t you?

It’s list time!

1)  “Why’s it so warm in the lobby? Oh yeah, Engineering fixed the heat! They didn’t just say they fixed the heat to shut me up before running away and hiding until my shift ends, they actually fixed it!”

2)  “Did one of the midnight bellmen really pull a white Superfly and dive over the Bell Desk to reach the coveted “good seat” in front of the computer before me?”

3)  “And did he really pull a white Superfly and dive over the Bell Desk to reach the coveted “good seat” in front of the computer before me do it without breaking a Caucasian leg or any limb at all? Seriously?

4)  Is the lobby really this quiet? It’s like The Shining in here! Scratch that, the folks in The Shining had something to do…”

5)  “They’re playing a jazzy version of Dancing With Myself in the lobby? Truly? Is Billy Idol really that broke that he had to approve something like this? Can’t Adam Sandler put him in another movie? Why am I thinking of dancing zombies right now? Oh yeah, the video for this song – the non-crappy, non-soul-crushing version – features dancers in rags that are supposed to be zombies.”

6)  “Why can’t I finish Book Two? Am I really this hopeless? I have ideas. And some of them are even non-sexual in nature. Though not too many of them, to be honest.”

7)  “Maybe I don’t need to worry so much. I mean, it’s not like anyone’s waiting on pins and needles for another book from me. They have the latest page-turner from Snooki to look forward to.”

8)  “Is this idea as far off the rails as I think it is?”

9)  “Can’t believe I haven’t seen any hookers yet this morning!”

10)  “Wait, scratch that.”

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Ever Wonder How A Bellman’s Day Begins?

A young female guest on the street with a Tom Baker-era Doctor Who hat and scarf.

Two ultra-horny middle-aged guests furiously dry-humping in the foyer of the hotel’s employee entrance.

A faulty punch clock. (Gotta love modern technology, right?)

Two housekeepers trapped in a laundry bin. (Don’t even think about it; you’ll hurt yourself.)

An intense argument between two maintenance workers that threatened to erupt into an all-out battle at any moment.

A lost wallet, bursting at the seams.

Two  new, over-friendly housekeepers that wanted to “chat” – for what seemed like forever.

All before I donned my uniform.

Welcome to my world, kids.

He’s still The (Gallifrey) Man…

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Even A Quiet Murdoch Monday Has Its Moments.

My shift today has been as vacant and desolate as Kim Kardashian’s conscience.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s been completely boring…

GIGGLY GIRL:  We’re so glad to be here! We’re from London and we love it here! Thanks for helping us with our bags!

Bear in mind, this young blonde waif from London Town punctuated every single sentence with a giggle so girlish, it would have melted Hitler’s heart. Every. Single. Sentence.

Her Asian boyfriend was an easygoing lad who was just along for the ride. He let her dominate the conversation (a tactic that I’m certain applied to every aspect of their relationship), with more giggly pronouncements focused on her love of Canada, Niagara Falls, the hotel lobby, the elevator and even yours truly.

“I don’t really know you, but you seem like a superb bellman!”

I have to admit, the girl had great taste.

ME:  I have to say, sir, you’re a lucky man.

GG:  He knows that! But why do you think so? (In between giggles, ‘natch.)

ME:  Well, most people are fatigued, thirsty, hungry and cranky when they first arrive, but not you! In fact, you’re overflowing with joy. Bursting, even!

Her response was blogging gold.

“You really think so? You should see me in the sack!

Fortunately, I’m not easily rattled.

ME:  Well, I’m sure you have a wonderful style, miss, but I’m not sure how I’d react to giggling in the bedroom. I’d be too worried you were giggling for other reasons! If you know what I mean!”

Her love just adopted an awkward smile and put his head down. The poor devil. She, however, didn’t miss a beat.

“Oh I’m sure you wouldn’t have to worry about that! You’re a tall one and you know what they say about tall ones, right?

That rattled me.

ME:  Yes! Yes, I do… and they’re right!

But not for long.

Fortunately, at that point we all laughed. We left the elevator and arrived at their room. They tipped me. I returned to the quiet – and mind-numbing – calm of the lobby. End of story. Until the next call, that is.

Well, I’m off. Time to go home and enjoy a brand-spanking-new episode of Murdoch Mysteries. See you in the lobby, kids…

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I awoke, dizzy, feverish and uncovered. Desperately, I yanked and tugged (at the covers… perverts) until the wife relented – an hour later. An hour after that, our daughter wandered in, overtime by an asthma attack. She recovered nicely – eventually – and drifted back to Morpheus’ embrace. (Incidentally, he’s the only male allowed to embrace my daughter – for now, at least.)


I drift back to sleep.


The alarm buzzes, shattering the morning calm. What follows are the thoughts that ran through my mind following the clarion call to work.

“If I can only reach the alarm, I’ll be good.”

“If I can only fall out of bed – quietly –  I’ll be good.”

“If I can only fall down the stairs – softly – I’ll be good.”

“If I can only reach the downstairs bathroom and begin changing into my ‘civvies’, I’ll be good.”

“If I can only strip off my pajamas, get my long johns (which won’t leave my body all winter) off and put fresh boxers on without falling over before putting my long johns back on, I’ll be good.”

“Please don’t let me fall over, God. I refuse to die in my bathroom like the King of Rick ‘n Roll.”

“If I can only shave, brush, wash and do a five-point-inspection without vomiting, I’ll be good.”

“If I can only pack my lunch and walk to work with a bed leg and a feverish body without falling into a ditch, I’ll be good.”

“Wait a minute, there are no ditches on the way to work!”

“If I can only make it to my locker and change into my uniform without going down like a Redwood, I’ll be good.”

“Okay, I’m dressed like a bellman. Now if I can only act like a bellman for eleven hours, I’ll be good.”

Wish me luck, kids…

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