100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #29.

I burn through a lot of precious time I’ll never get back bitching about my lot in life but every once in awhile the Universe reminds me of just how blessed I am to be The Hook, for only The Hook would have a guest encounter like this…

He was a strapping man-mountain with powerful hands and a booming voice to match, which he used to hand me his family’s luggage one early morning while exclaiming, “I bet you’ve seen everything in this job… Until now.”

My response was the same as it always is when guests attempt to shock me, which they do quite often.

“I’ve never been foolish enough to assume I’ve seen everything the Universe has to show me – especially in this job.”

Undaunted, he continued to hand me suitcase after cooler bag after backpack until he came to a giant, shiny plastic bag. A smile as wide as the FBI’s black file on Donald Trump enveloped his face as he said:

“I guarantee you’ve seen something like this before. Here’s my bag of legs.”

It was a that point that I turned my gaze to his left leg – which was factory-issued rather than God-given.

“I have an Olympic-level running leg in here, one for swimming and even one with special pivoted joints for golfing!”

You’re no doubt feeling a slight twinge of surprise right now, just as I did.

For a nanosecond, at least.

“Wow. You’re like a real-life G.I. Joe action figure with interchangeable accessories, sir.”

Our banter paused as he considered my words carefully. And then he saw the, let’s go with “wisdom”, in them.

“You’re absolutely right, boss. I am a real-life G.I. Joe!”

And this, at last brings us to our point for today.

#29: Unexpected Encounters With Beacons Of Light.

I have no idea just how this guest lost his left leg; the circumstance will forever be a mystery to me. But I know this: He hasn’t let it slow him down. He has a family, the love of a good woman (I’m assuming his wife isn’t a raging succubus) and a dynamite outlook on life, one that was actually infectious. But a good infectious, not infectious in a way that requires a shot of penicillin.

And by the way, his legs really were pretty cool. We’re talking Tony Starkesque quality.

And so I was grateful that our paths crossed and not simply because it allowed me to contribute another entry to my stalled campaign. I’m grateful because this guest made me smile (as Ronnie did so often) and gave me a reason to reflect on everything that’s happened in the last two years. I’ve been through several soul-draining trials that have left me devastated and too weak to go on at times.

But I’m still here.

And so are you, I hope.

So let’s travel on together, shall we?

See you in the lobby and down the road, friends…

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And Now, A Brief Message From The “Author”.


I got nothin’.

I’d like to write the next installment of “100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself” or tell you all how this summer has been unfolding in Niagara but I’m blocked mentally and thanks to my IBS, physically as well. And so this is just a message in a virtual bottle, one meant to let you know The Hook lives but is busy fulfilling his commitments to his “other life” as a bellman/dad/husband/full-time nerd.

So until we communicate again, be good to yourselves and each other and whatever you do, avoid that godforsaken “Cats” trailer, it’s awful beyond words. Seriously, someone snorted Ajax and did a line of pure Colombian cocaine before writing that movie and cutting the trailer.

See you in the lobby eventually, kids…

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A Day In The Life. (Or At Least A Piece Of One.)

On a typically atypical Wednesday morning I made my way to the hotel’s mid-tower and knocked on one of the press-board doors that separate the inmates from those of us that try to run this particular asylum, not having any idea what awaited me.

Little did I know the sweetest Crasian (crazy Asian) to ever visit North America was prepared to provide me with some of the best blog fodder a blogging bellman could ever ask for. She was ten New York City phone books high, with hair as black as night and eyes as bright as the North star.

And an attitude to match.

This is one of those times where my limitations as a writer prevent me from conveying the stereotypical nature and sheer hilarity of an accent, but I’ll do my best.

“OH HELLO!” she welcomed me warmly and LOUDLY, something I’m truly not used to after two decades of dealing with guests that barely have a heartbeat before noon, never mind a sunny (and loud/proud) disposition.

“I have a cooler! Veeerry heavy, so I help you!” were the next thick words to fall from her lips like a thousand-pound weight.

I assured her I could handle her cooler and did so immediately, a feat that pleased her more than I ever could have imagined.


I have to admit, I nearly dropped the cooler as I stifled my laughter. My newest fan then proceeded to follow me to her second room down the hall, shouting, “SUPERMAN! SUPERMAN!” the whole way. Four of her traveling companions were equally entertaining; tying their backpacks to the cart in order to prevent any upsets and generally fussing over the care their belongings would receive from “Superman” as he stored them for the day.

At any rate, the Crasians went about their day and I eagerly awaited their return. The entire group, which had swelled to about fifteen by the end of the day (did they spontaneously reproduce while down by the Falls, I wonder?) eventually returned and directed me to their ginormous van in a cacophony of voices. I unloaded (and untied) their bags, that infamous cooler and boxes of Asian cuisine and then awaited my gratuity, curious to see what sort of tip a superhero garnered.

My little Crasian lady handed me two American dollars as though they were bars of gold.

“I’m guessing Spider-Man would’ve earned at least a five, miss.” was my patented Hook-style retort. Fortunately, her good nature prevailed and she found my Canadian sarcasm amusing.

