Reflections On The Human Condition And An Ironic Plug.

FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2013, 2:30 p.m.:

A beautiful blonde in her twenties checks in: her appearance is a billboard for every high-end clothing, make-up and handbag manufacturer in North America.

  • Her hair is perfectly styled and spring-loaded into a bun.
  • A form-fitting navy blue pantsuit becomes a second skin that accentuates her curves and breasts, both untouched by the ravages of time.
  • A beautifully painted face stares back at the world, every stroke of make-up applied with precise attention to detail.
  • Her handbag is of the highest quality and remains fully-zipped, safe from prying eyes.
  • She is perceived as a magazine cover brought to life, and nothing could please her more.

SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2013, 7:05 a.m.:

I find myself descending from the heavens (actually, it was the fiftieth floor, but that’s as close as I’m ever getting to the real thing.), when the elevator pauses its journey to allow another passenger to step forward.

Though to be accurate, this particular passenger stumbled sideways and only made it onto the elevator by the grace of the All-Mighty.

  • Her hair resembled a certain look Cameron Diaz sported in There’s Something About Mary.
  • No pantsuits for miles: this girl was sporting a sport bra and thin, white open blouse with coffee and vomit stains. (très classy!) She did have a skin tight blouse with a suspicious rip in the hindquarters, though.
  • A thick layer of make-up didn’t fare well over the weekend: it resembled runny underpass graffiti – her greasy bangs being the overpass, of course.
  • An open handbag revealed a pair of balled-up panties, a squished bra and a can of Red Bull, all tell-tale signs of an evening one wishes to forget, if at all possible.

I made an honest effort to avoid alienating my traveling companion by giving her the all-too obvious once-over, but it simply wasn’t possible.

She turned her head – slowly – and matched my gaze, albeit through bloodshot eyes. “I’ve had a bit of a rough night,” was her only attempt at an explanation.

“Really? You can’t tell. I just assumed Charlie Sheen was in town.”

Her jaw did one of those cartoon drop things. Then she broke up into laughter – for a moment at least.

“Ow! Stop it! It hurts to laugh, you funny bastard!”

Admittedly, her candor stunned me – for a moment at least.

“Laughter hurts? I have a feeling it’s taking a Herculean effort to keep those eyes open, young lady.” The wife laughs when she reads about me calling someone “young lady”, but it works for me, at the hotel, at least.

“Yeah, you got me,” (Actually, I didn’t, but somebody sure did!) “I’m fucked up.”

“Well, I guess you have to ask yourself one question -“

“Do I still have my wallet? Because one time -“

No, actually I meant -“

“Did I use protection?”

It was clear I wasn’t going to get anywhere by being polite to this chick, so I cut in on her in a clear, semi-loud voice, “Was it worth it?’

“What?” she was getting irritated, but that was only because of her alcohol-induced ignorance.

“No, I meant you have to ask yourself if last night’s shenanigans were worth it.”

“Shenanigans? You sound like my grandfather!”

“Thanks for that. But as I was saying, you’re young and vital -now. But a few more hazy weekends like this and that may change.”

“Not to worry. I don’t intend to end up a crazy cat lady who smokes three packs a day and drinks like a biker.”

“I doubt anyone ever does.”


We arrived at the ground floor and as we headed to the lobby where my desk and her exit were located, we wrapped up our, whatever we had going on…

“You’re not going to tell anyone about this, are you?”

Helluva thing to ask a blogger.

Just as I thought things were going to get dicey (I hate lying to anyone. Honestly!), the fog began to clear and my new friend stumbled upon a realization I hadn’t even considered.

“Wait a minute! You’re that guy! The bellman who writes!”

Turns out the last time my new friend was in Niagara she stayed at the hotel with a friend; we struck up a conversation as I brought their bags through the hotel and across the parking garage, during which I told them about my extracurricular activities.

(I’ve always been reluctant to reveal too much of myself to guests, but so many of them will shoot a “I bet you’ve seen everything, haven’t you? You should write a book!”, my way I can’t resist.)

Fortunately for me, my Hills reject realized the score and shot one final question my way before entering blog history. “You won’t use my real name, will you?”

“I don’t know you name, miss.”

“It’s Tracy. Of course, last night it was “Baby”, as in ‘Get your sweet ass back over here, Baby! I’m still horny'”


“Yeah, I know how to pick ’em, don’t I? I’ll probably never see him again anyway. He was a friend of a friend, but I don’t think it will work out.”

“Well, it certainly worked out last night!”

“Actually, it worked in!”

And on that charming note, we parted ways.

Until her next Niagara sexcapade, that is.

It’s a strange thing, but I can’t get this young lady’s antics out of my head. She went to so much time and effort to create a very specific image to present to the world only to undo her efforts in a single evening. Why bother?

I didn’t see her partner-in-carnal-crime, but somehow I doubt the dalliance was worth the toll, both mental and physical. My daughter is fascinated with the ABC program, Once Upon a Time; the characters repeatedly remind one another – and their audience, of course – “that magic always comes with a price.”

The same can be said of life. We can extract whatever we wish from the Universe but there is always a toll to be paid. Most of us, like the young lady in our tale, simply don’t consider anything beyond the meal or the party we take part in as we go through life. Some of us simply stuff our gobs with tasty vittles and pour as much wine down our throats as we can handle.

Then, when the clocks strikes, signalling the end of the celebration, we turn our eyes away at the sight of the check.

