The Hook Gets Philosophical.

When I was a boy I could never have imagined a time that my existence would be over.

When I was a young man at the height of my perceived invincibility, I was convinced I was going to live forever.

Now I am in the throes of a middle-aged crisis and my mortality is an ever-present issue. From the persistent aching in my knee to the breakdown of my stomach function, it has become inescapably apparent that my existence is indeed finite.

And when my golden years envelop me fully the Reaper will be ever at the corner of my vision, waiting to extend his icy hand forward and accompany me to what lies beyond this veil.

Pretty uplifting post so far, right?

 

Ideally, my golden years would be reminiscent of those rapscallions in the BBC’s Last of the Summer Wine; traversing the English countryside with a spring in my step.

 

Today I met two travelers who have journeyed together for over 58 years. They have been friends, lovers, husband and wife. And now it is clear to them that the journey is nearing its inevitable conclusion.

“She has stomach cancer and I have emphysema. We both know the end isn’t far off,” he said without a hint of bitterness, only acceptance, “and we’re okay with it.”

“We sure are.” she echoed his sentiment. “Even the worst days of our lives were the best because we had each other.” And then she brought to my metaphorical knees.

“I wouldn’t want to be in this life without him. I want us to pop together.”

Her vocabulary was simultaneously heartbreaking and hilarious. As is my lot, my time with these lifelong traveling companions was brief but poignant. They came into my life at a time when I am wrestling with my own sense of self and mortality. I’ve been burning through far too much time asking myself why I’ve failed at certain goals, why I have yet to scale specific mountains; I have been demanding answers from the Universe that it is under no obligation to provide.

That needs to stop.

Today.

But let’s face it… it won’t. I’m human (I know, I hate it too) and this means I am riddled with self-doubt, anxiety and millions of other psychological issues. But that’s okay. After all, challenges are the fire in which our mettle is tested and our true selves are forged.

And so I owe my new friends a debt of thanks for providing me with some much-needed perspective. I hope they find the timed closure they so desire.

I hope I can find the balance I have so desperately been missing in my own life. 

I hope Stephen King doesn’t sue me for totally ripping off The Shawshank Redemption.

I hope.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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30 Things Canadians Will Say This Victoria Day.

Yes, it is the long weekend in Canada, also known as Victoria Day.

Ans yes, I’m still feeling out of sync with the rest of the Multiverse, so here is a quick but hopefully amusing post for your perusement. Here are thirty sentences that Canadians will utter today.

Besides, “What the hell is Victoria Day all about anyway?” I mean…

“Respect my sacred day or face my Royal wrath, Sir Hook!”

1)  “I have no idea how much I’ve had to drink today, Marge… and frankly, I don’t care!”

2)  “Okay, we’ll (insert normally-forbidden sex act of your choice) but only this once because my mother has the kids!  This isn’t becoming a habit!”

3)  “Did anyone watch the new Twin Peaks last night?  Does anyone know what the hell that was all about?  I thought my maybe weed had gone bad!”

4)  Let’s take a selfie!”

5)  “Hey, you know what would be fun?  Let’s take a post-coital selfie!”

Followed, of course, by…

6)  “I’m not going to put it on the net or show it to my friends… I swear!”

7)  “Actually, I think Trump’s not doing a half-bad job.”

To which the only reply can possibly be…

8)  “No, I’m not high!  Or suddenly retarded!”

9)  “For the last time, we’re not bringing another girl into our bed!  I don;t care what you read online… not all women have that fantasy!”

10)  “Why do those bastards always raise the price of gas on holiday weekends?”

11)  I wasn’t talking to her for too long… and I wasn’t staring at her rack.  For your information, I was just being  friendly.”

12)  “WHO WANTS A BURGER!”  (It’s a statement that’s always hollered, never spoken… hence the cps and slammer.)

13)  “I swear to God, if you tell me we’re out of beer I’m taking a flamethrower to this place!”

14)  “The Leafs suck ass!  The haven’t won a Stanley Cup in eight hundred years!  Why the hell don’t we trade the whole damn team?”

15)  “Who’s idea was it to go to Niagara Falls on a holiday weekend?”

