Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Aussa Lorens.

Uncovering the information you are about to read required the sacrifice of dozens of lives.

Of course, they were the lives of interns so who gives a toss, really?

Aussa Lorens (that may or may not be her real name), is a mysterious creature whose legend has spread far and wide across both the virtual and so-called real worlds. As such, her myth has become somewhat… muddled, much like a Kardashian’s tan.


Here now, are ten completely verifiable facts

(not really)

about the goddess known as Aussa Lorens.

1)  Wonder Woman is her bitch.  (Yes, she’s that tough.)

2)  Her “after dark” site, Lorens’ Lair is considered so freaky its been banned by every country and state in the world. Except New Jersey, of course.

3)  In Rob Ford’s words: “Aussa is the one drug I don’t want to quit.” Immediately after giving this statement, he danced a jig and vomited all over a girl scout troop. So it was a Tuesday.

4)  An abandoned Game of Thrones storyline saw Aussa overthrowing every kingdom, taming every supernatural creature and sleeping with every major character (of both genders, of course) – all in one episode.


6)  I don’t want to say a date with Aussa is intense, but before she became an “honest woman”, her prospective suitors had to not only sign a waiver and submit to a full battery of tests both physical and psychological, they had to present a copy of their last will and testament and proof that their internment arrangements had been finalized and paid for in full. Oh, and she is the only female in recorded history to out-party Charlie Sheen, so you know she’s BAD-ASS.

7)  Years of classified operations with various clandestine government agencies have made her the only person with enough security clearance to greet President Obama with “What’s happen’, Hot Chocolate!” without being gunned down by the Secret Service.

8)  Screw that beer-swilling, hairy, old bastard with the hookers, Aussa Lorens is The Most Interesting Man in the World.

9)  Her literary collaboration with yours truly, “Hacker. Ninja. The Hook. Spy: Aussa and Robert Conquer the World.” is due next year from What The Frak? Press.

10)  Her army of trained squirrels is almost ready to strike, so make your allegiance to her known or suffer the consequences.

This concludes the revelations for today, my friends. Carry this knowledge with you and make good use of it as you walk Aussa’s planet.


To be clear, this post is my not-creepy-at-all love letter to one of the coolest chicks on the planet, and is in no way a lame attempt to fill space before NaBloPoMo ends.

See you in the lobby, kids…


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Why The Comedy Network Should Love Me Like Donald Trump Loves The Sound Of His Own Voice.

For my international friends who dwell in caves: The Comedy Network is one of the coolest networks in the Multiverse, with shows that are both intelligent and so funny you should have to sign a waiver before tuning in… because you’re going to risk fatal injury from laughter.


And I want to join their star-studded ranks.

But not just any hack with a few jokes can earn a place among the higher echelon of professional yukmeisters. A high-class comedy factory like the Comedy Network must get at least a dozen pitches. A year. Yessir, it takes a special breed of comedic jackass to make their pitch stand out from the drooling, hungry-for-Canadian-fame pack.

But the question is, how the H-E-Double-Upside-Down-Slightly-Askew-Candy-Canes am I going to pull that off? I bounce fourteen dollar checks on a regular basis so bribery is out. I don’t have access to farm animals. (I hear the Comedy people really love sheep; if you get my drift.) I’m not one of the so-called “pretty people” that are rumored to live somewhere in Canada. I’m not a stand-up comedian with years of experience and a legion of fans who are willing to kill – or at the very least, maim – at my command. And I don’t have a PR team, a manager named Scooter or even a white trash mom with a YouTube account.

So, unlike that time at Rick Patrone’s house party when I was blessed enough to get a make-out session with Stephanie Toffalo, only to blow it by using wire cutters to cut off the new bra her mother just bought her (I’m pretty sure the snaps were designed by the Marquis de Sade), I’m completely screwed.

Still, everyone loves an underdog, right? And I’ve spent more time under dogs than anyone I know, so I should be a shoe-in!

So here we go, five reasons why I, Robert “The Hook” Hookey, deserve a show on The Comedy Network.

5)  I may not have the uber-talented, comedy-producing vagina of Amy Schumer (whom I respect as a human being as well), but I’ve been called a pussy all my life, so…

4)  I’ve been a bellman in the Canadian tourist mecca of Niagara Falls for almost twenty years.

