Just A Few Thoughts I’d Like To Share…

Last night our daughter gave us a wicked, albeit early, 25th wedding anniversary gift: two premium seats to an upcoming production of The Phantom of The Opera (insert booming musical score here) in Toronto.

Yes, next year marks a quarter of a century of wedded battles bliss for my lovely bride and I, and I can honestly say that I’ve never loved her more. And how great is my kid? Her funds are limited and she spent $200 a ticket on her parents so they could relive a pivotal moment from their honeymoon and watch a woman become fascinated with a scarred man who wears a mask and reminds her of her father.

It’s true. Look it up on the interweb.

Work has been as wacky and as hectic as ever; every single construction project that started over two years ago is still going-anything-but-strong and guests are embracing their inner-wackadoodle in larger numbers. I’d weep for humanity but it’s all too fascinating to complain too much about.

There have been plenty of online bargains on comic book trades and graphic novels lately: I’ve been scoring Marvel books and a few Batman adventures. So I’m a happy nerd.

All in all, I have a pretty damn good life compared to billions of lost souls and Trump supporters.

So why am I so damn sad?

I walk to work shrouded in the darkness that grips Niagara like an icy sheet and I listen a collection of songs on my electronic device… And every one of those tunes reminds me of Rockin’ Ronnie in some way. It’s been two years and my life has been anything but static but while there are (finally) more good days than bad, the pain still rises like bile in my soul and I can’t seem to purge myself of it completely. I know there was nothing more my family (both immediate and at work) could have done to help Ronnie find his way back into the light but logic and emotion collide quite often in my brain.

And logic rarely wins.

There are moments during which I’m sad in a way I’ve never known before. There are moments during which I don’t know who I am or what I really want out of my life. But those moments fade relatively quickly, especially when I speak of them. Online, I mean.

So here’s where I am: I’m still wrestling with guilt and loss but I’m honored to be a husband, dad, bellman and a generally offbeat but fascinating human being. This human condition is a tough thing to understand but it’s certainly worth exploring.

See you in the lobby, kids…

Every damn day, Ronnie…

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And Now… The News, With The Hook

Nothing new to report, the hiatus continues as The Hook is as mentally blocked as an eleven-year-old boy who just used his parent’s Visa to order ten quadruple cheese pizzas while they were at counseling.

I’m feeling pretty good (with the exception of daily bouts of IBS induced agony, of course) and life is good overall but my mind is still a creative wasteland.

Just thought you’d like to know.

You may now return to your regularly-scheduled lives of Murdoch Mysteries episodes, cat videos on YouTube, Trumpian crises on CNN, and whatever else fills your days.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #28.

Yesterday will only drag you down, like psychological quicksand.

Tomorrow is for pussies who are too afraid to exist in the moment so they wish upon a star for a better future.

#28: Today.

But today is a blank canvas waiting for your actions to create a glorious image upon it. So in this scenario your actions are the paint, the fluid, if you will, so splatter your fluid all over that canvas…

Okay, so that fell apart quick. Let’s regroup, shall we?

We become suicidal when the past gets too heavy for us to bear and we can’t imagine shouldering the load into the future. So don’t think of tomorrow as tomorrow, think of it as just another today.

Because today rocks.

Today is all any of us really have.

So live for today.

See you in the lobby, kids…


But be happier about it, all right?

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100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #29.

I burn through a lot of precious time I’ll never get back bitching about my lot in life but every once in awhile the Universe reminds me of just how blessed I am to be The Hook, for only The Hook would have a guest encounter like this…

He was a strapping man-mountain with powerful hands and a booming voice to match, which he used to hand me his family’s luggage one early morning while exclaiming, “I bet you’ve seen everything in this job… Until now.”

My response was the same as it always is when guests attempt to shock me, which they do quite often.

“I’ve never been foolish enough to assume I’ve seen everything the Universe has to show me – especially in this job.”

Undaunted, he continued to hand me suitcase after cooler bag after backpack until he came to a giant, shiny plastic bag. A smile as wide as the FBI’s black file on Donald Trump enveloped his face as he said:

“I guarantee you’ve seen something like this before. Here’s my bag of legs.”

It was a that point that I turned my gaze to his left leg – which was factory-issued rather than God-given.

“I have an Olympic-level running leg in here, one for swimming and even one with special pivoted joints for golfing!”

You’re no doubt feeling a slight twinge of surprise right now, just as I did.

For a nanosecond, at least.

“Wow. You’re like a real-life G.I. Joe action figure with interchangeable accessories, sir.”

Our banter paused as he considered my words carefully. And then he saw the, let’s go with “wisdom”, in them.

“You’re absolutely right, boss. I am a real-life G.I. Joe!”

And this, at last brings us to our point for today.

#29: Unexpected Encounters With Beacons Of Light.

I have no idea just how this guest lost his left leg; the circumstance will forever be a mystery to me. But I know this: He hasn’t let it slow him down. He has a family, the love of a good woman (I’m assuming his wife isn’t a raging succubus) and a dynamite outlook on life, one that was actually infectious. But a good infectious, not infectious in a way that requires a shot of penicillin.

And by the way, his legs really were pretty cool. We’re talking Tony Starkesque quality.

And so I was grateful that our paths crossed and not simply because it allowed me to contribute another entry to my stalled campaign. I’m grateful because this guest made me smile (as Ronnie did so often) and gave me a reason to reflect on everything that’s happened in the last two years. I’ve been through several soul-draining trials that have left me devastated and too weak to go on at times.

