The Year Ahead: Thirteen Fears.

I realize many of you are hanging, so I’ll keep this tight and to the point. Or not.

Here are some things that scare the bejezzus out of me that I know I’ll be dealing with this year…

1) Crazy cougars hopped-up on red wine and Fifty Shades of Grey. Yes, the novel now qualifies as a narcotic, so great is the effect it has had on some of my female guests of a certain age.

2) Maniacal rugrats hopped-up on Red Bull and whatever sugar substitute is all the rage this year. I love kids, but rugrats are another story all-together…

3) People that use wheelchairs and strollers as substitutes for luggage carts. This one will always make the list, so get used to it. They make old people stumble and babies crawl. They truly scare me.

4) Another birthday. My hair is disappearing faster than LiLo’s chances of a career resurrection. The aging process sucks.

5) Running out fresh blog ideas and being forced to cobble together a lame-ass list on New Year’s Day. This one speaks for itself, I believe…

6) Daywalker hookers. I just can’t get used to seeing hookers stumbling through the lobby in the daylight hours, but its a new world, so I’d better get used to it.

7) My daughter’s first date. First off, please don’t tell her I wrote this, okay? She’s fourteen now; its going to happen sooner or later – and it sucks.

8) Tax time. I hate seeing just how little money I’ve actually made each year.

9) Drunken gambling addicts who have lost their tacky shirts at the casino and expect me to feel sorry for them at check-out time. Its not just forty-something males, either; there are more than a few female regulars who are downright surly after losing the remainder of their nest egg at the tables and slots. Trust me, you don’t want to mess with a broke-ass, frustrated cougar….

10) Another wedding anniversary. Bear with me on this one: every year I feel as though I haven’t done right by my lovely wife. Sure, I’m a loving husband, but I have yet to provide her with the lifestyle she deserves.  She never complains, ever, but I know she wouldn’t mind having a few dollars in the bank – not to mention a vampire or two stashed away in the attic!

11) The monotony of being ignored. I’ve never told anyone this, but every day I wake up and I check my e-mail, praying that I will finally see a message from the Steven and Chris show or Breakfast Television in Toronto that reads “We want you, Hook!” Every day I wind up reading a slew of junk e-mails from Saudi Arabian princes and pharmaceutical companies that specialize in erectile dysfunction. I realize these programs literally receive thousands of e-mails every day, but I’m beginning to feel like the guy who hears “It’s not you, it’s me!” from the girlfriend he worships. Let’s face it, it’s me.

12) The seemingly-endless Niagara winter. I love my job. I don’t mind down-time. But the next few months – give or take a few busy periods – will be quiet. We’re talking dead quiet, people. Just imagine the hotel in The Shining or the vast unpopulated landscape of a Kardashian’s mind and you’re halfway there…

13) The feeling that washes over me whenever someone asks “So, how is the book going, Robert?” There is a truly gifted writer out there who has the backing and resources of a major  publisher behind him; he has appeared on television recommending people lie (“The in-room movie froze halfway through!”), cheat (“There must be some mistake, I didn’t take that $12 Hershey bar from the mini-bar!) and steal (There was only one robe in the room, I swear!) from hotels.

He has appeared on 20/20. I have appeared in several e-mails that contain the following line, “We wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors..”

To the world-at-large, he is a winner. To the world -at-large, I barely register. There are days that I feel physically ill over my perceived failures. Would I like to stop feeling this way? You bet your ass, but I’m riddled with anxiety and self-doubt.

However, this is the year I learn to live with my doubts and fears – you can’t beat your dark half, folks – and I may even write a second book, one that incorporates everything I’ve learned about writing and editing in the last few months. The good news is, my spirit can only rise from here.


Jessica Stilwell started out as the face of fed-up and put-upon mothers everywhere – you can read an abridged version of her story here but she’s come a long way, baby! You get bonus points if you got that reference, by the way.

At any rate, check out her blog, Crazy Working Mom: Diary of a mother on the brink of snapping!

Jessica is discovering her “writing voice”, one that extends beyond the scope of her first adventure. Personally, I’m enjoying watching her metamorphosis. I think you will too.

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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79 Responses to The Year Ahead: Thirteen Fears.

  1. timkeen40 says:

    I get the distint feeling that the cougars and prostitues look or act nothing like the ones we see in the pristine world of telelvision and Hollywood.

    Good read, Hook.

  2. Well done – got more than a few laughs as I read your list.

  3. “The vast unpopulated landscape of a Kardashian’s mind “. I love that line. Great list.