And yes, after almost two decades of dealing with sexually adventurous accountants, cosplaying hookers, Louis Farrakhan’s heavily-armed entourage, maniacal rug rats, cross-dressing pastors, bi-polar Mounties, drunken soldiers, tipsy casting agents, Hollywood D-Listers with delusions of recapturing their former glory, real-life mad scientists, O.J. Simpson, serial cheaters, bucket listers, thieves, boozy barristers, hellish hockey moms, rage-filled hockey dads, sapphic soccer moms, TV Dragons, schizophrenic party planners, Little Bo Peep on Spanish Fly, Dracula on acid (and no, it wasn’t Halloween), murderers, trust fund brats that make the Kennedys look well-behaved, unnatural disasters that make a Sharknado look like Sunday brunch with Bob Newhart, twincest, raging day drinkers, Strombo, drug addled millionaires, wannabe super models, exceptionally ditzy dance moms, fast food franchisees frantic to get their freak on, rabid purse puppies, trophy wives, amateur adult film stars, would-be adult film directors, that Wealthy Barber guy, A-List American actors who long for temporary obscurity (though not too temporary, of course), Canadian actors who long to be recognized (even though they refuse to admit it), families whose genetic line should be wiped from history if we ever perfect time travel, and Scully from The X-Files, I have a tale or two to tell.

Incidentally, that was just one week.

In January.

3)  The best part about my “work”? It’s all real (mostly), so there’s no need to keep paying – and occasionally feeding and vaccinating – a roomful of writers whose primary concern is to please their network masters so as to avoid being sent back to:

  • Their mom’s basement.
  • New Jersey.
  • CNN.

2)  I’m a pasty, balding forty-something white guy. We’re in short supply these days, especially in the melting pot that is our modern society, so a wise network would snatch me up for collectible purposes if nothing else.

1)  My childhood memories alone could fill five seasons of a television series, one that would make the gods themselves weep at its brilliance.

Growing up in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, afforded me the opportunity to enjoy a childhood wthat was a mixture of National Lampoon and Playboy. Life was good.

And speaking of good, a young lady named Cheryl Williams embodied everything that was good about the 1970s: her hair was as golden as McDonalds’ arches, society permitted girls to eat back then so her shapely form was considered highly attractive by all the boys at our middle school and her chest, well, her chest was a thing of beauty. She was Pamela Anderson before Pamela Anderson was Pamela Anderson.

And the best thing about Cheryl Williams? Her mom.

Yes, her mom preceded Stacy’s Mom by a few decades. Momma Williams was a cougar before the term existed and so her progeny followed her lead and flirted with every male in our school. Teachers of both genders loved her. Girls wanted to be her. Boys had to run away from her before their biology overwhelmed them. The attention went to her young head and in an act of self-promotion that predated the Gaga era, she began to spread the word that her mom was away every weekend with various “uncles” and that she hated the curtains in her bedroom – so she took them down. Cheryl also made it known that she went to bed every night at precisely the same time and that her bedroom window was located directly beside a cable TV tower positioned in her driveway by a brilliant cable company employee with glorious foresight.

Her legend grew to the point that my friends decided to launch a Tolkienesque quest to catch a glimpse of her “two towers”. There were five of us in the Fellowship of the Fling:

  1.  The requisite Fat Kid who as I recall, was never seen without a food item of some sort clutched between his doughy sausage link fingers.
  2.  Foreign Kid, Fat Kid’s relative by marriage. We never did figure out just where Foreign Kid hailed from. Then again, in those days no one cared.
  3.  The middle-of-the-road, white-but-not-too-white, average kid who never spoke up or stood out in any way. The type of boy who grows up to achieve infamy as the guy on the block with seventeen bodies buried under his basement.
  4.  The Great Aryan Hope. The embodiment of the ultimate German male, GAH was tall, blonde, blue-eyed and the best athlete in our school. Bucking convention, he was neither a bully or overly-confident when it came to the ladies, which explains, as you’ll soon see, why he threw me under the bus that night.
  5.  And that left a skinny, blonde kid who shared GAH’s background but little else. I had a European background but my blood was definitely not Aryan.

