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Norm Hacking's Prose
Race Track Hack:
"A Writer Recycled"



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Taxi News, February 2008, Vol 23 No 2 p 15

Publisher’s note:  This is Norm Hacking’s last column. It was handwritten (as usual on odd scraps of paper and assorted cocktail napkins) for last year’s 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 doesn’t mean that you’ve seen the end of Hacking’s 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But for now, we hope this, his final unpublished effort, and the many different levels of meaning we have found in it, tickles you as much as it has us.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

There’s way too much “stuff” on this planet.

Therefore, I have (albeit reluctantly), joined the ranks of the “recyclers” – and I don’t just mean pizza cartons, empty Jack Daniel's bottles, and ex-lovers.

No siree. There’s too much of almost everything in this world! As a writer, I’m 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, Valentine’s 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 I’m now stuck with a song called “Taxinews Blues,” I see no reason why I shouldn’t recycle the lyric, and offer it up as my “Valentine” to the wonderful folks at good ol’ TN. So...

Valentine Blues
for Taxi News

by Norm Hacking

“I thought up Harry Potter
Folks all said I “oughter”
Write him down in stories
Hell, I’d be bound for glory
But me, I’d 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 can’t bear to fire
A whiner and a crier
And so he’s learned to sing the blues
Publishing the Taxinews.
The editor’s McOuat
He makes sure we don’t screw it
He suffers awful trauma
When I misplace a comma
Yeah, Race Track Hack’s the column
That makes him sad and solemn
He swears he can’t 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 it’s got good “meter”
Yeah, we’ve all learned to sing the blues
Workin’ on the Taxinews!”

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the ink-stained scribes at TN...

And, while we’re 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, etc...

#1. (To little blonde Mary, the goddess of Kindergarten...)
“Mary, Mary
Quite contrary
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
Real hairy...
... if he knew I slept with his little sister every day at nap time!”

Love, Norm

#2. (To that special teacher)
“Mrs. Shay, Mrs. Shay
Teaches English
Every day
Boy I’d like to
Have my way
With Mrs. Shay!”
(P.S. Be mine, and please don’t flunk me.)
#3 (To the cheerleader whose uniform fit best)

“High school’s 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 I’m still chaste.”
P.S. I love you Valentine - please don’t tell your boyfriend Rocky, the quarterback...

And on, and on. I could recycle old valentines all day, but it’s starting to depress me.

But, lest you think Valentines and recycling are an improbable combination for this column, just remember: nothing on God’s Earth gets recycled more times than the human heart.

Be mine, etc. Love,
Racetrack Hack.

Webmaster's Notes:

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 with Norm's column (in months that favourites are re-run) at and one or two 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.

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


Added to Norm's website March 2, 2008