The Hook’s Aluminum Rules of Travel: Part Four.

 And now, the words you’ve all been dying to hear… we’re almost done!

Three)  Never forget: Everything has its breaking point, even your credibility.

You may fancy yourself the master of your own tale, capable of building up a legend that travels with you, but the truth is not the Stretch Armstrong doll you played with as a boy. Until his insides lost their magic, that is, at which point it became a weapon capable of taking your cousin down with a single blow. I realize my readers of a certain age are probably quite confused right now so we’ll take a short break while you Google “Stretch Armstrong”.

Welcome back. The 1970s were quite an age for kids, weren’t they? It still amazes me how much fun one could have with a half-naked man made of latex rubber filled with gelled corn syrup, which allowed it to be stretched from its original size (about 15 inches) to four or five feet while retaining its shape for a short time before shrinking to its original shape. Nowadays if a kid used the words “half-naked man”, latex rubber” or “corn Syrup” while requesting a plaything from his parents, they’d rush the kid to therapy for the rest of his childhood.

But I digress.

My point is this: If you’re going to engage in a masquerade while traveling, never stretch the truth beyond its acceptable limits. Keep in mind that the key to a successful lie lies in the details. If you’re going to hire an escort for the weekend don’t attempt to pass her off as your daughter if you plan on dry humping her brains out on the valet deck.

Incidentally, the Urban Dictionary defines dry humping as:

Dry humping is the process of two people repeatedly moving up and down and back and forth on top of each other fully clothed (or missing various pieces, but the penis must not come in contact with the vagina without some sort of fabric separating them ex: boxers, panties, or even sheets!!)

Never let it be said I am an inconsiderate author, my friends. I am here to enlighten as well as entertain.

So don’t try to fool your kids unless you’re dead certain you can get away with it. If your kids are half-mermaid and the hotel’s pool has been contaminated with a zombie virus? Don’t tell them the red water is actually cranberry juice, try to book another hotel.

Hey, if you plan for anything, you’ll never fail.


Two)  Don’t obsess over the minutiae… but don’t lose track of it, either.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff” is great advice but we tend to ignore the little things all-together. Chargers for our various electronic doodads/leashes, bottles of shampoo, stuffed animals, etc., the hotel’s Housekeeping office has boxes filled to capacity with the small stuff people don’t perspire over.

“So what, Hook? I can replace that stuff. It’s no biggie.”

No? Well, consider this:

* Chargers aren’t cheap these days; they can run as high as thirty dollars. And every time you walk into an electronics department you run the risk of being approached/stalked by a clone of some guy named Stu or Rick who are programmed to sell you something in addition to what you came in for. If they fail, if you walk out those sliding doors, an explosive chip in their cranium activates and it’s “Clean up in Electronics! Activate another Stu!”

Can you tell I’m not a fan of the Big Box stores and their corporate larvae? They creep me out with their snazzy, non-threatening uniforms, that vacant look in their glazed eyes, a perpetually upbeat attitude and that whirring sound that punctuates their every movement.

So when you’re checking out, folks, check for those chargers. If you don’t, it could end up costing you much more than you realize.

* Unless you travel with hotel-size hair products, you don’t want to leave a trail of them all over the globe. Unfortunately, many people take a pre-trip constitution before checking out, rendering the bathroom uninhabitable, so try to pack all your toiletries immediately following your last shower.

(I apologize if that last line made you squirm but just imagine what it must be like to have clean a bathroom after a guest has checked out after dropping a weapon of mass destruction. Tip your housekeeper, folks… large. Trust me, they’ll earn it.)

* It may be a ratty, old, bacteria carrier to you, but to your child that stuffed animal is a steadfast companion, a protector, a furry BFF… and you don’t leave your best pal behind to rot in a lost and found box. So sweep that room, kids, otherwise the ride home could be loud.

enhanced-6681-1392945242-15This is someone’s best pal, people… so treat him right.


One)  Don’t ever take your eye off the ball.

At the risk of repeating myself – much like your grandpa who tells the same tales so often you have to wonder if he expired six months ago and his mind is stuck on auto-repeat – I cannot stress the importance of focus while traveling.