Of course, my friends were convinced we were all going to lose our virginity. You know that term has always bothered me; “lose your virginity”? The word lose implies an accident. Trust me, I spent years attempting to beat my virginity to death before I realized I’d need help to vanquish it for good.

To be honest, that’s where my memory begins to get… hazy. When you’re young all you care about is growing up; you never stop to consider the price of aging in a world where we overload our brains with sensory input – not to mention alcohol and various pharmaceuticals, both prescribed and not-so-prescribed.

As you’ll soon see, though, my friends weren’t actually worthy of a place in my Hall of Memories.

Getting back to our quest, we set out as a single unit one fateful night, youthful libidos at the ready, to ensure our place in middle school history by sneaking across Cheryl Williams’ driveway and scaling said tower to witness her greatness with our own eyes. And of course I don’t have to tell you who was elected to go first, do I?

One of the great ironies of my existence as a tall man has been my fear of heights, a fear that can be traced back to the night I ascended my personal version of Mount Doom to feast my tweenage eyes upon Cheryl’s unclad milky white flesh. After a climb that felt as though it took my entire childhood to complete (one of my friends kept softly shouting “If you die, can I have your comics?”), I arrived at the Promised Land.

There she lay, spread eagle on her pink bed in her insanely pink room, (honestly, it was as though she never left the womb) clad in a white blouse that was bursting at the seams, her outstretched legs swaying back and forth as she read a Tiger Beat magazine.

If you’ll allow me to get technical for a moment, folks – not that you have any choice – the principal characteristic of voyeurism is that the voyeur does not normally relate directly with the subject of his/her interest. Yet, in this case the hunter was in fact the hunted, as my casting as Peeping Tom #1 merely filled a role in a drama young Cheryl herself had written. To that end, she cast her eyes in the direction of her make-up mirror (years later I would come to realize she had been waiting for someone, anyone, to take the bait and she was merely checking the mirror to see if anyone had been brave enough to actually show up), and after a moment of self-reflection she rose and began to strip.


A sheltered lad, ignorant in the ways of the world, especially where the fairer sex was concerned, I had never seen a schoolgirl au naturel, never mind one with an ecdysiast mindset, and so I have created a myth concerning this night in my mind over the years. But the truth is, Ms. Williams was the consummate sexpot, in mind as well as body; she took her time as she disrobed, allowing me ample time to fully appreciate her beauty. Her epidermis was unblemished, her limbs were taut, her bosom was unequaled and her tushie was the Stradivarius of posteriors. Needless to say, I was in love.

That night I was James Bond, Batman and Shaft all rolled into one. I was Luke Skywalker after Princess Leia planted one on him in The Empire Strikes Back. (Yeah, she was his sister, but no one knew it back then, not even George Lucas, bless his twisted heart.)

A pane of glass separated us, but in that moment Cheryl Williams and I were bonded by an unbreakable bond that would outlast time itself.

Of course, it was at that very moment that my role in this little farce went downhill – literally. Just like that Greek kid who failed to heed his father’s warnings, I flew too close to the sun and my wings began to melt. For those of you requiring further clarification: it took two hands to maintain a safe grip on that cable tower… and one hand to masturbate.

You do the math.

As one grip intensified, another weakened. Gravity was indeed a heartless bitch as I plummeted to earth. My brief existence flashed before my eyes but since my life at that time was all about comic books and Doctor Who episodes, and since I’d already read all my comics and I’d seen every episode of The Doctor’s adventures available at that time, I think I nodded off. Ironic, isn’t it? I was about to fall to my death during my inaugural adventure as a peeping tom and I couldn’t even enjoy the whole “life flashing before my eyes” thing.

And so I napped on the way down. Until I my trip came to a softer ending than I was anticipating, that is.

As it turns out, Cheryl had omitted a few details from her bio, and one of those omissions was a St. Bernard named Moose. A short time after this night, August 12, 1983, to be exact, a film based on the Stephen King novel about a killer dog named Cujo was released.

If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t. In fact, I’m begging you to avoid viewing this film. If you disregard my warning there are only two possible outcomes and they both suck for yours truly. 