 

We shall now pause for a gratuitous sex shot…

 

At least it’s a Canadian sex shot…

16)  “I’ve never seen so many goddamn (insert the ethnic group of your choice) in one place before!”

You may be bristling right now, but I am merely a speaker of truth.  Deal with it.

17)  “Best… Monday… Ever!”

Until the hangover the next day…

18)  “I swear to God, God, I’m never doing that again.  Just heal me with angel power, okay?”

19)  When the hell is Trudeau going to legalize weed?  That’s the only reason I voted for the bastard!”

20)  “Are you kids ever going to look up from your phones?”

21)  “When I was a kid we didn’t have damn cellphones… if we wanted to talk to our friends we got on our damn bikes and we rode the twenty miles uphill to their house!”

22)  “Yes, I swear it was twenty miles!”

23)  “Oh, I’m sorry, Boss… I don;t tip on holidays… because of my religion you know.”

Apparently being a cheap bastard is a religious thing these days.

24)  “What the hell has Trump done now?”

25)  “What do you mean this park doesn’t have Wi-Fi, mom?”

26)  “I swear, if you kids don’t shut up back there, not only will I turn this car around… I’ll drive it head-on into the pumps at the next Petro-Canada we pass!  We’ll all die in a fiery inferno and I’ll be laughing with delight the whole time!”

Incidentally, that was the best part of every family trip I ever took as a kid.

27)  “What do you mean the barbecue’s out of propane?  I swear I ‘ll burn this place to the ground!  What?  Well, I’ll use something other than propane then, Marge!”

28)  “Did you guys watch the latest SNL?  Yes, people still watch SNL!  Well, everyone I know still watches it.  Okay, not everyone…”

29)  “Seriously, Hook?  A Victoria Day post at the end of the day?  Kinda screwed the pooch on that one, didn’t ya?”

Followed, naturally, by…

30)  “Shut up.”

See you in the lobby, kids…

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Canada 150 Revisited.

You guessed it, it’s another virtual celebration of Canada’s big-ass birthday… in other words, The Hook’s blocked so he turned to some interweb allies to flesh out a post.

Allies rock.

Like the lovely and ridiculously-talented Sara Mitich of Murdoch Mysteries, The Expanse and dozens of tweets I’ve exploited retweeted. This young lady is not only easily-accessible to her fans, she has a genuinely-kind heart and eyes that reveal a beautiful soul. And it doesn’t hurt that she’s drop-dead gorgeous…

“Don’t forget, I have a brain, Hook!”  Never, Sara.

  1.  Home.
  2.  Kind.
  3.  Breathtaking.
  4.  Abundant.
  5.  Peaceful.

Told ya she was awesome. And yes, smart as a whip.

 

In keeping with the MM theme, let’s hear from Murdoch super-fan, Brian Laufman, shall we?

  1.  Free
  2.  Proud
  3.  Compassionate
  4.  Welcoming
  5.  Ambitious.

I want to thank BL for representing those of us who aren’t internationally-known super stars of stage and screen. Good job, man. Brian encapsulates the best qualities of the average-but-really-not-so-average Canadian: wit, charm, generosity and a kick-ass sense of humor. Incidentally, although he’s active on social media (to say the least!) BL is a private soul, so I’m going to be using one of his virtual avatars in lieu of an actual photo…

 

Now I think we should turn to medical science for a clinical opinion. Dr. Jess O’Reilly is not only the cyber world’s hottest, most knowledgeable MD/author/speaker/relationship expert, she actually follows me on Twitter and is always willing to give me the time of day.

 

“Home to the world.”

Okay, so that’s actually four words… but I learned long ago to never correct a sexy doctor. (A court order prevents me from disclosing the exact circumstances under which I acquired that bit of wisdom.)  But Dr. Jess’ choice is actually quire timely, considering the rampant xenophobia plaguing all nations these days. Canada has always welcomed people of every ethnicity, gender, belief systems. etc.

And we always will.

