Photo - Norm Hacking

Norm Hacking's Prose
Race Track Hack:
"Who is Race Track Hack?
by Syd the Cat"



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When Cats Go Wrong













Taxi News, March 1996, p.14,15
© Norm Hacking 1996

Ed. Note - Like all those trashy, sensationalistic, weekly supermarket tabloids, we too now enlist our own special source -- "Deep Purr" -- to reveal the real deal about the legendary enigmatic journalist known to his legion of fans as "Race Track Hack"

Deep Purr, alias Syd The Cat, has actually lived with Norm Hacking for more than a dozen years, and has finally decided to "go public", with the following riveting exposé simply titled:

Who is Race Track Hack?
by Syd The Cat

Norm Hacking is very big. Very.

Sometimes, while I am sunning my big hairy orange butt in a windowpane of sunlight cast upon the livingroom carpet, he shows up and blocks out the sun!

This scares some of my cat friends, but Norm Hacking has shown himself to be a most gentle giant over the years, so I'm not scared.

He's got pretty long fur for a human.

I think he wears his hair and beard long because it pisses off the grownups, and makes them uncomfortable. I know that some mornings when I lick his face to wake him, I often get a tonguefull of bear hairs. That's ok.

Let's face it, we all look different - two legs, four legs, tail, no tail, skinny, fat, black, white, orange… it doesn't really matter. My guess is Race Track Hack, alias Norm Hacking, alias the Hack, wears his girth and his long fur like a challenge to people, daring them to look past and inside. The ones who do make the best friends.

Race Track Hack is 45 years old - that's 315 in cat years. Some mornings, after a night out with Irish Irving, Fat Phil and Rodney L.T. Coombs he looks much older.

He was born in 1950 to a litter of one, in the wilds of Scarborough. Though I was not around yet, reports were that he was a rather large and naughty kitten. His mother raised him with fierce pride after his daddy tomcat split. His family "pride" of cats also included Grandmother Ella, Grandfather Ivan, and Uncle John.

I've always been jealous of him for that. I can't even remember my family, having been a Cabbagetown street cat since my early youth. But, except for his absent tomcat sire, the Hack grew up surrounded by the support of his family, and this made him feel like he could like the world.

We first met while I was between residences. My last fixed address in Cabbagetown had become a non-option, after I went next door and ate Arnold the Goldfish.

I hated to eat and run, but the heat was definitely on, so I took it on the lam, a poor orange fugitive. And there was Race Track Hack, to offer me a hideout 'til the whole thing blew over. Funny though, after the heat was off, I kinda decided to keep hanging around anyway. Race Track Hack never said a word.

He even started buying cat food, though aspiring singer-songwriter-poet-actor-journalists don't usually have much extra disposable income.

When he went 'on the road' he left me in charge. When his music gigs were in Toronto, I hung out with him and Randall McCorriston, Fat Phil, Tall Tom. When Rodney L.T. Coombs was around I always split -- I didn't like the way he looked at me. It made me nervous.

Just when I was settling into our life as bachelor tomcats in a downtown apartment, a blonde lady moved in. Next thing you know, we're sleepin' three-in-a-bed instead of two! Then comes a new human kitten (normally I would have resented this, but the kid was born with orange hair, so that was ok by me).

The blonde even goes out and acquires a couple more cats - The Flea and Malone - and I start to figure it's gettin' a little crowded around here.

A lotta years passed, and I started to notice I wasn't as quick off the mark when I was out mousing. We moved a few times, and the blonde left, and Race Track Hack got a little bigger, a little slower, and his long brown fur started turning a little grey.

But not much else changed.

When you ask me "Who is Race Track Hack?" I'd say he's about the same. He's very big, with long fur, and he's still busy, like everybody else, creating a life as he goes along. Only difference is, his sometimes ends up in a song, or a poem, or a newspaper column.

Hell, he's even written a couple of columns and songs about me! That's why I know he must be a great writer.

Webmaster's Note:  See the list of Norm's on-line lyrics, poetry and prose, including other "Race Track Hack" columns for Taxi News.

Taxi News website is with Norm's current monthly column at and a few archived issues in .pdf format at (check the last few pages of each issue). Taxi News is a monthly publication with news and commentary on Toronto's taxi industry and is available by subscription or free at distribution points.


Added to Norm's website March 11, 2004