  1. You’ll dig your eyes out with an ice cream scoop and I’ll get sued by your sighted relatives who will no doubt claim I’ve ruined your chances of ever realizing your dream of achieving fame and fortune as an eyeball model.
  2. You’ll scour the web until you locate my home address and before I can say “Blame Stephen King, he wrote the damn story!”, you’ll be knocking on my front door. To “thank” me. With a machete.

It also occurs to me that by imploring you to avoid watching Cujo, I’ve actually issued a challenge to your subconscious that it will be unable to avoid answering.Oh well, my list of regrets isn’t long enough anyway.

Now where was I? Oh yeah, Moose, the Dog Who Saved My Life. As you’ve no doubt surmised by now, I’m not exactly a master of the dramatic reveal and so I’m simply going to cut to the table, lay my cards out on the bush, stop beating around the chase and stop mixing metaphors. The truth is this:

My friends and I set out one night to spy on one of our more nubile classmates and I fell from a two-story cable tower while watching the same grandstanding schoolgirl put on a show for me and in the process I landed on her St. Bernard.

Boys will be boys, right?


But back to Moose. He may have broken my fall, but I still went down harder than Ginger Lynn in the 1985 adult film classic, Kinky Business. And trust me, that’s pretty hard. I became well acquainted with the gravel in Cheryl’s driveway while testing the strength of my still-developing skull. My eyesight had yet to deteriorate so I wasn’t sporting any eye wear but I was compelled to cover my boyish good looks with my suddenly-unencumbered hands – which were soon covered in a mixture of driveway dust and crimson liquid, courtesy of a dozen small cuts.

Old school Bond never bled.

So there I was, groaning and silently cursing the hormones that led to my literal downfall in the first place, when my self-pity gave way to confusion, bewilderment and fear when I rolled over and looked up at Moose’s heaving, drooling face. He just gave me a look that said:

“Seriously, Two-Legs? This is how you initiate a mating ritual? Just do what I do; sniff a female’s butt, take a deep breath and hop on! Easy peasy!”

Or something like that. Truth be told, I was far too occupied with overriding my body’s overwhelming urge to void my bowels all over Cheryl Williams’ driveway to focus on my canine language translating skills. Fortunately, his message delivered, Moose simply sniffed me for an eternity before wandering away, no doubt nursing a mother of a backache. I can only assume he picked up a hearty whiff of my mixed emotions – and the gallon of urine I was barely holing back – and decided I wasn’t worthy of his time.

The sigh of relief I was planning to release died in my lungs as Moose shuffled back into the night. Once her dog had returned to his post, I cast my gaze skyward and Cheryl Williams came back into view. In addition to a flimsy sheer nightgown

(pink, naturally)

she wore an expression that was equal parts disappointment and righteous indignation, with just an inexplicable hint of elation. I had failed to play my role to her expectations and so the drama she had written in her young head was not going to play out on this particular night. I could actually feel the heat of her gaze on my damaged cheeks and I remember wondering when she was going to finally turn away and allow me to literally pick myself up, dust myself off and start again when I felt the cool night air all over my wounded body – and I mean all over

Yep, as it turns out, “Mini-Me” was still present and standing at attention. Now in my forties, I often find myself returning to that night and envying my member’s perseverance. “Yes I can”, indeed.

I’d like to tell you that this story had a happy ending – eventually – but the truth is, the conclusion was a mixed bag, at best. It was agonizingly brief but I got to enjoy a helluva show before almost dying. I learned the value of true friendship after my buddies bailed on me. Cheryl Williams went easy on me and kept the details of that night to herself, although she never spoke to me ever again. And finally, I discovered that performance anxiety would never be a problem for me.

Suck on that Fred Savage of The Wonder Years.

breakMy legion of followers: (Yes, I realize I’m contributing to the devaluation of the word “legion. Shut up.)  This is where you come in. (Yes, I know you’re thinking “That’s what she said, Hook!”, but please try and concentrate, okay?)  I need your help. Here’s what I need yo to do:

  •  Take a break from downloading increasingly-shameful dolphin pornography and click on the Comedy Network link right here.
  •  Before you got lost in Comedy’s awesome comedic black hole, click on one of the social media links in the right-hand corner.
  •  Share this post or any of my work with the good folks at Comedy.
  •  Use the hashtag “#TeamHook, if it strikes your fancy.
  •  Woo them in any way you choose: poetry, song, rant, maybe you have an aunt who happens to be a little loose with her affections… whatever, just putting it out there.
  •  Accept my thanks in advance.