 

And speaking of sensual human beings… our good friend, Kenna James, was generous enough to throw five words my way while she was out shopping for a new furry pal:

  1.  North.  (Most definitely!)
  2.  Cold.     (Only the Canucks who don’t tip me.)
  3.  Friendly.  (That would apply to the Canucks who do tip me.)
  4.  Clean.   (Not my daughter’s room, but otherwise… yes!)
  5.  French.   (We don’t all speak the language but we certainly kiss that way.)

Kenna really is a genuinely-sweet gal, isn’t she? The more I read her tweets the more I realize just how cool a human being she really is.

 

And speaking of cool human beings who are also Dragons… (What?) It’s time to hear from a trailblazing Canadian entrepreneur I’ve long admired and been itching to feature on this blog. Namely, the amazing and magnificent Michele Romanow of the Canadian smash series that turns everyday business people into super stars, Dragons’ Den.

 

“Seriously, Hook?  You’re not compensating me for this?  Momma gots to get paid!”

Home. Supernatural. Diverse. Strong & Free.

I love these – especially “supernatural”! Then again, I should’ve expected nothing less from a Dragon, right?

 

Our old friend, Amanda Richer, is here to prove she’s a patriotic/powerful Canadian chick through-and-through:

 

“Vast. Beautiful. Adventurous. Sidney Crosby. Home.”

 

Now let’s hear from a guy who was born to be a Dragon Slayer – and most likely was in another life – Alden Adair of one of this season’s greatest, most ground-breaking shows in CBC and Canadian television history, Workin’ Moms.

 

“Seriously, Hook?  I don’t mind helping you out with a quote or two… but this is ridiculous!  I’m supposed to drive Catherine Reitman to the airport!”

Socialist-Colonialist, Contradiction but Home.

Alden may look like an Adonis but he has the heart and grey matter of a philosopher. He’s also one of this country’s most gifted stage actors. That’s right, kids, we may not have created Hamilton, but Canada is no slouch when it comes to stage performers.

But this country has always been underestimated by the world-at-large. Of course, we don;t mind that; after all, one of Canada’s most endearing traits is our humble nature. We know we’re great but we don’t like to brag about it. And since we’re on the subject of great-but-humble entities, here’s Dennis Andres, also of Workin’ Moms, to close out another adequate spectacular Canada 150 post.

 

“What Canada means to me in 5 words: Home.”

Now before you get all technical, Dennis has a good reason for issuing a one-word answer to a five-word query:

“Yeah man… “home” is the best and only way I can describe Canada for my family and I.  My mother uprooted and moved us all here for a brighter future. She spent 7 years trying to make it happen.  So I’m doing everything I can to fulfill what drove her for almost a decade.”

And yes, people, Dennis is quite a rare and honorable mammal, it’s true. It goes without saying that I am beyond grateful to everyone – especially D-Man – for contributing to this second tribute to our home and native land.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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My Life At The Moment…

Work has been anything but fun these days.

Not that anyone ever promised me that actually working for a living was ever supposed to be a super, super, fun ride on a unicorn while guzzling Jack Daniels. But lately I’ve realized there are issues occurring around me that will never change – because no one gives a damn about the people who recognize these issues in the first place.

And yes, I’m aware I’ve just described virtually every workplace on the face of the earth, thank you very much. And yes, I also realize I just actually referred to carrying luggage to a room via a cart and an elevator as “work”. Shut up.

We lost Uncle Johnny two weeks back after a sudden diagnosis and a mercifully-short illness. But at least he’s gliding with his beloved Helen behind the Pearly Gates. Have fun, you two.

I should’ve been a dentist.  Those guys really know how to unwind.

My IBS is a nightmare on toast. It’s lovely having a condition they advertise on late-night TV and between reruns of Judge Judy and Maury Povich. There’s nothing I enjoy more than spending an hour a night in the bathroom straining to expel whatever I’ve consumed that day from my broken body.

And the IBS “cure” (more of a treatment really) is far worse than the disease. The second I ingest my medication the countdown begins; before you know it, I go from being severely constipated (awesome post so far, right?) to being racked with pain from cramps. (I swear I have immense sympathy for every woman alive or dead. You’re all heroes for what your body forces you to go through every month.) The cramps are followed by a symphony of gurgling that is so loud and inhuman, even the dog can’t believe where it’s coming from.