  4. I was going to leave a little comment about #7, #11 and #13…but when I got to the end of the post, I just teared up from your shout out. Thanks Hook. A lot. regards to #7…just tell me how it goes. Dylan may need your advice in about 2 years.
    In regards to #11 and #13…Keep Going. Please.
    Now pass me a kleenex as I pass along my thanks.

  5. Wishing the best for you for 2013, Sir Hook. That Kardashian line alone would convince me to publish you.

  6. Ray's Mom says:

    When you hit the brick wall – life becomes difficult, but it is easier to learn how to climb than dig and the view from up there is better than down under. So, have another cup of coffee perhaps with a little brandy and give it another go. Your book should be hitting the top 10 best seller by now and more in the works. With your charm and wit – you are destined to be found and become the star on TV evening news.

    Good luck in 2013, God bless you and your family. You have been such a positive influence when things were down and I thank you for all your kind words of encoragement.

    Shirley (Ray’s Mom)

  7. The Shining! Ax worthy.
    One thing about your blog posts – they are populated with the most interesting people – and you’ve got an astute comment/observation about each…someday you’ll look at them and hear all their stories and some of them will morph into characters of a great book. You got details and scenes already sketched out.
    It’s not always about talent – often about being in the right place at the right time. No failure involved. (Hey, you do know that Da Vinci Code wasn’t Brown’s first book.)
    You’re a writer. No question.
    Happy New Year. Can’t wait to see what stumbles into your path.
    (Good luck with the teen. Shiver.)

  8. Jennifer says:

    We all love you Hook, you’re not ignored. You need to take a holiday. Leave behind the vast dreariness of cold Niagara and come visit sunny Aus for a week or two. Guaranteed to cheer you up 🙂

  9. El Guapo says:

    On the bright side, despite the hair loss, you have your health and family to push through the challenges above.
    Or to mock you as you get swamped.
    Either or… 😉

  10. JackieP says:

    hey this year just started you never know what’s going to happen!

  11. littlesundog says:

    The most serious on the list is #7. I’d rather rehab a wild badger than deal with a teenage girl in the dating years. Good luck Daddyo! 🙂

  12. Diane C says:

    Hi Robert, I just posted on Steven and Chris’ facebook page that they should have you on there. Let’s go viral folks! Well, perhaps viral is a bit optimistic….but we could send them a small landslide of messages about Robert!!!

  13. I think you should be able to afford a vampire by now. I guess it is time for a raise.

  14. Blown says:

    Keep the pressure, Robert. There’s light at the end of the tunnel… 😉

  15. I’m going for the bonus points – Virginia Slims. … That’s a good list of scary things, Robert. Red Bull in kids, first date, taxes – even I’m getting depressed now. 😉 But you wont’ be ignored here at WordPress, and yes, write another book! There’s no one to stop you, you’ll have more time this winter (can you write in a notebook at work?), and you have a good idea. Write on!

  16. Sandi Ormsby says:

    I’m sorry you’re not receiving the responses you had hoped and deserve! I’m starting to suspect writing is kind of like acting…so many have the passion/desire and talent that it’s tough to break into the biz due to fierce competition. I hope you get that BREAK you’ve been waiting on…

    Don’t worry so much about the “anniversary” thing. My husband and I haven’t celebrated since we had kids. I think we did dinner once…or not…in fact, half the time I have to ask him “Is today our anniversary?” yes (gasp) it’s I doing the offending. If you’re doing anything, that’s something!


  17. As the mother of a 14 year old daughter, I hear you on number 7! She has, sort of, had a boyfriend already, although they didn’t actually go out on any dates. It was all just at school, oh and there was one shopping trip with a group of a few of them, but nothing that I’ve needed to worry about!

    I also hear you on the book, I’m writing one that I have resolved to finish this year. We can do it…

  18. TBM says:

    No matter what, you always make me smile. Happy new year!

  19. MissFourEyes says:

    You always write the best lists! And as for #4, bald is sexy.
    Happy New Year!

  20. sophiebowns says:

    HA! This post cheered me up! Happy New Year!

  21. Robert…. you WROTE a BOOK! YOU WROTE A BOOK! THAT’S FREAKIN’ AMAZING….That’s fodder for envy.

    I’m stunned that adults give children ‘energy drinks’ – do they do this before or after doping them for being too ‘alert’?

  22. Saying I “enjoyed” your honesty would be incorrect, yet correct. There were classic Hook moments that made me smile like some of your other readers. This line for example:

    >the vast unpopulated landscape of a Kardashian’s mind

    But by and large, you have vocalised what everyone I know personally has uttered at some point or another. You did it on a public platform and bravo for your bravery. Yes, voicing thoughts like these calls for courage.