If you’re traveling on business keep your head out of the bottle, your nose out of the coke and your genitals in your pants. Sally from the Florida office may appear to be the perfect mark, but trust me, beds get turned down every day in a hotel and their secrets often spill out in the process.

Once upon a time there was a banking VP of Operations named Mr. Williams who made a “deposit” in the “safety deposit box” of a different underling every year during an annual conference. For five years things ran like corporate clockwork… until the year his employer decided to invite spouses along.

Never one to let anything get in the way of his extracurricular activities, his wife was left to her own devices while he “worked”. Fortunately for Mrs. Williams, she struck up a friendship with a newly-divorced teller named Nancy from her husband’s Cleveland office. Unfortunately for Mr. Williams, Nancy had a Viking-size axe to grind.

Can you connect the dots, readers?

After the previous year’s conference, Nancy’s ex figured out what was going on in Niagara – and who she was gettin’ on – and booted her money-handling ass out the door. And so that year Nancy set out on a path of revenge; when the opportunity presented herself, she got chatty with her one-time lover’s spouse while he was off “running figures” with yet another victim. To make matters worse, Mr. Williams stayed (and ran his game), on the same floor every year – with the same veteran housekeeper with the most judgmental eyes in the hotel biz.

I know what you’re thinking, but “What happens in Vegas. stays in Vegas” doesn’t even apply in Vegas anymore, not really. Unless you plan on paying for discretion, don’t expect to find it in every hospitality employee you encounter. So keep your nose clean, corporate drones.

If you’re traveling for pleasure, travel smart; make lists when packing (and actually check them off), keep your check-in info handy at all times, do your homework and above all, don’t fall into old habits.


And that’s it, kids. I realize no one likes to be told what to do, so feel free to wing it.  Just don’t come crying to me when your trip winds up in the crapper.  I hear that Ann Landers broad is good at that sort of thing.  What’s that?  Ann Landers was more than one person?  And they’re all dead? Well, that fell apart again, didn’t it?

Best to follow my advice, right? Don’t want to end up like Ann Landers.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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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16 Responses to The Hook’s Aluminum Rules of Travel: Part Four.

  1. Taraka says:

    Well done! You’re at the top of your game, Hook. A true master of the English language. ..I love your imagery and illustrations.

  2. shimoniac says:

    Whenever I travel with my father, starting about two months before we launch, he starts compiling a list of things. Things to bring, things to buy when we get there, things to see and do going there, being there, and coming home. Also, he reserves his room weeks, even months in advance.

    While we’re there, he talks to everybody, check-in clerk, manager, security guard, whoever; always asking questions.

    Then, before we leave to come home, he has that list of all the things we brought with us/should have in our luggage. Last thing he does before we depart the room for the final time is leave a tip for the housekeeper.

  3. 1jaded1 says:

    Haha about Mr. Williams. What’s that play, you pay…or you pay when you play… Poor Teddy…so sad. Thank you for the great advice.

  4. Fabulous, as always. Can I add a suggestion to number 2 – speaking of number twos?!! Travel with a small bottle of Poo Pourri, and don’t lose it either (for those of you who don’t know, a quick Google will tell you what it is, and the YouTube video – Girls Don’t Poop- is hilarious!) because yes, you divas and playahs, your shit DOES stink. Go easy on your roommates and on Housekeeping.
    Thanks again, Hook, for some great reading!

  5. I can’t stop giggling about Mr. Williams. What a player! Regarding leaving things behind, I’m thankful that the only important thing that we, as a family, have ever left behind was a very new stuffed animal on a plane – in the overhead compartment that dipped down in the bottom. I was too short to see in and didn’t climb up on the seat to reach in and make sure I’d gotten everything out, because I was dealing with a sick kid with a big-time fever, after we’d just flown completely across country, after having just buried my mother.

    A few months later when I flew back across country to empty out mom’s house, I picked up the exact same stuffed animal from the airport store and brought it home to my kid. He was thrilled.

  6. The Hook says:

    I love a happy ending.
    Great story.

  7. Great advice well told.

  8. Business trip/conference advice well said. The world is a lot smaller than anyone thinks. And the Vegas slogan is only marketing!

  9. curvyroads says:

    Hehehe…great list, and we should all follow your travel advice…it’s that good. 🙂

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