“You no Spider-Man… You Superman!”

You’re damn right I am.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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Summer “Fun” With The Hook.

It’s been awhile since I shared any of my encounters in the trenches of hotel hell heaven, so I’m going to open with a speech I usually save for slightly different situations but which applies here:

“This may not go as smoothly as you’d hoped. I may not be as adept as I one was but I can still guarantee your satisfaction by the climax. I hope.”

So yesterday afternoon I was returning to the guest elevators after finishing off another successful luggage call that ended exactly as such things should: with a few dollars in my frayed uniform pockets, when I crossed paths with a black family of four from the US. Incidentally, we have a new bellman from Jamaica who insists he is a black man not a “damn colored person”, so I’m going with black, not “African-American okay?

At any rate, here’s the unforgettable convo that followed between myself and Mom, Dad and two pre-teen lads.

PRE-TEEN LAD #1:  Yo, you make a lot of money as a bellboy?

ME:  I do all right… But that’s between us and not Revenue Canada, okay?

MOM:  What’s Revenue Canada?

ME:  Our version of your lovely IRS.

MOM:  Oh! We hate those guys!

ME:  Everyone does. Even those guys hate themselves.

PRE-TEEN LAD#2:  Do all bellboys make a lot of coin?

MOM:  You boys shouldn’t be asking this nice gentleman these questions.

ME:  The nice gentleman doesn’t mind. And to answer your question, I can’t say how much other bellman make, all I can do is speak for myself.

PRE-TEEN LAD: 1:  So why do you make sick coin?

ME:  Oh, that’s easy. It’s because I’m a middle-aged, non-threatening white male. I’m the Wayne Brady of bellmen.

A round of shocked laughter abounded throughout the moving metal box we all found ourselves temporarily encased in.

Then things got… Well, you’ll see.

MOM:  Wayne Brady? But he’s black!

DAD:  Wayne Brady ain’t black! That nigga ain’t been black for years!

BOTH PRE-TEEN LADS:  Yeah, mom, that nigga ain’t been black for years!

With that, we all exited the elevator as Mom rolled her eyes until she gave herself a headache, Dad beamed with pride at the attitude he had instilled in his lads, the leads were lads, and I grinned from ear to ear, knowing I had some nice, juicy blog fodder to serve up for my readers.

And now that I’ve taken a temporary reprieve from my summer hiatus, I bid you all adieu.

See you in the lobby, friends…

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What’s The Hook Up To Anyway?

By now I’m sure at least eight of you are wondering, “What the hell’s going on with your ‘100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself” series, Hook?



Well anyway, I started this (hopefully) life-affirming series to be slightly selfish and work through my lingering issues surrounding Rockin’ Ronnie’s death but also to help anyone dealing with grief or depression of any variety. (Lord knows there are millions of reasons to be depressed and disillusioned with life these days.) But a funny thing happened along the way…

I got better.

Mind you, I’m far from completely sane but as John Astin used to say:

“I’m feeling much better now!”

So much so that I’ve decided to stay the course and continue my blogging hiatus. It doesn’t appear that the Summer of 2019 is going to be very hot or summer-like in Niagara Falls, but hopefully the hotel will be bustling with activity – and if I’m lucky some of it may even be quasi-normal. So between work and living my life, as “unique” as it is, I’m going to be a busy man-child.

Heck, I already am.

My daughter and I just returned from our fifth trip to NYC in two years; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two are required viewing if you love next-level theater and have a few hundred dollars burning a hole in your change purse. And Niagara Falls Comic Con 2019 just wrapped up, so I’m mentally and physically drained of all my nerdy power.

So to sum up: I’m feeling good (though my IBS continues to attack me with all the tenacity of a squirrel on my backpack), there are fewer dark days than ever and I’m looking forward to time with my family and the crazy bastards I call my work family more than ever.

It’s all good and so am I.

Come to think of it, maybe this hiatus itself is a Reason To Not Kill Yourself.

#30: Take A Break!


A super image for a super mood…

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100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #31.

Dearly beloved members of the First (and Only) Church of Hook,  we gathered here today to acknowledge and pay tribute to all forms of organized, and even unorganized, worship and its place in our lives.

I shall now pause for a moment, as 90% of you click away and see what’s new on YouTube and any of the other “Tube” sights that shall remain nameless….

All done? Good, then we’ll continue.

#31: Religion.

I realize religion is one of those hot-button topics that people usually advise other people to avoid at social gatherings so as to avoid someone getting a shrimp fork in the temple, but you know me, right? I don’t give a toss who I offend, and it usually works out pretty well. For me, at least.

So that’s why I’ve decided to forgo my personal feelings on religion and acknowledge the positive effects it can have on a person who is struggling with life’s many challenges.

My wife once had an Uncle Johnny who swore belonging to a church saved him from remaining on a path of self-destruction. Indeed, I’ve heard the stories over the years about the path he was once on as a young husband and father and he surely would’ve never have made it to his golden years if he hadn’t found an anchor to keep him from drifting away.

