Farewell, Chrissy.

I find myself in the unusual position of being speechless. Or rather, in this case, of being at a loss for words.

Chris Hyndman was, to most, a daytime talk-show host, one-half of CBC’s mega-hit, Steven and Chris. He was a ball of kinetic energy wrapped in a stylish exterior. With perfect hair, eyes, and teeth, of course.

In our house he will forever be referred to as “Chrissy”. My late-father-in-law, John Fisher, is responsible for that. Dad spent the last five years of his life fighting emphysema and as a result, spent far too much time in bed or in his easy chair. For Dad, television became a vital link to the outside world. It was his lifeline, source of entertainment and enlightenment, and sometimes, his reason to get up in the morning.

And Chrissy – along with the cast of Murdoch Mysteries – was at the top of Dad’s “Must-See TV” list.

Every weekday at two pm, Dad couldn’t stop laughing – even to the detriment of his health – whenever Chrissy found himself outmatched by a power drill, a wild animal or pretty much anything under the sun. He may have been the comic relief, but Chris Hyndman was laughing louder than any of us. And so the audience loved him. They didn’t see a klutzy gay man with love in his eyes for his partner, they saw a man with a natural gift for performing. They saw a man with an innate flair for fashion, design, both interior and exterior, and the coolest crafts the mind could conceive. Above all, they saw a man who loved to please others.

My father-in-law was the greatest man I ever knew. The very fact that Chris Hyndman filled his last years with such joy made him my hero.

My family met Steven Sabados and Chrissy once; it was years ago, backstage after a taping of their show. The show’s warm-up man – one member of the most talented crew in CBC’s storied history – was happy to allow us to present the guys with a copy of my book. On one condition.

“The Boys will be happy to see you now, but they’ve changed out of their work clothes and so you can’t photograph them in their sweats!”

We chuckled and readily agreed. They were as bubbly and congenial as they appear to be on TV, bringing my daughter to tearful laughter in seconds. My wife and daughter were looking forward to attending another taping of their show this Fall. A fact they reminded me of this week. But then, during lunch this afternoon, one of my co-workers stumbled across a news-feed while checking his phone.

“Wow. I don’t believe it. Chris is dead.”

None of us could believe it. The details, sparse as they were, were irrelevant and will continue to be. All that matters is this: A good, decent man has left this world richer and brighter than he found it.

In the end, that’s all that matters.

Chrissy was a shining light in a world covered in darkness.

He was a jester.

He was an idol to millions of souls who dwell in the shadows, fearful of revealing their true selves to a judgmental world.

He was a hero.

And he will be missed.

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Hook’s How-to-Guide: Dying, Part One – “The Dirt Contract.”

To clarify, I know you don’t require any help with the “dying” part of life. (Even a Kardashian can handle that.)

But there’s more to the process of leaving this world than just drawing your last breath, cursing everyone who was ever mean to you while in line at Comic Con, and regretting all those premature orgasms. Dying is serious business, kids. Most cemeteries are filling up fast (unfortunately), and the prices are rising even faster. My in-laws purchased their plots thirteen years ago and the price has already doubled.

Talk about a monopoly.

Of course, now you’re asking yourself a few questions, right?

“What’s The Hook on?”

“And more importantly, where can I get some?”

“Is this Bill Cosby mess ever going to end?”

“What’s brought on this sudden burst of ‘joy’, Hook?”

I can’t answer all those questions but the last one is easy. You see, ever since my father-in-law passed away, the wife and I have been putting all our ducks in a row; settling his estate, liquifying real estate holdings (something that, sadly, isn’t as sci-fi as it sounds), closing out bank accounts and cancelling services like hydro and cable and generally closing off his living links to civilization. His passing, while unbelievably tragic and painful for our family, has inspired us to embrace life to the fullest while we still can.

And what says “I love life!” more than purchasing his and her cemetery plots?

Yep, as of yesterday, I am now a land baron. (I own more than one piece of property. Suck it, Trump; I’m coming for you.) Granted, the land in question is only a few feet wide by fourteen feet long, but it still counts. And to think, when the day began the wife and I were merely going out for groceries. But before we knew it, a simple trip became the most expensive journey to the grocery store ever.

It was a blisteringly hot day in Niagara and so we decided to detour and water the plants at my in-laws’ grave. That side-trip inspired a conversation about our own mortality and the lack of space at Fairview Cemetery in Niagara Falls and so we decided to make things easier for our daughter down the road (hopefully way, way, way down the road), and secure two plots of land in which to have our corpses deposited someday. 

Yes, we’re a real fun couple. We intend to follow up this thrill ride with a trip to a slaughterhouse for date night.

And now, friends, it is time for the “How-to” part of this post. You’re no doubt giggling – or rolling your eyes like the wife on date night – but trust me, this is important and slightly complicated stuff.