And so I sit in the bathroom for hours after taking a pill, praying for death, sipping water and watching videos to kill the time and block the pain.

No, I’m not watching the videos you think I am, gang. I wish I was healthy enough and capable of enjoying filmed vignettes starring Mercedes Carrera and Kenna James at the moment… trust me. But to be honest,  lately I haven’t been watching anything – except for that goddamn buffering symbol swirling around and around.

And around.

You see, Bell Canada is our internet service provider. Except that lately all they’ve been providing me with is frustration. For the last few nights all I’ve done is wait as my phone buffers. Until I finally give up, resist the urge to hobble through the house while gripping my phone and launch it out the front door, and just the shut the godforsaken thing down, wait out my body’s unnatural sequencing and head back up to bed, slap in my night guard and try to go sleep. 

Yes, my stress has led to a wonderful side effect: I grind my teeth to dust every night! And so now I wear a night guard that makes me look like a low-rent Dracula; one that unfortunately isn’t sexy enough for my vampire-worshiping spouse. Not that I’d be up for “relations” after one of my bathroom sessions anyway.

Let’s see, what else has gone to hell lately?

Oh yeah, the freakin’ Niagara Falls Public Library’s online system has kicked me out again. First it rejects my account number and pin then it locks me out for entering an “incorrect” sequence. I now have a love/hate relationship with my local library system; my love for books is immense – but so is my hatred for whoever runs their system.

I’m no closer to achieving my goal of trailer for a series based on this blog. I know people who have similar ambitions and who are helping each other to make their dreams come true.

But none of these people gives a toss about lending me a hand. Never mind that I’ve done what I can to help these individuals; at the end of the day, I’m nothing to them. The same goes for agents and publicists I’ve deal with. The agents think I’m not famous enough to publish a memoir and the publicists know I’m not famous enough to be worthy of their time.

And oh yeah, the basement flooded this week after four days of rain. Bloody animals were marching down the street two-by-two as my walls and carpet filled up with water. And so we’ve ripped our finished basement apart for the second time in twelve years.

I now have a driveway worthy of “White Trash Monthly”…

 

So where does that leave me?

Depressed as hell but fully aware that I’m full of shit.

I own a home that is completely paid for. It’s still subject to Mother Nature’s mood swings… but it’s ours.

I have a hot wife that doesn’t vomit when I touch her. Sure we’re both busy as hell and that doesn’t leave much time for spontaneous coupling… but it still feels like the first time every time. And after twenty-two years that’s pretty darn spectacular.

Unlike many of my middle-aged white brethren I have never experienced erectile dysfunction. So at least I have something to look forward to in my golden years.

My kid is a gift from the All-Mighty – unlike most kids I see at work who are the spawn of the devil himself.

I have a stable of real and virtual kick-ass friends/acquaintances whose support keeps me from scouring garage sales and auctions in search of a vintage stove to hook up to a gas line so I can stick my head in it while holding a lit match. And yes, I realize it would be more efficient and make more sense to simply take a header into the Falls. Shut up again. Who told you to keep speaking?

I’m far from wealthy – or even rich – but I have a few bucks in the bank.

I’ve given away the bulk  of my comic book collection this week but I still have a few hundred t keep me occupied.

All in all my life is a blessed one.

So that’s me at the moment.

How are you, dear friends?

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Almost A Decade In And I’m Still Tinkering…

HOOK’S NOTE:  Balance is vital to a happy existence, friends. And so after a year of struggling to adapt a format on this blog that will please everyone (especially Big Brother) I’ve decided to carry on a proud tradition carved out by the men in my family for generations…

I’m giving up.

I’ll write 5x5s. I’ll write about the barely-operational roller coaster that is my life. And I’ll even write hotel stories – on occasion.

So let’s lead off with a tale that unfolded a few years back…

Classic…

The two young girls – giggling all the while – threw themselves at the guest elevator doors as they began their circuit-directed dance towards one another, barely squeezing their tightly-wrapped, nubile, twenty-something forms through in the nick of time.