See you in the lobby, kids…


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My Life: A Tragedy In Four Parts.

In my world, it’s all about what you say, who you say it to and how you say it. A bellman only has a few minutes to hook a guest, snag that tip and reel it in... and it can all change in an instant. So for me, dialogue is everything.


BACHELORETTE #2:  We’ve got a bottle of champagne left over if you want it, Mr. Bellman.

ME:  I don’t drink, but thanks.

BACHELORETTE #2:  You don’t drink?

ME:  I’m afraid not.

BACHELORETTE #2:  Do you do drugs?

ME:  Strike two.

BACHELORETTE #2:  What do you do?

ME:  I watch a fair bit of porn.

BACHELORETTE #2:  (Spitting out her coffee all over her Guess bag.)  Seriously?

ME:  Hey, don’t knock it. My liver is intact, my life isn’t spiraling into a drug-addled abyss and overall, I’m pleased with my choice of vice. My biggest concern is carpal tunnel.

BACHELORETTE #2:  (After lifting her jaw back into place.)  I like you. What’s your name?

ME:  You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.

BACHELORETTE #2:  The Hook?  Is that ’cause your junk is curved?


A middle-aged white couple, day drinkers of the lowest order, check in and call down to the Bell Desk after checking in to request their luggage. I arrive at the room a few minutes later only to discover the door is ajar. However, before I can knock, a distinctive squeaking sound breaks the silence of the hall. This is followed by a series of female moans, each one longer than the last, emanating from the room.

An older couple walks by and sees me standing dumbfounded by the door. They hear the sexual symphony but undeterred, they make their way to the elevators around the corner.

MARGARET:  Did you hear that, Harold?

HAROLD:  Of course, I did, woman! I pay attention to everything else but you!

MARGARET:  Have you ever heard anything like that before?

HAROLD:  Not for forty years, woman!

After a minute of internal debate and much snickering, I knock on the door.


(To be clear, I believe she was answering me rather making a statement.)


ME:  Not anymore you’re not!


 To suggest that a “few” bachelorette parties visit my hotel is like saying the Kardashians have a few idiosyncrasies.  These groups of females (we call them Swamp Donkeys), wreaks havoc in my hotel and many of them bring bags of “toys” and naughty baked goods. This particular party brought a penis-shaped cake large enough to fill an entire beer cooler. I was fortunate enough to deal with them the next day…

ME:  Did you save me any cake, ladies?

BACHELORETTE #1:  No, but we thought of you as we devoured it.

ME:  I hope you didn’t use teeth. I hate that.


In this day and age most people play it pretty fast and loose with their moral code (to say the least), and so prostitutes can be found walking the halls of my hotel at any hour of the day. Fortunately for me, they make for great story fodder. 

One such statuesque, crimson-haired call girl was hired by a small, drunken French businessman. Unfortunately for Napoleon Lite, he couldn’t use his room to entertain his new friend – his wife was already using it.

(Incidentally, I managed to fill in the gaps in this story by calling on my sources in Security. But let’s continue, shall we?)

And so this odd couple was forced to relocate to an alternate location to copulate. I happened upon them while I was bringing a family of four to the lobby in our service elevator. We rounded a corner in the “back of the house” and there they were: She was on her knees playing Josephine and began to gag when she looked to her right and spotted us. He merely zipped up and turned away, remaining motionless. As she continued to gag, I could only think of one thing to say…

“Got a little frog in your throat, miss?”

Yeah, I’m horrible… but I’ve made peace with that a long time ago.

By the way, I hope I haven’t used some of this material before but it’s so easy to lose track of these things. Still, as long as you laughed until you suffered a bodily injury, I can walk away knowing I’ve done my job.

See you in the lobby, kids…








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The Perfect Tree.