For some the bonds of family are enough. For others, it can be something as seemingly-simple as a dedicated exercise regiment, organized sports, writing, painting, or even underwater basket-weaving.

But for millions of mammals the secret to a happy, stable life involves chewing a thin, bland wafer and drinking an even blander (that’s a word, right?) cup of crimson liquid that’s supposed to be the blood of God’s only son.


Hey, if it’s good enough for Prof. Farnsworth and Sheldon Cooper…


Fun Fact: As a kid because I was worried I’d become a vampire, so that “Blood of Christ” never touched my lips. And I was disappointed beyond words when I came upon the realization that being a vampire would actually be pretty cool, and nothing happened when I finally took a swig of that religious concoction. That misunderstanding aside, I attended quite a few church services throughout my early life until I decided it just wasn’t something that appealed to me.

The hypocrisy I witnessed made me sick (sinning like a motherfucker all week cannot be washed away with a few Hail Marys in a church at the week’s end) and so I continued on my path without a Sunday consumed by a couple of hours praying and singing in a monkey suit followed by lunch at Swiss Chalet.

Actually, I miss the chicken.

But all religion can save lives. I’m sure there are congregates of the Church of Satan that would surely be worm food right now if they hadn’t been compelled to devote their lives to the red-skinned guy with the horns and tails. And yes, that’s still a victory for the pro-religious camp. Short of stalking and murdering innocent victims, every pastime that gives a lost soul something to focus on is worthwhile.

So picking up a bible, the Quran, whatever Satanists read, or any other religious text may be just what you need to keep you from severing that vital connection to the world. Feeling as though you’re a part of something larger than yourself can be humbling but also deeply fulfilling.

I was concerned when we first lost Ronnie that his immortal soul may have been in jeopardy but after consulting with a few friends and a religious authority or two I was assured that my friend is at peace at last. On a side note, I was deeply relieved when I didn’t burst into flame after entering a church to meet with a priest.

So in conclusion, religion may not be your bag but it when you look past all the BS you may just find what you’re looking for.

And that’s as inspirational as I can be these days so take it or leave it.

See you in the lobby or between the pews, kids…

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100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #32.

As some of you are aware, I am one of the few mammals alive that hasn’t been enraptured by the cultural phenomena known throughout the Multiverse as Game of Thrones.

I know, I know, it’s crazy, right?

Nevertheless, I’ve yet to become a fan of a program that has elevated incest, dragons, medieval brutality and the most depressing wedding of all time. However, GoT has inspired the title of today’s post and for that I will be forever grateful.

#32: Summer Is Coming.

It certainly doesn’t feel like it in my home base of Niagara Falls where the phrase, “April showers bring May flowers” has been replaced by “April showers bring May showers… So batten down the hatches, you poor bastards”, but the dog days of summer will soon be here.

I hope.

The weather in Niagara has been completely dreadful since last October but nothing lasts forever, and while it’s definitely far too brief in Canada, summer can only be delayed by pollution and Mother Nature’s mood swings, not cancelled entirely. Eventually, we’ll all be seeing the unmistakable signs that the fairest of all seasons is here once again. What are these signs? I’m so glad you asked…

  • The birds will begin chirping at 4am, waking me from an agonizingly-brief slumber.
  • My neighbors will stare at their dead grass, then at their hoses and sprinklers, before considering the water rates in Niagara Falls (which are ironically high) and then they’ll just let the grass die so they can afford another month of unlimited wi-fi.
  • A few kids will get their bikes out of the garage – until Mom and Dad get visions of the rugrats getting wiped out by a driver or whisked away by a pedophile. Then the bike will go back in the garage, right next to the sprinkler. Cynical realities, I know, but realities nevertheless.
  • There will be at least one old guy in shorts, black socks and sandals on every street, coffee shop or store walking around declaring, “How about this heat, am I right?”

As a bellman I’ve always been especially, ridiculously even, fond of the summer. Or as I like to refer to it, “The Only Season That Determines Whether or Not I Eat For The Rest Of The Year”.

Summer’s when it all happens in Niagara; it’s when the city is humming with life rather than rotting away like a decaying corpse.

Summer’s when travelers gather in large numbers to watch, and this is an exact quote from a guest, “A shit-ton of water piss down on a bunch of ancient rocks in a hole that was formed when a meteor bigger than my lady’s coochie came down and wiped out the dinosaurs.”

I love my guests from America’s inner cities.

Older folks and those with breathing issues may hate it, but summertime is filled with a wonderful sense of nostalgia for many of us. First kisses. First sip of beer with your dad on the porch. First time driving on your own when you hit a hobo and have to convince your drunk friends to help you hide the body. Lots of memorable firsts.

In short, summer truly is the season of life. So milk it for all it’s worth, kids; seize the day and all that jazz.

Breathe in the summer.


See you in the lobby, friends…


This may not be the most upbeat pop song ever but it’s status as a definitive summer song is irrefutable.

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