They were Laverne & Shirley for a new age; a towering brunette in uber-naughty librarian glasses, a form-fitting Fifty Shades of Grey sweater that left nothing to the imagination (wasn’t that sweet of her?) and impossibly-tight leather pants and her bubble-headed BFF, a statuesque sun drenched blonde in a wet-t-shirt-ready white blouse that was woefully insufficient to withstand the chill in the lobby air (but I imagine she planned it that way), and a pair of faded blue jeans that one can only assume she literally grew into, that’s how snug they were.

CHERYL (THE NEW AGE LAVERNE):  Boy, we just made it, Meg! OW!

The action, which had barely begun, came to an abrupt pause when Cheryl leaned back in the elevator – and smashed her head against the glass display case containing hotel advertising. To her credit, she collected her wits – such as they were- and carried on carrying on.

CHERYL (AGAIN) That entrance was as tight as you used to be, Meg!

MEG (THE NEW AGE SHIRLEY)CHERYL! You take that back, you whore!

CHERYL:  No way, you slut! Remember, I’ve heard things… you dated my stepfather!

MEG:  We really didn’t “date”.

CHERYL:  No that’s right. You just let him go all Fifty Shades of Grey on you while he was separated from my mom.

MEG:  It wasn’t that bad…

CHERYL:  He used my mom’s scarves to blindfold you and tie you to saw horses in his garage.

MEG:  Yeah, well, there was that.… but after that, we stayed at my place! And it was only four months. That doesn’t even count these days.

CHERYL:  Fine. But it totally does. Anyway, you tramp, I saw your phone buzzing what did the boyfriend want?

MEG:  He says he misses me and he wishes I came with.

They were fascinating to watch; buzzing back and forth towards one another in a metal box that wasn’t up to the task of containing their kinetic energy. They truly were a product of an age more concerned with instant gratification than long-term growth. These chicks had more Red Bull and Diet Coke in their system than hemoglobin. But enough commentary, back to the action!

 

This was one of those days you thank Dog you didn’t go to work high…

CHERYL:  He went to Vegas. With his buddies. He doesn’t want the dirty chick he’s banging tagging along. He can pay a hooker up there to do almost everything you do, but without the drama.

MEG:  HEY! He said he wishes I came with!

CHERYL:  What’s he going to say? “I really love you but all my buddies are getting hookers and even though you do girls too, I hate to be left out so I really have to leave you with Cheryl in Niagara Falls while I do some nasty overpriced bitches here in Vegas, okay?”

MEG:  (Head down while pouting.)  He said he wishes I came with.

After a nanosecond of pondering, well, whatever girls like this ponder, Meg rewound her memory.

MEG:  Hey, what do you mean ‘He can pay a hooker up there to do almost everything you do, but without the drama.?”

CHERYL:  You gotta admit, you do things most hookers would charge extra for.

MEG:  Like what?

CHERYL:  Let’s see…

As Cheryl dredged her memory banks, Meg began to wise up – slightly.

MEG:  WAIT!

Too late. The list, in all its naughty glory, began to verbally unfold.

CHERYL:  French kissing… anywhere, anytime. Threesomes. X-rated cosplay. Bondage. Double penetration. Girl-girl…

MEG:  That was with you!

CHERYL:  So! It still counts! Where was I ? Oh yeah… Beer bottles in your hootchie. Butt plugs… in your butt AND the boyfriend’s… And… I guess that’s it.

That wasn’t enough?

MEG:  How’d you find out about the butt plugs? I never told you that!

CHERYL:  For some strange reason, Mark told Brett, who told me.

MEG:  While you were blowing him under his desk?

CHERYL:  NO!

MEG:  While you were blowing him in the parking garage?

CHERYL:  NO!

MEG:  While you were blowing him on the pool table at my parents’ Christmas party last year? 

CHERYL:  NO! Your parents never found about that, did they?

MEG:  No way! Well, I think my mom did.. but she didn’t say anything directly about it. I think it turned her on to watch!

CHERYL:  (Giggling all the while.) That’s gross! (After another moment of pondering. I swear, you could actually hear the gears grinding in her addled, Kardashian-obsessed brain.) Well, actually, your mom is pretty hot for a cougar! Especially since she got her boobs done!