    And now that I’ve caught the courage bug AND am rid of the ‘all talk, no action’ bug, here’s what I did.

    Actually, I’ll post it next as a separate comment because it is quite lengthy. Did I really have to say that? Brevity is not my forte. 😉

    Good luck, Hook! *fingers crossed tightly for good measure*


  23. I went here:

    and I did this:


    Dear Kevin, Dina, Jennifer and Frank,

    I am (also) Canadian, currently living in Asia.

    A little over a year ago, when surfing around, I chanced upon a fellow WordPress blogger, Robert Hookey AKA The Hook.


    I was drawn to his post about bullying; more specifically, his teenaged daughter, Sarah’s dismayed reaction to bullying. I wagered that the apple couldn’t have fallen far from the tree, so I bit. And got Hooked!

    This mail is to request you to give The Hook a chance to guest star on your show. Besides regaling you with stories from his work in his trademark grouchy-albeit-harmless and hilarious style (he’s written a book about his “fun” at work called ‘The Bellman Chronicles’!), you can be sure that all he says comes from a good heart. What I am particularly heartened by is how The Hook embraces the marginalised and the mocked by seeing them for who they are – people.
    Now those are values that this fellow Canadian likes to support and promote. You could do the same, Kevin, Dina, Jennifer and Frank, by giving The Hook a chance to appear on your show. Please give it a thought.

    I do not know Robert Hookey personally, so I did not think it appropriate to request him to share his contact numbers (as per your ‘Contact Us’ requirements) with me for the purpose of this mail, even though I’m trying to do my good deed for the day. Besides, I wanted to surprise my blog buddy. However, I can furnish you with Robert Hookey’s e-mail address, which I obtained via his comments on my blog. I’ll risk his ire over sharing it with you.

    Robert Hookey

    Thank you for your time. Thirteen shmirteen; have a good year!


    P.S.: Please do not take the following amiss.

    When going through your site looking for a way to contact your team, I came across your bios on the ‘Inside BT’ page. The first sentence of Kevin’s bio has accidentally landed in Dina’s section.

    P.S.: I’ve given them my e-mail address, Hook. Will definitely let you know if, no, WHEN I hear from them.

    P.P.S.: Thirteen’s lucky for some. Please be one of them. 🙂

  24. I don’t feel so ignored anymore but I do hear what you are saying. . . When will the BIG BREAK COME???? (Yell into abyss!!!) ((Repeat))

  25. mairedubhtx says:

    A good list, Hook. Don’t worry too much about your daughter, The date thing might not happen for a while. My two beautiful granddaughters are 17 and have yet to go on a date (they also have very strict parents). They text boys a lot, well one of them does, but the dating has been put off. You might get lucky.

  26. twindaddy says:

    Dear Mr. The Hook, I realize that telling you to keep trying it trite, but if 50 Shades of Grammatical Errors (I think that’s the name) can become a best-seller, than so can you. Your literary prowess is far superior to that crap.

    Keep your head up!

  27. Jo Bryant says:

    I say you don’t just live with the dark…you embrace it Hook…all the way.

  28. renxkyoko says:

    Happy New year, Mr. Hook ! I love this post, especially the Niagara winter and the mention of The Shining. I love that movie. Oh, wait, your hotel is something like in The Shining? I mean, in winter? @__@

  29. Perhaps you just need to ‘sex-up’ your book a bit.

  30. Happy New Year, my dear Hook….!
    As for the age process sucking, the alternative is not that great either….! 😉
    And, as far as Sarah and ‘beaus’; have you considered a GPS tracking system..!?! 🙂

  31. Val says:

    It’s good to get it all out there, Hook!
    Now have a great 2013!

  32. I dunno, the prostitute thing sounds pretty entertaining.

  33. Love ya Mr. Hookman. Hoping 2013 brings you nothing but the best!

  34. Madhu says:

    Valid fears all 🙂 I am glad I am done with parenting! Hope the year ahead brings you luck and much happiness!
    PS: Was the “you’ve come a long way” a reference to the Virginia Slims commercial with Twiggy?

  35. marymtf says:

    14. Mothers who use prams as WMDs to get all us thoughtless pedestrians out of their way.
    ps, I also knew about the Virginia Slims advert. Once upon a time I smoked them. I guess that makes me, bingo, stupid, stupider and stupidest. The only redeeming feature here is that I’ve given up the cigs. ps2. My brother, who also has a daughter says that when she starts dating, he plans to be busy sharpening large knives when his girl brings her dates in to meet dear old dad. Take heart.

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