But I’m still here.

And so are you, I hope.

So let’s travel on together, shall we?

See you in the lobby and down the road, friends…

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And Now, A Brief Message From The “Author”.


I got nothin’.

I’d like to write the next installment of “100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself” or tell you all how this summer has been unfolding in Niagara but I’m blocked mentally and thanks to my IBS, physically as well. And so this is just a message in a virtual bottle, one meant to let you know The Hook lives but is busy fulfilling his commitments to his “other life” as a bellman/dad/husband/full-time nerd.

So until we communicate again, be good to yourselves and each other and whatever you do, avoid that godforsaken “Cats” trailer, it’s awful beyond words. Seriously, someone snorted Ajax and did a line of pure Colombian cocaine before writing that movie and cutting the trailer.

See you in the lobby eventually, kids…

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A Day In The Life. (Or At Least A Piece Of One.)

On a typically atypical Wednesday morning I made my way to the hotel’s mid-tower and knocked on one of the press-board doors that separate the inmates from those of us that try to run this particular asylum, not having any idea what awaited me.

Little did I know the sweetest Crasian (crazy Asian) to ever visit North America was prepared to provide me with some of the best blog fodder a blogging bellman could ever ask for. She was ten New York City phone books high, with hair as black as night and eyes as bright as the North star.

And an attitude to match.

This is one of those times where my limitations as a writer prevent me from conveying the stereotypical nature and sheer hilarity of an accent, but I’ll do my best.

“OH HELLO!” she welcomed me warmly and LOUDLY, something I’m truly not used to after two decades of dealing with guests that barely have a heartbeat before noon, never mind a sunny (and loud/proud) disposition.

“I have a cooler! Veeerry heavy, so I help you!” were the next thick words to fall from her lips like a thousand-pound weight.

I assured her I could handle her cooler and did so immediately, a feat that pleased her more than I ever could have imagined.


I have to admit, I nearly dropped the cooler as I stifled my laughter. My newest fan then proceeded to follow me to her second room down the hall, shouting, “SUPERMAN! SUPERMAN!” the whole way. Four of her traveling companions were equally entertaining; tying their backpacks to the cart in order to prevent any upsets and generally fussing over the care their belongings would receive from “Superman” as he stored them for the day.

At any rate, the Crasians went about their day and I eagerly awaited their return. The entire group, which had swelled to about fifteen by the end of the day (did they spontaneously reproduce while down by the Falls, I wonder?) eventually returned and directed me to their ginormous van in a cacophony of voices. I unloaded (and untied) their bags, that infamous cooler and boxes of Asian cuisine and then awaited my gratuity, curious to see what sort of tip a superhero garnered.

My little Crasian lady handed me two American dollars as though they were bars of gold.

“I’m guessing Spider-Man would’ve earned at least a five, miss.” was my patented Hook-style retort. Fortunately, her good nature prevailed and she found my Canadian sarcasm amusing.

“You no Spider-Man… You Superman!”

You’re damn right I am.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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Summer “Fun” With The Hook.

It’s been awhile since I shared any of my encounters in the trenches of hotel hell heaven, so I’m going to open with a speech I usually save for slightly different situations but which applies here:

“This may not go as smoothly as you’d hoped. I may not be as adept as I one was but I can still guarantee your satisfaction by the climax. I hope.”

So yesterday afternoon I was returning to the guest elevators after finishing off another successful luggage call that ended exactly as such things should: with a few dollars in my frayed uniform pockets, when I crossed paths with a black family of four from the US. Incidentally, we have a new bellman from Jamaica who insists he is a black man not a “damn colored person”, so I’m going with black, not “African-American okay?

At any rate, here’s the unforgettable convo that followed between myself and Mom, Dad and two pre-teen lads.

PRE-TEEN LAD #1:  Yo, you make a lot of money as a bellboy?

ME:  I do all right… But that’s between us and not Revenue Canada, okay?

MOM:  What’s Revenue Canada?

ME:  Our version of your lovely IRS.

MOM:  Oh! We hate those guys!

ME:  Everyone does. Even those guys hate themselves.

PRE-TEEN LAD#2:  Do all bellboys make a lot of coin?

MOM:  You boys shouldn’t be asking this nice gentleman these questions.

ME:  The nice gentleman doesn’t mind. And to answer your question, I can’t say how much other bellman make, all I can do is speak for myself.

PRE-TEEN LAD: 1:  So why do you make sick coin?

ME:  Oh, that’s easy. It’s because I’m a middle-aged, non-threatening white male. I’m the Wayne Brady of bellmen.

A round of shocked laughter abounded throughout the moving metal box we all found ourselves temporarily encased in.

Then things got… Well, you’ll see.

MOM:  Wayne Brady? But he’s black!

DAD:  Wayne Brady ain’t black! That nigga ain’t been black for years!

BOTH PRE-TEEN LADS:  Yeah, mom, that nigga ain’t been black for years!

With that, we all exited the elevator as Mom rolled her eyes until she gave herself a headache, Dad beamed with pride at the attitude he had instilled in his lads, the leads were lads, and I grinned from ear to ear, knowing I had some nice, juicy blog fodder to serve up for my readers.

And now that I’ve taken a temporary reprieve from my summer hiatus, I bid you all adieu.

See you in the lobby, friends…

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