MEG:  HEY! That’s my mummy you’re calling hot! But I guess you’re right! Is it strange I love her new boobs? I mean, I really  LOVE ’em! But it’s not weird ’cause they’re not actually her boobs, right? They’re from a factory? (Finally, she paused to exhale slightly before exploring this bizarre topic further.) Hey, I wonder if they model the implants after any celebrities? My mummy could be walking around with Kim Kardashian’s boobs!

CHERYL:  You’re a freak! But you’re probably right, your mom could be walking around with Kim Kardashian’s boobs!

 

Virtual interlude…

I don’t know if it was the mention of the goddess Kardashian, the lack of fresh Red Bull in their systems or a sudden – and temporary – surge of reason, but it was at that moment that the ladies finally realized they weren’t actually moving. I mean, they were moving, like two caffeinated gerbils to be precise, but the elevator wasn’t.

And that, kids, is when things got truly chaotic.

The girls started freaking out, hitting the doors, the wall, they pretty much hit everything but the buttons you push  to make the elevator move. And that’s when a voice rang out.

“Just push a button, ladies. Then we’ll start moving.”

CHERYL:  Where did you come from?

ME:  My mom, originally. Most recently? The Bell Desk.

MEG:  You’ve been here the entire time?

ME:  I’m afraid so. I’ve been standing here behind the luggage on my cart. You’ve both looked at me several times.

(I know what you’re thinking, but only an idiot would’ve interrupted the greatest elevator convo of all time.)

CHERYL:  Well, yeah, but I didn’t even think about you being here! I mean… I knew you were here, but I didn’t think about you being here! You know what I mean, right?

Would anyone?

MEG:  I get it, Cheryl!

I blog corrected.

CHERYL:  So which button do we push?

ME:  That depends.

CHERYL:  On what?

ME:  On where you want to go, ladies.

MEG:  (To her partner-in-crime.) Well duh! (To me.) Still can’t believe you’ve been here the whole time!

CHERYL:  You said “hole”.

MEG: Shut up, slut! But seriously, Mr. Bellguy, what’s the deal? Are we that ignorant?

CHERYL:  You are.

MEG:  I said shut up, whore!

ME:  The truth is, ladies, I was all set to go up on my own but you hopped in at the very last minute and the elevator sometimes resets itself when it shakes…

BOTH:  HEY!

ME:  Easy there! To be fair, ladies, it only shook a little. And after that, I just decided to let you go. To be frank, watching the two of you in action is soothing. Like watching goldfish. Who curse and talk about sex. A lot.

CHERYL:  Well, we do curse a lot.

MEG:  But you haven’t watched us in action! Not really! We’re something else in action! We –

CHERYL:  That’s enough, Meg!

MEG:  What did I say? He already knows our full sexual histories!

CHERYL:  Yeah, right. We’ve barely scratched the surface! He hasn’t even heard about the time you made out with your cousin, Sally! For money! In front of a bunch of rednecks!

MEG:  SHUT UP, WHORE! And she’s not really my cousin!

Of the three claims made in that statement, Meg was most concerned about the familial connection? These chicks were gold. Pure gold, Jerry!

CHERYL:  But you did make out with her.

MEG:  (Her head down.) A little…

CHERYL:  A little?

MEG:  (Her head and voice raised.)  OKAY! A LOT! WE MADE OUT A LOT! ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?

ME:  Not as happy as Sally was, I bet.

As one would expect, the girls froze for a moment before breaking into a fit of girlish giggling followed by raucous laughter. And as the laughter subsided, almost as if on cue, the elevator reached the girls’ destination. The doors opened and… nothing. The ladies stood still.

I’m damn smooth, aren’t I?

ME:  Uh, ladies? Time for you to get off, I believe.

I know what you’re thinking and you’re right. I’m an idiot.

MEG:  Time for us to get off? Why, Mr. Bellguy, we hardly know you!

CHERYL:  That’s never stopped you before, skank! And his name isn’t “Mr. Bellguy”! It’s Robert.

ME:  (Holding the doors open. As much as I wanted this disaster to continue to unfold, I had to maintain a professional decorum. To a point at least.) Actually, you can call me The Hook. Everyone else does.

