From Fiction To All-Too Real Fact In Seconds.

My daughter lost a bit of her innocence last night.

At ease, people, no salacious details will be found here. I’m about to wax philosophical. Whatever the hell that means.

So there we were, watching the last ten seconds of Once Upon A Time unfold when the picture was interrupted and replaced by an ominous countdown…

All I could think was,”Great, they’re reviving those emergency broadcast system alerts. The dog is about to go nuts at that high pitch.”

But no, it was just President Donald Trump (I still can’t get used to using those words in succession) announcing a military strike on Syria’s chemical weapons factories, something he hinted at earlier in the week, thus defying his edict to never announce where he was gong to strike or when. Trump stuck to the speech. He was controlled, on-point and focused. That alone left us gobsmacked, to say nothing of his announcement itself.

It didn’t last night.

My daughter, in particular, listened intently and then returned to her online group chat with her college classmates. After a few minutes of virtual chatter she posed a question to me that left me momentarily breathless.

“Some of my friends think this is the beginning of the end… is it?”

Sure, my kid is nineteen, but her mind is older (bonus points if you got that reference) and an adult herself (I hate that about her) but she’s deliberately hanging onto her sense of child-like wonder for as long as she can. But the thought of an imminent war with Syrian ally Russia is seriously harshing her mellow. And so she was looking to her “Skippy’ (that’s me) to provide some solace and reassurance that she’d make it to twenty without having to worry about nuclear fallout creating a horde of zombies she’d have to run from. Outside.

Kids these days aren’t big on running, especially when they have to do it outside.

But back to me and my superior parenting skills. I took a moment to ponder my answer, as this was a big moment in our family history. On one hand I wanted to be the cool dad and answer quickly, thus allowing her to get back to her regular existence (my daughter’s IC has made her life a living hell at times but she’s a happy person overall). On the other hand, I barely know how to ignite a female orgasm… to say nothing of discussing world politics… so how the hell am I qualified to handle this query?

But you can’t run from these things (sadly) so I soldiered on.Β 

“It better not be… I just got our tickets for Niagara Falls Comic Con.”

That brought back to her reality immediately – after the inevitable eye roll, of course. Later on, I spouted some bullshit about America’s reluctance to get into a full-scale conflict with Russia, and the effect such a war would have on the stock market, but in the end, it really was all bullshit. I’m a bellman, what the hell do I know about this stuff?

At the end of the day all we can do as parents is play to our strengths and hope for the best, folks. At least that’s been my philosophy for nineteen years and since my daughter’s not pregnant, snorting condoms or eating Tide Pods, I’d say it’s working pretty well.

See you in the lobby, friends…


I know we’re all scared, but life endures, people. Always.

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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38 Responses to From Fiction To All-Too Real Fact In Seconds.

  1. Kay says:

    Sounds like you both handled it well. At my age, I have had several of those “is this the beginning of the end?” moments and here we still are. So, carry on and hope for the best.

  2. I think you handled that well, Hook. It is interesting to note that the beginning of the end was predicted in 2400 BC when the ancients noticed the change in weather. “Must be those new bows and arrows they’re testing,” one remarked. “After the wheel, I thought we had seen it all,” another added. “It’s the beginning of the end,” a third attested. “Let’s have some wine,” they all cheered.

  3. oceanswater says:

    Unfortunately the youth today need to be informed. They need to be aware, because there is an idgit in the White House… πŸ™„πŸ™„

  4. Santa Cucinotta says:


  5. Doug in Oakland says:

    Yeah, getting present day reminders of the bad old days (read that my first thirty years) when we never knew if there would be a tomorrow or not isn’t a good feeling. I remember not trusting Ronnie to keep us from getting blown up, and for a while the Coast Guard were regularly, like once a month or so, intercepting Soviet submarines in US territorial waters off of the coast of Northern California and “escorting” them back out to sea…
    That was hairy. One night they announced it on TV and said they’d lost the submarine but detected another, and my girlfriend got this look on her face like “resigned to die” and I said “Oh no you don’t.” and we got in the car and drove up highway 299 over Lord Ellis Summit, to be on the other side of the first mountain from any nuke that took out Humboldt Bay, and slept in the car.
    We felt a little silly the next morning, but god damn it, we at least did SOMETHING.

  6. Looks like we’re heading down another rabbit hole. The U.S. has been at war in the Middle East for nearly 20 years now with Syria already part of that mix.

  7. Carol says:

    You did good, HookπŸ˜‰!! You acknowledged her genuine concern and gave her reason to relax a bit. I remember being terrified as a young teen in Windsor, when I saw tanks in the street at the armories and missles locked and loaded on Belle Isle when the countdown began during the Cuban missle crises. Every teen, I think, lives through that first news event when we think this is it..war… and we’re going to die. Hopefully, we’re all ok for now and one day in the future your daughter will hope she responded to her own child with all the right words. Peace.

  8. Perfect answer, and I expect nothing less than the famous eye roll response. I wish I had a dollar for every one I received.

  9. When I was growing up, it was the cold war and all through school we were terrified about nuclear war. Trump is a complete ass. And your comment about not wanting to destabilize the stock market is probably truer than most would believe. In any case, well played!

  10. Well done, Sir Hook! (And I’m jealous as hell about Comic Con)
    There was a time when school children were being prepared for war on a daily basis. They had hide under your desk drills (can you believe they thought that would help?). They were made aware, they were taught to “prepare” but then they also went out and played at recess. They couldn’t stop living or give up their childhood, living in fear at all times. There is a balance. I believe you stuck that landing perfectly.

  11. dianaepona says:

    Oh, man! When I heard the news my first thought was of my grandson. Seven years old, and would he see eight? What sort of world might he be living in sometime in the future? What in the hell is our problem? What about all those mothers with newborns? You handled it well. Sometimes we have to focus on the routine, the daily things, the special things, just to keep our sanity and faith. Carry on, Hook. You are not “just a bellman.” You are a most important foundation for a least two people, and that’s a heck of a lot more than a “just” anything. Be well.

  12. Great writing, Hook.. “harshed her mellow” … I’m gonna use that. πŸ™‚ Also tell her that if Russia or the US fire missiles at each other their defence systems will down them over the UK and all resulting zombies will have plummy BBC voices. Believe !!!

  13. Julie says:

    They’re all crazy except you and me. Sometimes I’m a little worried about you.

    I have no idea why that came to mind, it’s something my dad used to say, and he was always great at comforting me. You could use it if you’d like. 😁

  14. If you got the eye roll, you said what she needed to hear. Would that there was a way we could insulate our kids and keep their shell of comfort and security in tact. Just keep talking and live -knowing that good is out there and chaos is the only order – and it is what it is.
    Peace, love, dove as we used to say

  15. curvyroads says:

    You handled that brilliantly, Robert. So sad that we are in this situation, and hopefully the idiot won’t get us all killed before we can get him out of office…

  16. Totally missed the countdown. We were doing more important things like sitting with grieving friends whose dad was about to pass. Good to look at things with reality and great response to your progeny πŸ˜‰

    • The Hook says:

      I’m going through the same thing with my mother right now, Courtney.
      My whole world is on pause right now, though I’ve had to return to work and carry on as best as I can with my life.

  17. Ankur Mithal says:

    “I’m a bellman, what the hell do I know about this stuff?” As compared to whom? Politicians? Economists? You’d be surprised.

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