TO BEGIN WITH:  Did you know that if you plan on being cremated and having your scorched ashes thrown in with your parents, it can become quite complicated? (You can have up to four urns placed in with each plot so a double-plot can “hold’ up to ten people. Cozy.) If you have siblings they have to sign-off on every urn placed in a family plot.  So if you have brothers and sisters you can’t stand, prepare yourself or your kids for a battle royale someday.

If you plan on purchasing your own plots? Well then, you’re off to the dirt nap races, kiddies!

WHAT DO I DO, HOOK?  Glad you asked. Every cemetery has a business office that hasn’t been updated in a hundred years or so. (Which most likely contains a sign that reads; “People are dying to get in.”) Surprisingly, in spite of their environment, the staff will be happy-go-lucky and friendly. They’ll pull out an old, dusty, dirt-covered map of the remaining plots available for sale (the map will be old because there’s been no need to replace it and it will be dirty because cemetery workers tend to have a lot of dirt on their hands, ‘natch) and have a worker take you out to inspect what will be your final resting place for eternity.

Or until the maggots eat your face.

You’d think it’d be easy selecting a plot, but you’d be wrong. Some people want to be close to loved ones (don’t ask me why; it’s not like you’ll be socializing), or even in the shade. Seriously. For example:

THE WIFE:  (Upon seeing the section left for sale at Fairview.) I don’t like it! It’s too close to the road!

ME:  Seriously? You realize those details won’t matter, right?

THE WIFE:  Why?

ME:  BECAUSE YOU’LL BE DEAD!

For the record, she laughed her beautiful behind off at that one. But she still wanted a “good spot”. Our guide, Sam, was quite helpful. He pointed out a spot that was in the centre of the aisle , but not too close to a sewer drain (“Don’t want to have your coffins get wet and weaken too much”), and was even close to my in-laws. It was even wider than most aisles which means all my friends can gather at once and curse God for taking me so soon.

We were sold.

One quick check-writing session later (try not to make purchases you can’t actually afford to pay off fairly quickly, kids or you’ll die financially, which truly sucks), and we were the owners of two plots of Niagara Falls land which I truly hope we won’t be placed under for some time.

IS THIS REALLY WORTH IT, HOOK?  You bet! Your loved ones will have enough to worry about when you shuffle off this mortal coil without having to deal with securing a plot for you. Many folks are even taking this concept one step further by purchasing prepaid funerals.

And think of the financial savings; as I already stated, prices are rising faster than Charlie Sheen’s pulse in Vegas during porn convention week. And let’s face it, most people are not getting healthier as they get older, so your local dirt nap farm will be full before you know it.

And there you have it. See you in the lobby, and the cemetery, kids…

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Someday…

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Beware The Top of The World.

Being a bellman is akin to being a soldier.

Except for the “serving your country while selflessly wading into danger” part, of course.

But otherwise, there are more similarities than differences.

  • Most bellmen have military-style haircuts.
  • The hours suck.
  • Adherence to a mind-numbing routine becomes the norm.
  • The food often sucks.
  • You have to keep your equipment (luggage carts), and uniforms in perfect working order and spotless.
  • Bellmen have to be well-oiled machines capable of infiltrating and navigating hostile territory in record time.
  • There is a chain of command that cannot be superseded. (Except by yours truly, of course.)

And finally, bellmen often walk right into minefields that are disguised as safe zones.

In this particular case, the safe zone was the hotel’s penthouse suite, often referred to by staff as “The Top Of The World”.

  • Corner-to-corner windows that bathe the room in enough light to wipe out an entire vampire clan in one blast.
  • Ultra-chic furnishings that would make Brooke Shields weep.
  • Palatial bathrooms.
  • Big, strong beds – that get put to the test, trust me.
  • A view to die for – and some people do when they get the bill.

The Top Of The World is Heaven encased in concrete and wood. Though to be honest, the temporary residents are usually far from angelic.

“Hey, buddy! I need two carts to the penthouse suite ASAP! I’ll tip you good! Don’t bring those crappy silver carts, I need the good gold ones with the bars to hang shit from! You feel me?”

And so it began. Mr. Personality was a standard, brash, white American male cut came from the same Confederate flag as a million other white American males. His manner – and his voice, for that matter – were as smooth as shattered glass but otherwise, he was completely generic in appearance. Although, he was buzzed at noon on a Friday. At any rate, I made my way to The Top Of The World where, we’ll call him “Mr. Scratch” for reasons that will soon be obvious, was waiting.

“All right, pal! I need you to load all this shit, and there’s plenty of it, on both carts! And I need you to check every room carefully! My boy and I had a wild night, so we need you to make sure we didn’t forget anything, all right? Cool room, right? You been up here before?”