The temperature has plummeted, unbelievably-annoying Christmas songs are polluting the airwaves, Black Friday is almost upon us  and so I felt inspired to share an early holiday post… on second thought, let’s scratch the politically correct BS, shall we? I realize Canada is a great melting pot, but unlike Starbucks, I refuse to alter a lifetime of habits and say “the holiday season” instead of what it actually is in Canada… Say it with me…

The Christmas season!

Whew… I don’t know about you, but I feel better. Let’s proceed, shall we?


As Chevy Chase demonstrates every holiday season, the best intentions aren’t always enough when it comes to creating a picture-perfect Christmas.

Much like Clark Griswold, my late father-in-law, Jack, once took it upon himself one year to recreate the memory of the perfect Christmas that he had carried with him since childhood.

Jack’s childhood was reflective of the era he grew up in; his father was a Man’s Man who could work sixteen hours a day, wrestle a bear during his walk home from work and still manage to find the time and energy to hoist his six kids up on his shoulders – simultaneously – without breaking a sweat. His mother could keep a house immaculate, nourish her family with mouthwatering meals, get them all off on their respective ways in the morning and still manage to reach out to friends and neighbors in need. The woman made June Cleaver look like Roseann Barr – after a two-week bender.

Jack’s parents certainly weren’t rich, but unlike many families of the time, their children never went without at Christmas. They always had gifts under the tree, but more importantly, they came to embrace and value the importance of family. And so when Jack matured and had his own family, he focused his energies on devising a plan to ensure his family’s holiday traditions would continue.

The key component to that plan? The ultimate tree.

Store-bought trees are strictly taboo when constructing holiday perfection, so my father-in-law found himself a big, beautiful, green-as-Kermit-tree and set it up in the family room for his wife, Rose, to decorate to perfection. Before she could do that, however, it fell to him to maintain a tree that stood straight as an arrow – no matter what.

“My dad always used sand to keep to the tree straight, so we couldn’t knock it over no matter how many times we ran into it while tearing around the living room. But I didn’t have any sand.” Jack recalled. “So I improvised.”

And that improvisation has become the stuff of family legend.

As the story goes, Jack walked into the living room one cold December morning expecting to cast his eyes upon the Ultimate Christmas Tree, a sight magnificent enough to bring Charles Dickens to his knees. What he found, however, was a sight horrifying enough to send Chevy Chase screaming all the way back to Saturday Night Live.

His perfect tree was gone and in its place stood a brown-as-dirt wooden pole, fully-decorated but without a single needle hanging from its limp, naked branches.

“I just don’t understand it.” Jack told his father. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

“A real tree needs plenty of water. Did you keep water in the pail, son?” was his father’s only question.

“Water?” Jack was dumbfounded. In his zeal he had focused solely on keeping the tree straight. “I didn’t put any water in the pail, Dad.”

“You didn’t put anything in there?”

“Sure I did!” Jack proudly announced. “I put cement in there to keep the tree straight!”

And that was the moment, kids, that my father-in-law learned water was the real difference between an artificial tree and the real deal.

“You big dummy!” his father bellowed, “You need to keep water in there or the tree will die!

He may not have created the perfect Christmas he had envisioned in his mind, but Jack went one better: he created a timeless family holiday legend/memory.

Merry NaBloPoMo Christmas, everyone.

See you in the lobby, kids…


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How Not To Train Your Bellman.

To anyone considering pursuing a career in the hospitality biz: Do don’t do this while away from home!  I am a self-trained Wisenheimer with a lifetime of experience. Not to mention the fact I have a horseshoe firmly lodged in my backside…

Customer service is arguably the most important factor in running a successful hotel.

Sure, you can spend millions of dollars ensuring your rooms have a kick-ass view, million-count Egyptian sheets covering the beds (“Million-count Egyptian Sheets: Now With More Real Egyptian!“), all the amenities known to man, but in the end, unless you can give your guests the one thing everyone wants (sex), you have to rely on customer service to set you apart from the ridiculously-overcrowded hospitality pack. In my almost-two decades as a bellman I’ve encountered hundreds of repeat guests who have had dozens of hiccups during their stay but keep coming back to the hotel because of the personal relationships they’ve forged with staff.

Never underestimate the value of the personal touch, kids. The average guest interaction lasts for a few minutes but as I always tell my wife, you’d be amazed at what can be accomplished in a few minutes.

