Publishers note: This is Norm Hackings last
column. It was handwritten (as usual on odd scraps of paper and assorted
cocktail napkins) for last years February issue, but due to my deplorable
filing system (What filing system? exclaims my long suffering
wife) it was temporarily lost in a deep pile of paper, so Norm wrote a
second for us on short notice and we ran that one. Eventually found, this
piece was left in the bank to be used this year. Then Norm
had the unpardonable gall to get sick and die, to the extreme sorrow of
everyone here at the paper and so many of our readers who were among his
immense cadre of fans.
This doesnt mean that youve seen the end of Hackings
work in the pages of TN. We still intend, from time to time, to continue
to let him amuse, touch and edify all of us by rerunning some of our favorites,
as the mood and time of year strikes.
But for now, we hope this, his final unpublished effort, and the many
different levels of meaning we have found in it, tickles you as much as
it has us.
We here think it is a great way for Norm to say farewell to all of
us at the paper, and to you.
John Q. Duffy [Publisher, Taxi News]
A Writer Recycled
© Norm Hacking 2008
Theres way too much stuff on this planet.
Therefore, I have (albeit reluctantly), joined the ranks of the recyclers
and I dont just mean pizza cartons, empty Jack Daniel's bottles,
No siree. Theres too much of almost everything in this world! As
a writer, Im keenly aware this is especially true regarding the
reams of prose, poetry and song that are cranked out each day on good
old planet Earth.
So, Valentines Day 2008 seems a perfect opportunity to recycle
some of my blue box literary pollutants and verbal clutter.
For instance, in preparation for the Taxinews year-end party of 2007,
I wrote a song to sing to my compatriots, thinking the party might be
held at the Renaissance Cafe where I was performing.
Instead it took place a few days later, at a club out in the west end,
an area of town to which I almost never go.
Since Im now stuck with a song called Taxinews Blues,
I see no reason why I shouldnt recycle the lyric, and offer it up
as my Valentine to the wonderful folks at good ol TN.
for Taxi News
by Norm Hacking
I thought up Harry Potter
Folks all said I oughter
Write him down in stories
Hell, Id be bound for glory
But me, Id just feel funny
Makin all that money
So, I knew the path to choose
Writin for the Taxinews.
Published by John Duffy
He gets huffy-puffy
When I submit my copy
Handwritten, torn and sloppy
Yet he cant bear to fire
A whiner and a crier
And so hes learned to sing the blues
Publishing the Taxinews.
The editors McOuat
He makes sure we dont screw it
He suffers awful trauma
When I misplace a comma
Yeah, Race Track Hacks the column
That makes him sad and solemn
He swears he cant afford the booze
It takes to edit Taxinews!
So we grow old and flabby
Writin for the cabbies
Bout the regulations
That rule our league of nations
And this poem could be fleeter
But still its got good meter
Yeah, weve all learned to sing the blues
Workin on the Taxinews!
Happy Valentines Day to all the ink-stained scribes at TN...
And, while were on the recycling kick, I recently found an old
shoe box full of really old Valentines that I never had the courage to
send, or that were returned to me with threats of restraining orders,
#1. (To little blonde Mary, the goddess of Kindergarten...)
I really hate
Your brother Gary
Last time I went
To the dairy
He and his tough buddy Larry
Bugged me til it
Got really scary
Stole my ice cream
It was strawberry
Bet you he would get
... if he knew I slept with his little sister every day at nap time!
#2. (To that special teacher)
Mrs. Shay, Mrs. Shay
Boy Id like to
Have my way
With Mrs. Shay!
(P.S. Be mine, and please dont flunk me.)
#3 (To the cheerleader whose uniform fit best)
High schools such
A scary place
Still I go
To see your face
Smile and cheer
As players race
Out on the field
At breakneck pace
I sit and dream
Of your embrace
And curse the fact
That Im still chaste.
P.S. I love you Valentine - please dont tell your boyfriend Rocky,
And on, and on. I could recycle old valentines all day, but its
starting to depress me.
But, lest you think Valentines and recycling are an improbable combination
for this column, just remember: nothing on Gods Earth gets recycled
more times than the human heart.
Be mine, etc. Love,
As noted by Taxi News publisher John Q. Duffy, Norm wrote
this column for the February 2007 issue, and the misplaced column was
later relocated in the publisher's office. Norm wrote his monthly column
from February 1992 to a few weeks before his death on November 25, 2007.
Posted here with kind permission of Taxi News.
Taxi News website is www.taxinews.com
with Norm's column (in months that favourites are re-run) at www.taxinews.com/racetrackhack.html
and one or two archived issues in .pdf format at www.taxinews.com/archives.html
(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.
See the list of Norm's on-line lyrics, poetry
and prose, including other "Race Track Hack" columns for
Added to Norm's website March 2, 2008