This year marks forty-six years of my presence on this glorious mud ball we all call home.
Yes, time really does fly when you’re haranguing guests, flaming out as an author, annoying your family and bringing everyone on the blogosphere and Twitter to their knees, thank you for asking.
The passing of my “special day” (sounds almost like male PMS, doesn’t it?) set my mind abuzz with self-reflection, which, has in turn, led to some self-love.
Not that type of self-love, perverts. I’m referring to recognizing the good qualities my psyche holds rather than just focusing on my weaknesses for once. As many of you can attest, I spend far too much time spotlighting my failures (yes, I’ve had more than a few) instead of looking at the victories I can lay claim to.
So let’s look at some of those wins, shall we?
1) I’m alive. A single swimmer defied the odds, beat out the competition and made it to the Promised Egg. Ironically, many years later my own swimmers were incapable of replicating that feat without a significant boost from science… but this victory stands on its own.
2) My childhood wasn’t exactly The Wonder Years… but I survived. Without going into detail, I had some pretty messed-up moments as a kid, to say the least, but I’ve learned to say, “So what?” Granted, some of the points I’m going to raise later on are the only reason I can afford to be so cavalier about childhood trauma.
3) I’m tall. Seriously, I’m a redwood with a patch of hair on top. Yes, it may seem like I’m reaching (see what I did there?) but my height has always been counted as a plus by society rather than a minus, so there.
4) It’s true what they say about tall men, ladies. But on the downside, we hit our heads a lot and we have a tough time fitting our oversize frames into tight spots, so you have to be realistic when planning carnal encounters in small spaces.
5) I’m white. Now before anyone starts screaming the “R” word, hear me out. I can’t dance, so I’d make a lousy brotha. I hate spicy food, so being Indian would be a gastronomical disaster. I hate gambling, so that leaves the other type of Indian out. I was destined to be a pasty, balding member of the Caucasian race, my friends.
6) I’ve never seen the Kim Kardashian sex tape. For that matter, I’ve never watched a “Kardashian show”. Uunless I Am Cait counts.)
7) My ears have never listened to songs from the following “artists”:
- Kanye West.
- Justin Bieber.
- Paris Hilton.
Which helps to explain why I’m not a total douche.
8) I’ve never walked away from my nerdy past. I used to walk an hour uphill (both ways, naturally) through the snow to get to Len’s Odds and Ends in St. Catharines when I was a wee lad of the Seventies, just to score the latest comics on my pull list. That spirit still resides within me today. And yes, I’ve had actual sex with an actual woman, so shut up.
9) The “Big Guy” has blessed me with the best damn family anyone could ever ask for. I don’t say much about my wife or daughter, but they make my life worth living. On one hand, I’ve been ridiculously-depressed about the non-status of my writing career, more than I’ve ever been in my adult life. On the other hand, my personal life has never been more fulfilling.
My family keeps me centered. They keep me (relatively) sane. They validate my continued existence. And in return… I drive them around the bend.
It’s a fairly equitable arrangement, wouldn’t you agree?
10) I’m every HR director’s worst nightmare brought to life. A colleague recently had an ugly run-in with a cheerleading mom. He was flabbergasted that the mother (and she was a mother, if you get my drift) in question actually fought back.
“How come you can say whatever you want to guests, Hook… but I can’t get away with a single remark?”
The answer is simple, really. I merely stated the truth of my existence as the world’s most outspoken bellman:
“Hey, do you actually think I became The Hook overnight? It’s taken me years to cultivate my particular style. And truthfully, dumb luck is as much a part of my success as anything else. My advice? Just be yourself… there’s only one Hook, buddy.”
Even if I get called on the carpet – which I rarely do – I’ve always walked away smelling like hotel lobby flowers. In fact, in every case so far, someone else has wound up being written up or even fired. Sometimes I feel like Rick Grimes; I survive what gets thrown at me. Unlike Rick, though, I know better than to get too overconfident.
11) I just won’t give up. Even though the Universe is sending me some pretty clear messages. As a husband, I won’t ignore my responsibilities to my wife as the breadwinner. As a father, I sometimes feel like a complete loser who fails every time he tries to make his dreams a reality. What message am I sending to my daughter?
But as a man, I can’t ignore the dreams of my childhood. Even though my soul is literally aching from the beat downs I’ve been taking lately, there will always be a part of me that has to dream. To live any other way is to lay down and die.
I once made the decision to die, something I’ll never do again. I’m in this life, failed dreams and all, for the long haul.
And on that mixed note, I’m out.
See you in the lobby, kids…