Moving on…

As important as customer service is, there are moments when it has to take a backseat to karmic justice. I’ve always believed that the energy you expel into the world will be returned to you – so it certainly helps to pump positive energy out as often as you can. Sure, everyone has a bad day, a day where your normal self becomes a raging D-Bag, but unfortunately, for some folks those days are the norm.

I served a woman yesterday who refused to let go of her negative thoughts. In fact, it appeared as though she was bound and determined to have a terrible vacation.

She wore a miserable expression when she walked through the hotel’s $250,000 revolving door.

She spewed venom when she realized her group was too early to check in and her only recourse was to store their luggage at the Bell Desk.

And her demeanor definitely didn’t improve when I brought their bags out from our storage room.

The doorway leading out of our backroom is of average size but with a dozen luggage carts sitting on the other side, it can sometimes be a bit tricky to navigate a fully-loaded cart from the storage room to the lobby.

Plus, I’m a dumbass, so…

And so I was not a bit surprised when the cart I was pulling lost a brown paper shopping bag. It fell face down from its perch on top of a pile of jackets, landing on the marble floor a mere foot from it’s original location. All in all, no big deal, right?

Not quite.

I picked the bag up and its contents spilled out: Two scarves and an iPad in a hard pink plastic cover. And then, friends, all hell really broke loose.


This woman definitely didn’t epitomize grace under pressure, did she? Her husband remained calm. Her female friend remained calm. Her friend’s male companion remained calm. I remained calm.

But she lost it.

And that set me off. I refused to engage my customer service skills, choosing instead to educate the raving lass in simple travel survival skills.

“Electronic devices aren’t cheap these days, miss… to say the least.  If you’re going to bring your tablet with you, you really need to pack it in something other than an open paper shopping bag.”

The look on her panicked face said it all: She was expecting me to grovel for forgiveness, not school her. But school her I did… big time.

Her husband just stood there, frozen with fear, as she ran over to our desk and examined her precious tablet. Which, by the way, was perfectly fine. Their friends asked her husband to begin removing bags, but he honestly didn’t have the guts to do so.

Eventually, he pitched in and the trio removed everything. He tipped me. (The ultimate sign of a job well done. No one tips you if they’re pissed off.)  Their friends thanked me several times as she continued to wait for an apology that wasn’t gong to materialize. They left a moment later and I basked in the adoration of my colleagues who were once again in awe of the size of my… nerve.

She may never return to the hotel. If I’m lucky.

Another day at the salt mines.

See you in the lobby, kids…


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More Travel Tips From The Hook.

As any detective or reporter worth their salt will tell you, the key to understanding a subject often lies not in what they have to say, but rather what they throw away.

For example, I spent precisely thirty seconds examining the temporary occupants of Room 4257 when they checked in two days ago, and all I gleamed was this:

  • She was a young, statuesque Italian girl who loved to show a ridiculous amount of leg and whose cleavage was a thing of beauty.
  • She was vain and loved the attention her fashion choices garnered from those around her.
  • He was a young Tony Soprano, heavy-set and so Italian his veins most likely contained Ragu spaghetti sauce rather than blood.

Not much to go on is it?

A cursory glance really doesn’t reveal much. Were they decent young people? Did they like to get freaky? Did they like their drink? Were they boring or party animals?

However, when they checked out and their room was cleaned, the picture became clear. I rolled my luggage cart past their room this morning and I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the contents of their room’s refuse.

  • A box of incredibly-cheap wine.
  • Several bags of chips and candy.
  • A pair of fuzzy handcuffs.
  • Three Magnum condom wrappers.
  • One bottle of Reddi-wip, real whip topping.
  • A bottle of Astroglide lubricant.
  • Two pairs of ladies underwear so cheap and trashy, even a hooker would have second thoughts about donning them.

And finally.. the pièce de résistance – two of ’em, in fact…

  • One empty package for a male “Seal Team Hero” costume.
  • One empty package for a female sheep onesie costume.