MEG:  “The Hook”? Is that ’cause your junk is curved?

Yep. I’m an idiot fr not seeing what Stevie Wonder could have detected.

CHERYL:  MEG!

MEG:  Sorry! I’m sorry. Is that ’cause your penis is curved?

ME:  I’m really going to have start rethinking my nickname…

CHERYL:  Don’t do that, Hook! It rocks! My friend’s just a horny idiot!

MEG:  Take that back! I’m not an idiot!

ME:  As much as it pains me to say this, ladies, you need to be on your way. I have places to be –

MEG:  And people to do?

CHERYL:  That’s your bag, tramp!

ME:  (Sighing while simultaneously chuckling.) Girls…

CHERYL:  Fine. Looks like playtime’s over, Meg.

ME:  Somehow I seriously doubt that, ladies.

MEG:  Does this mean you’re going to come by our room later, Hook?

ME:  (Without missing a beat.) As intriguing as that sounds, girls, I’ll have to decline your kind offer, I’m afraid.

CHERYL:  But why, Hook? You know my friend’s a huge slut!

MEG:  (Also without missing a beat.) I really am!

ME:  I love my wife and…

MEG:  She doesn’t have to know. We sure won’t tell her!

As I’ve already made abundantly clear, the most important aspect of my job is my ability to read people. With my outspoken attitude, I would never have survived a week in this rat race of a business without being able to gauge who was going to “get” me and who wasn’t. That having been stated, I was certain my response was going to fly with these not-so-broke-girls.

ME:  As I was saying, ladies, I love my wife and most importantly… I love the fact my testicles are still attached to my body.

BOTH:  (In a synchronous giggly tone.) YOU’RE HILARIOUS!

MEG:  Give him some money before we get off, Cheryl!

ME:  But I haven’t even helped you, girls.

MEG:  Who cares? You’re HILARIOUS! And you bellguys need money, right? For porn, booze and Canadian weed?

I couldn’t argue with that logic. And that, my friends, is how I wound up with a kick-ass tale and a tip – all by standing still in an elevator. It really is true, the Universe will often provide all a man needs.

See you in the lobby and guest elevators, kids…

 

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Canada In Five Words, Featuring… Everybody!

Fair warning, the expression “home and native land” is going to be used a lot this year in Canada.

My home and native land (told ya) is celebrating its 150th anniversary and as promised, I’m doing my part to help the cause… by letting other people do the work. Yes, I’ve enlisted some of my virtual allies to describe their feelings for the Great White North in five words. Canada seems like a simple country on the surface; plenty of green space and animals with deliciously-naughty names like the beaver, but we’re actually a complicated race of diverse people with deep feelings about our environment and our fellow Canucks.

 

For those of you who are wondering, I find the five word approach works best for two reasons:

  1.  It only requires a smidgen of my victims’ friends’ time.
  2.  It only requires a fraction of your day to read, thus allowing more time for cat videos and fake news.

I realize some people on both sides of the North American border aren’t feeling all that patriotic these days, but perhaps celebrating the good will make the bad seem less bad? It’s worth a shot, right?

We’ll begin with Attila The Hun himself, Patrick Gallagher of Glee and Night at the Museum fame.

“Decency, equality, fairness, strength and poutine.”

This cool cat never disappoints, does he?

“Pull yourself together, man!  The Hook and your country need you!”

Now let’s flip things around and hear from someone in the cheap seats instead of on the screen. Namely, Toronto Sun /PostMedia Network film critic, the amazing (and lovely) Liz Braun. Liz really hits the nail on the head by addressing the current mood of many Canadians who have had enough of political scandals and an increasingly-unstable world stage:

Image result for liz braun

“Canada is where hope lives.”

She gets it; this country has always represented goodness and hope. Sure, most of the world thinks of Canadians as weaklings who can’t hold our own in a battle (America definitely sees us as a military joke) but nothing could be further from the truth. We can shed blood every bit as effectively as the next nation – but we’ll only do so when there is literally no other recourse available.