“There must be some mistake,” we say, “I didn’t order all of this.”

But you did.

I have a few people in my life whose check will be arriving soon. I only pray they can cover the tab they’ve been carrying all these years.


I hope you’ve been paying attention and saving a few pennies for Leanne Shirtliffe’s first literary offering…

Trust me, The Ironic Mom is worth making your kids do without Wi-Fi  (or food) for a few days.

That’s it for me, folks. I have another wonderful week of interaction with that most interesting of mammals, the Modern Traveler, to look forward to.

Not to worry though, I’ll be sure to tell you all about it.

Have a Happy Monday, guy and gals!

About The Hook

The Hook is a humor writer whose book, The Bellman Chronicles, has NOT received positive endorsements Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess), Jill Smokler (Scary Mommy), Kirkus Review, and others. He writes for the NiagaraHub online newspaper, his two blogs. and any blogger willing to publish his “work”. When he’s not watching TV or movies with his immensely talented 14-year-old daughter or ticking off his beautiful wife, The Hook is a bellman in Niagara Falls where he serves a traveling public that has become even crazier than he is.

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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55 Responses to Reflections On The Human Condition And An Ironic Plug.

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    “Helluva thing to ask a blogger.”—Hahaha. Great line. 🙂

  2. mairedubhtx says:

    What a sad, sad story!

  3. renxkyoko says:

    You’re somehow being funny about that incident, but actually, I feel you’re serious. There’s no cynicism at all, and you care.

  4. djmatticus says:

    I’m fully aware of the check I’ll be getting… and in the last few years I’ve gone to great strides to make sure I wasn’t ordering more than I’d be able to handle when it did come. I just wish there was a different way I could work off or pay off the tab from college… That is the only part of the bill I’m afraid to see.

  5. Outstanding post Hook.
    Loved your Charlie joke – you try to help people out. Laughter is always good
    Great comparison. That TV show has more than meets the eye.
    Great line:
    ” her appearance is a billboard for every high-end clothing, make-up and handbag manufacturer in North America.” Concise description that’s quite visual

  6. twindaddy says:

    Magic isn’t free?? I’ve been lied to. Again.

  7. ” I have a few people in my life whose check will be arriving soon. I only pray they can cover the tab they’ve been carrying all these years.”

    I love this, Hook. By far the greatest, most inspirational thing you’ve ever written.

    You are a wise man. If you ever want to share some of that wisdom on my blog, you’re more than welcome.

  8. Tom Merriman says:

    I actually thought you were describing two different people there, Hook, and then I realised. We do bring a lot onto ourselves, don’t we?

  9. MissFourEyes says:

    You make serious things easier to handle. That’s an amazing quality, partner.

  10. J.D. Gallagher says:

    I have a few people in my life whose check will be arriving soon.

    Loved that line and all that came before it. Beautiful prose.

  11. Jennifer says:

    beautifully written but i find the whole story quite sad. the fall from grace is not a pretty sight.

  12. This is so true! How many people never consider the cost of their actions? I know I didn’t when I was young. I hope the girl in your post finds out. Great writing makes me want to visit Niagara Falls.

  13. Cameron says:

    I read the heart in this, and I stand by my nickname.

  14. Men and women are full of shit. That’s why I stopped hanging out with those assholes.

  15. Daile says:

    This actually gave me chills. Well written and very heartfelt Hook. It also makes me want to be sure I don’t become that girl. Magic is easier to do than real life sometimes.

  16. Cathy Ulrich says:

    “Yep,” says the big universal abacus in the sky. “You pay me now, or you pay me later.” Great story, Robert.

  17. Diane C says:

    Has Niagara always been this….weird?

  18. >A thick layer of make-up didn’t fare well over the weekend: it resembled runny underpass graffiti – her greasy bangs being the overpass, of course.
    – Nicely metaphor-ed.

    >Ow! Stop it! It hurts to laugh, you funny bastard!”
    – I reacted just like she did! Only it did not hurt and I did not call you that.

    >The wife laughs when she reads about me calling someone “young lady”,
    – Make that two of us – Wifey ‘n meeee!

    >“Wait a minute! You’re that guy! The bellman who writes!”
    – See? You’re famous, Hook!

    Oh, not as famous as you’d like to be?

    Well, heed thine own words then:
    >”that magic always comes with a price.”


  19. Hope she sorts herself out!

  20. Katie says:

    This post is classic Hook! Each post convinces me I have more integrity than most Niagara Falls visitors.

  21. Michael says:

    That was amusing and sad all at once. Very nicely done.

  22. Rohan 7 Things says:

    Ha! Brilliant. Sounds like being a bell man has turned you into a philosopher and I can understand how. Very touching post, full of meaning and wisdom, and your trademark humor as well. Your writing gets better all the time 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!


  23. Wow, you’re famous, Robert! There’s a lot of people who like living on the edge, do they not? They don’t even know they’re on the edge half the time. Great post.

  24. You’re amazingly frank to your guests. Do you ever get hauled over the carpet, Hook?

  25. “Once Upon A Time” is one of those shows that fascinates me. I get confused at all the different worlds that collide in one story line (Snow White, Robin Hood, Frankenstein, Peter Pan, etc.). Once you realize that the common thread is that they are all magical worlds then it is a little easier to make the stretch. That being said it hadn’t occurred to me to apply the, “magic always comes with a price” theory to real life.
    I am so screwed! 😉

  26. List of X says:

    I think now I know in which hotel you work 🙂

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