ME:  Yes, sir, I have and yes, I’ll check every room. To begin with, I notice there is some make-up on the floor beside you.

MR. SCRATCH:  Oh that! That there belongs to the wild girls we ordered last night! We’ll never see them again so don’t trouble yourself with their shit! Just get our stuff and I’ll give you as good tip, all right?

ME:  Got it.

And so I channeled my inner Sherlock and conducted a meticulous search of The Top Of The World. Aside from dozens of wet towels, dirty drinking glasses and food plates and wrappers, the room was pretty dull.

Then I checked the second bathroom.

Magnum condom wrappers – and their used contents – were littered around the room, scattered amongst the towels and other refuse. The stench of copulation was barely detectable but lingered nonetheless. A single thought burned its way through my consciousness and demanded to be shared.

ME:  You said you were here with your son, sir?

MR. SCRATCH:  Yeah, what about it? Wait that reminds me… GATES! (His voice resonated like thunder over the Alabama plains.) GET YOUR ASS OFF THAT COUCH AND GET YOURSELF TOGETHER! WE’RE GOIN’ AS SOON AS THIS GUY LOADS OUR SHIT UP!

I couldn’t contain my laughter. Not that Mr. Scratch cared. His mind was racing too fast to register anything but his own ramblings.

MR. SCRATCH:  Hey, you seen the view from here, Boss? I could spend days just staring at it, know what I mean?

ME:  I do. Just out of curiosity, did the ladies enjoy it?

MR. SCRATCH:  What, the view?

ME:  Yeah, sure we’ll go with that.

MR. SCRATCH:  Who cares? They weren’t here to take in the view, they were here to take –

ME:  I get it, sir! No need to elaborate.

With that, I set out to the master bedroom and began to load up six paper shopping bags, four suitcases, three duffel bags, several dress shirts, two bags of liquor bottles and assorted sundries.

MR. SCRATCH:  Told you that we had a lot of shit! I’ll tip you good, though! Turns out, I found a lot of stuff I wanted! That’s why you needed the gold carts. You can hang the paper bags up there… but only if they’re strong enough, right?

ME:  Indeed! Don’t want your shit dropping all over, now do we?

MR. SCRATCH:  Hells, no! You can help me load the car, right? I’ll tip you good!

ME:  I think I heard that. It’s a deal. Tell you what, you peel your son off the couch and I’ll head down to the valet deck. We’ll meet up and double-team your car.

Poor choice of words.

MR. SCRATCH:  Double-team? That reminds me –

ME:  EASY, SIR! I really don’t need the imagery! I get the picture all too clearly.

Mr. Scratch was speechless. For an all-too brief moment. He grabbed his dazed-and-confused son and met up with me in the guest elevator. And he only had to stop twice to flirt with housekeepers. Finally, we reached his car.

I stood motionless for a moment, quietly contemplating the challenge that lay ahead: two carts, as fully loaded as Lindsay Lohan on a movie set, and the tinest BMW they make – with a trunk that was already fully loaded. A walk in the park, right?

Not quite. But after twenty minutes of shuffling, chucking and rearranging (and plenty of ‘I’ll tip you good, buddy!’), we were all set.

MR. SCRATCH:  Well, I gotta say, that’s a helluva packin’ job, Boss! Ain’t that a great job, Gates?

Gates was barely alive, but he nodded and smiled.

ME:  I’m not just a pretty face and a Thor-like body, sir.

MR. SCRATCH:  HA! Well, a deal’s a deal… (he peeled off a few bills), here you go, Boss!

I shoved the wad into my pocket and set off to secure some bleach for my brain.

See you in the lobby, kids…

Other Stuff I Did This Week When I Wasn’t Battling Serving Guests

I interviewed the ever-adorable Sam Maggs for Pulp Nation. You’ll be moved to tears. For one reason or another. Click here. Do it now.

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I ate an entire bag of candy for dinner one night.

I prayed to a deity I barely believe in while vowing to never again eat an entire bag of candy for dinner.

 I’m done.

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It HAS To Be Monday…

There’s simply no other explanation for this post.

 Despite the tightrope-walk-over-a-wormhole-containing-a-million-shrarknados that is my work life, my mornings are fairly routine: I wake up to the alarm clock’s warning, peel the dog off my legs, carry her downstairs so she can evacuate her TARDIS-like (tiny-yet-bigger-on-the-inside-bowels), carry her back upstairs, plop her on the bed and tell the wife to stay asleep while I get ready for work.

Naturally, I know VampireLover will ignore me, so the clock begins ticking, Jack Bauer style, while I get myself ready to face the hordes of travelers waiting for me. But before I know it, that familiar creak begins to emanate from the upper staircase (a ninja could never live in a 10-year-old house), and the bathroom door flings open.