Besides, who wants to fight when there’s hockey to be watched, beer to be drank and back bacon to be scarfed down, right? And speaking of Canada’s image, here’s my favorite weather god, Chris Mei, with a contribution via tweet:

Of course, that’s how we see ourselves, but enlightened souls see Canucks that way as well. The really cool enlightened souls do anyway. Time for another segue-way: here’s how TV chef and Yummy Mummy Club foodie expert, Paula Roy sees Canada:

I think the words I would choose to describe Canada align well with our country’s culinary spirit: beautiful, multicultural, adventuresome, peaceful and inclusive.

I love this woman – and not just because she can serve me the food of the gods. “Inclusive” is an especially-timely word to use when one considers all the xenophobia being spread across this world these days. No, Canada is not immune to such hatred I’m afraid; but as always, love and understanding will prevail.

I hope.

 

But on with the show. Here’s my favorite morning news co-host/general goofball/Canadian fox, Dina Pugliese, to add her “voice” to the patriotic convo: 

https://i2.wp.com/cdn.where.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/dina_3x7.jpg

Culturally Diverse. Green. Strong. Free.

In retrospect, I should’ve put her in a green dress, right?

 

Hugh Dillon, the heartiest Canadian of them all, had this to offer: 

“Incredible people, brilliant work ethic.”

I think that pretty much says it all, don’t you? If you disagree, you can tell Hugh that to his face…

 

At this point I think we should hear from at one non-Canadian, just to get a detached perspective on the Great White North. I was going to use “cold perspective” instead of “detached”, but considering who this contributor is, the word “cold” definitely doesn’t apply. Mercedes Carerra is many things: a gifted actress, hyper-intelligent, well-read (her Twitter feed is much more than what you’d expect and it’s amazing), witty and anything but frigid. 

Pretty country with polite people.

Ain’t she the sweetest gal? Mercedes’ sense of humor rivals my own so I wasn’t sure what to expect but her response was as warm and welcoming as the lady herself.

 And that’s it for now, friends. I put out a lot of feelers but people are pretty busy these days (I almost typed “busty”; I must still be thinking of Mercedes) so I am especially grateful to everyone who participated. Who knows? 2017 is far from over; we may just return to this topic.

See you in the lobby and all across my home and native land, kids…

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“The Simple Life” Will Never Be The Title Of The Hook’s Biography.

In my world a seemingly-simple delivery of three bags and a garment carrier can become infinitely-complex in an instant.

Case in point: I recently arrived at a corner room with, you guessed it, three bags and a garment carrier, but before I could rap away on the door…

Hey!
You put the Shama Lama, Baby
In the Rama Lama Ding Dong
Hey, Hey!
You put the Ooh Mow Mow (Oh, oh, oh, oh)
Back into my smile child

The voices emerged from the room next door. They were in tune and full of life. They continued for another moment and ceased. I returned to my labors and knocked on the door.
Thrilling tale so far, isn’t it?

Back to the delivery; the door opened and a rather large, bearded gentleman in a Led Zeppelin t-shirt appeared.

BURLY BILL:  (Seriously, he looked like a Bill.)  Hey, how you doin’, buddy?

ME:  Good, sir.  I was just listening to a little concert next door.

BB:  (Puzzled but coping.)  Oh, them?  Yeah, they’re Indians… if they get too loud I’ll fuckin’ kill ’em!

His sidekick, whom we’ll call Curt Chuck, chimed in.

CC:  Yeah!

What did you expect? I didn’t say he was Articulate Andy, did I?

As you’ve no doubt come to expect by now, I rolled with the punches, dropped off their bags and waited for my reward in short order. Once that was done, and only once that was done, did I let loose.

ME:  So, how long are you visiting from New York?

BB:  Look at this guy!

CC:  Hey, how’d you know we were New Yorkers?

ME:  Lucky guess. It’s also safe to assume you voted for Donny Trump, right?

IN UNISON:  Yeah, Donny’s our boy! He’s making America great again!

ME:  He’s making America something again, that’s for sure.

CC:  You got it, man! Take care, buddy!

And that’s how you deal with racists, get tipped, and avoid an international incident all in one fell swoop, friends.

See you in the lobby, kids…

 

I see shit like this all the time.  Thank Dog.

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