No, you didn’t have yet another acid flashback; there really was a female sheep onesie costume in their garbage bag. At least they were practicing safe – but nutty – sex, right? Just an aside: It’s amazing how many cans of Reddi-wip I’ve been bringing into the hotel lately. Funny thing is, guests never seem to have any food to go along with their real whipped cream topping. Hmm…

tumblr_mch5a6kkhh1qzx4bjo1_500It’s definitely not just for Halloween anymore, kids…

So what have we learned, folks? There’s nothing wrong with getting freaky on vacation… but if you want to keep it undercover, you better bring a few industrial strength garbage bags.

As always, the advice is free. I’m just happy to enlighten the traveling public.

See you in the lobby, kids…


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This is a blast from the past, courtesy of some much-needed blog archive housekeeping. Thanks again, NaBloPoMo.


AUGUST 28, 2012

The last few days have been particularly rough at the hotel. Summer is beginning to fade away but the truly “special” guests continue to emerge from the trailer parks, the hospitals, the projects, etc. It is a challenging time to serve the traveling public – to say the least.

I should be used to the routine by now, but every day brings a new challenge and thus new headaches. And so it was that on this day I retreated to my usual hiding place, my “Fortress of Solitude”, the local casino’s food court, conveniently located a short walk away from my personal Thunderdome.


Yes, believe it or not, you can actually find some solitude in a casino – if you know where to look. I have a little corner I hole up in for a half-hour every day and it is glorious. There, the crazies can’t find me.

But there’s no hiding from fate. In this case, fate dropped a quiet, unassuming, man named Larry into my life to serve as a reminder of how little we truly understand about our very existence.

And how fragile and brief it can be.

LARRY:  That sure smells good.

His simple observation roused me from my usual routine of scanning The National Post while chomping away at two slices of pizza. I looked over my shoulder to see a white-haired man in his golden years with a wide grin on his face and plenty of life in his eyes.

Or so I thought at the time.

THE HOOK:  Yeah, it’s pretty good. You can get some just around the corner in the food court..

LARRY:  Oh no, I’m not allowed. Do you know what a brain aneurysm is?

You have to admit, Larry knew how to employ a helluva ice breaker.

THE HOOK:  Sure.

LARRY:  Well, I have one.

Obviously, I was set back but I soldiered on.

THE HOOK:  And you have to amend your diet in order to deal with something like that?

LARRY:  You have to amend your whole life!

He pointed out his medic alert bracelet and informed me of his “Do Not Resuscitate” status. I really didn’t know what to say, but that didn’t matter; Larry wasn’t finished…

LARRY:  They told me I had three months to live.

I really didn’t want the answer to my next, oh-so-obvious query, but I had to keep going.

THE HOOK:  And how long do you have left?

LARRY:  Three days.

What the hell do you say to that? I wanted to point out that Niagara Falls, in spite of all its wonder, may not be the ideal place to spend your personal End of Days. A casino definitely isn’t suitable, unless you’re going to go out enjoying all the usual vices a casino contains, but this man didn’t seem the type. He seemed honorable and decent; the kind, funny neighbor or the shopkeeper at the end of the block.

Larry came to my rescue again and kept talking.

LARRY:  A bunch of my buddies from Waterloo brought me here on the bus, They’re upstairs gambling.

It seemed strange to me; a dying man’s friends bring him out for one last adventure and then abandon him to gamble, but I had to take Larry’s account at face value. Besides, people are capable of anything and are easily tripped up when dealing with such grim matters, so who can judge a man’s last wish? Certainly not I.

Larry excused himself abruptly, having spotted his friends. He joined them and together they walked off, out of my life forever. Almost.

I lingered for a few minutes, pondering the surreal events of the previous few minutes. I immediately realized the inescapable truth: These things happen every day to me. Why should I be surprised at all?

And so I returned to the hotel – and my life as usual… which is far from usual. Coincidentally, I’ve been to the casino many times but I never returned there for lunch again.


This post has been sitting in my archive for years. I don’t remember why I never published it. I think it may have been too much for me to process at the time. Years later, I would watch the greatest man I’ve ever known leave this world for whatever, if anything, that lies beyond. That experience changed me profoundly.

Now I feel I can deal with anything, and so I’ve been reading this post with a sort of emotional detachment. I’m finally ready to publish it.

Wherever you are, Larry, sorry for the delay.

See you in the lobby, kids…


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