And the thrill ride that is my union begins to unfold again.

VL:  (Upon seeing the sink.)  Hey, Skippy! You used way too much shampoo for a guy with no hair!

ME:  (Otherwise known as “Skippy”.)  My name’s not Skippy, it’s the Hook. And hey, I have hair! It’s ridiculously short, shaved in fact, but I have hair! And how do you know how much shampoo I used?

VL:  I hate “The Hook”! I didn’t marry “The Hook”. And for your information, I can see all the suds left in the sink… Skippy.

ME:  What, all of the sudden you’re Columbo?

VL:  Columbo was a boy… Skippy.

ME:  Fine. What, all of the sudden you’re Mrs. Columbo?

VL:  You’re –

ME:  An idiot, I know.

VL:  Rude, is more like it.

ME:  You have to admit, I keep your life interesting. Without me, you’d be just another desperate housewife, forced to sniff paint fumes just to stave off mind-numbing depression. Either that, or you’d be watching Kardashian TV shows until your brain melts.

VL:  Do you hear yourself sometimes? And no, a vampire would keep my life interesting. And sexy.

ME:  Twenty years of marital bliss and suddenly I’m not good enough?

VL:  That’s not true.

ME:  Aw, thanks, hon.

But I spoke too soon…

VL:  You were never good enough. I just wanted to get out of the house.

 ME:  And they say romance is an antiquated notion in this day and age.

VL:  Romance? More like convenience!

ME: Glad I could be convenient. I’m like the 7-11 of marriage… I’m open for business 24/7.

VL:  (Giggling in that schoolgirl laugh that still makes my teeth tingle after twenty-plus years.) But you don’t have Slurpees!

ME:  Nice! No wonder I love you despite your obvious hatred for me. And your tendency to beat on me with flicks to various body parts, noogies, wedgies, wet willies and other childish physical attacks.

VL:  I don’t hate you, Skippy.

ME:  I always suspected that, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary, of course.

VL:  I just love bugging you. Now get to work and make me some money!

ME:  I am your humble servant… named Skippy.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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The Hook Visits Pulp Nation. Again.

So I took my sidekick (otherwise known as my daughter), with me to see Ant-Man on Friday.

And I wrote about it.

You can find that review – and a bunch of other cool stuff – on the virtual pages of Pulp Nation. That is all. I’m keeping it brief because I know you have lives to get back to – and I’m in the middle of the Summer of 2015, and let me tell you, its been cray-cray.

That’s what the kids say, right? I have difficulty keeping up with the ever-changing lingo utilized by today’s youth as they navigate their way in and out of rehab, juvie, Kardashian marathons and whatever else they do for fun these days.

CLICK HERE TO BE “MYSTIFIED”.

vyZyWit

 

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Suzie Speaks Summer Blog Party!

The Hook:

If you haven’t partied with Suzie?
Then you haven’t partied at all, baby!
Follow the link down the virtual rabbit hole and party on…

Originally posted on Suzie Speaks:

imageIt has been quite a while since I last hosted a blog party, and I absolutely love them! It’s the beginning of summer, and for me its the beginning of a new chapter, so I’m determined to celebrate in style! For those of you that have never participated in one before, the rules are simple:

1. Choose your favourite post from your own blog. The subject of the post can be anything you like – blogging, food, parenting, life, travel, thoughts, photography… Note: This should be only one post at a time or it will get sent straight to the ‘spam’ folder and I may not be able to find you for a while. You can share up to three links, and for maximum impact I would suggest that you wait a little while in between posting them rather than in one go.

2. Paste the link to your post…

View original 253 more words

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A Typical Morning… For Me, At Least.

VAMPIRELOVER (THE WIFE):  (Upon seeing my new hairstyle for the first time.)  Nice cut there, Skippy!

ME:  I take it you don’t approve?

VL:  You look like a soldier, which is hilarious because you wouldn’t last two minutes in the army. Or a shop teacher, which is even funnier considering you fell off a sawhorse while fixing the garage.

The love of my life, ladies and gentleman.

ME:  What’s wrong with looking like a shop teacher? I thought they got all the chicks?

VL:  Why would shop teachers get all the chicks?

ME:  It’s simple really…. they always have wood.

Needless to say, she was stunned. Luckily, twenty years of marriage to me sharpens one’s comedic reflexes.

VL:  You’re an idiot.

ME:  Guilty as charged. Ask yourself this though: Is it worse to be the idiot… or the person who married the idiot?

Without skipping a beat…

VL:  You’re an idiot wrapped in a moron.

ME:  And they said it wouldn’t last…

Short and sweet today, kids. See you in the lobby…

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