After 9/11, I conquered my dependency problems and went on to earn my Journalism degree from the University of Florida. I have written two screenplays, numerous political columns, and now am publishing my first novel, Confessions of a Bronx Bookie. I am here to answer any questions on Self Publishing and talk about anything related (or not) to my prior experience in life. Here are a few:

*23 years on FDNY
*5 years experience as a illegal bookmaker in the Bronx
*Unioned truckdriver in the Bronx (Teamster)
*Former Bar and Restaurant Owner in Queens as well as Flushing, NY
*Vietnam Veteran

Here is my Proof

Comments: 72 • Responses: 36  • Date: 

HairyAsHull9 karma

As a former FDNY, how do you feel knowing it took 10+ years to provide compensation to some of the first responders, EMS, fire services, and construction volunteers, and police after 9/11?

It seemed to me that should have been the first priorty before building a new structure or starting a few wars?

billyoconnorama17 karma

The powers that be told all first responders to go back to work. Don't let the terrorists win. We've lost over 330 first responders since from bone cancer and various ailments. Our government lied and continues to lie -- no surprise.

Icanpickanyname7 karma

Sir, what has been the most difficult endeavor for you so far? What were the influences in your life at the time? Thank you for taking the time to do this.

billyoconnorama11 karma

Sir, what has been the most difficult endeavor for you so far? What were the influences in your life at the time? Thank you for taking the time to do this.

The hardest thing I ever did was to stop drinking -- by far

Icanpickanyname5 karma

How much were you drinking just prior to quitting? Did it have a influence on your sense of humor?

billyoconnorama12 karma

About a quart and a half of vodka a day. I thought I was funnier drunk but on stage sobriety is a necessity.

badkiwis6 karma

What did you do in Vietnam? Thank you for your service!

billyoconnorama13 karma

Computer Operator. Back in that day there was a room the size of the on I sit in now (maybe 500 sq. ft.) that could do about 1/1000th of what a phone today can.

Obsi31 karma

Computer operator for what exact purpose?

billyoconnorama1 karma

I did civilian payroll, personal records, military payroll etc. All the functions any large operation need, Our base has 7,000 guys on it.

fav_number_ama5 karma

What is your favorite number?

billyoconnorama8 karma

382. That's the first address of the first tenement I moved into in the Bronx in 1950.

two_off5 karma

That's quite a varied list of jobs in your career. How did the levels of respect you received vary during your times in each profession?

billyoconnorama6 karma

As a firefighter, I gained respect. As a bookie, sometime fear was more important than respect when collecting. Bar owners have clout with young ladies and that always helps when your young and your hormones are raging.

PrettyPistolxo4 karma

I've listened to your standup... Super funny!! Can't wait to read your book. Mind telling us your craziest prostitute story? Lol :p

billyoconnorama8 karma

Well, I called a hooker once in South Carolina. I had never even been in the state. When she showed up, I KNEW her. lol I asked my buddy another bookie, "Bobby, what's the odds I've never been in South Carolina and I call hooker, and I know her? He said, "With you? I'd make it even money."

icameforthecookies4 karma

First of all, Thanks be being such an all 'round kind of standup guy! You don't hear many people coming back from Vietnam making lemonade out of the lemons a lot of people threw at you. I suggest your next job being motivational speaker to the younger generation.

My question... If you had to stock my man cave bar, what brand of liquor would you put in it?

billyoconnorama6 karma

Johnny Walker Black Grinning

Ihatebeingazombie4 karma

I'm always curious how people become bookies, as in how does everyone in the neighbourhood know to come to you, is it word of mouth?

Any juicy stories where people didn't pay up?

And as a fellow barman I have to agree with the Johnnie Walker ;) even if he tends not to agree with me the next day.

billyoconnorama7 karma

Lots of those "collecting stories" in my book. That's the problem :) I became a bookie because I was a compulsive gambler who couldn't stop, so I decided to get on the right side for a change.

We had a guy who beat us for $28,000 the first week, $34,000 the second week. On the third week, he lost $50,000 and told us to go fuck ourselves -- big problem

Ihatebeingazombie1 karma

Jesus Christ! Ok so I was thinking a few hundred bucks here and there but you are much more soprano's than I thought haha. I will certainly be getting a copy of your book it sounds great. And thanks for the reply.

billyoconnorama6 karma is where you can pre-order it. I'll sign it and send you a copy.

BrutallyHonestDude0 karma


billyoconnorama0 karma

Yeah, we collected but it led to multiple problems. It's in the book.

billyoconnorama0 karma

I agree with you pal. Black on the rocks, a thing of beauty.

KarlPlays3 karma

What was it like serving in vietnam?

billyoconnorama13 karma

I was in Laos. and smoked a lot of weed. I'm no hero. I was in the Air Force

HairyAsHull1 karma

Take it using the shotgun for its most useful purpose?

How were the officer clubs? Ping pong balls and all?

I had a very awesome friend, who served in Vietnam, tell me as fucked up as it was. Those time on leave were the funnest time of his life.

billyoconnorama8 karma

The women were $5 a night, bath houses were $2.50. Drugs were everywhere. So yeah, I had a lot of fun in South East Asia

billyoconnorama13 karma

Vietnam was a tragic freaking waste

KarlPlays1 karma


billyoconnorama4 karma

Exactly that.

matlockga3 karma

Purple Rain or Thriller?

billyoconnorama7 karma

My Way - Frank Sinatra

billyoconnorama7 karma

The FDNY was a rush in the South Bronx and Harlem

Codename-Stirfry3 karma

After achieving all of the various titles over your life time, would you say that you are relatively satisfied with how far you've come, or do you feel like you need to accomplish more to be satisfied?

billyoconnorama5 karma

With life, you're never finished. I think I want to be excited to put my feet on the ground everyday.

deadpoolicide2 karma

Hey Bill! Saw your link on FB and actually wanted to ask you some things I've been thinking:

  1. How did you find your "voice" in doing stand-up? Did your jokes go through dozens of rewrites before you found what worked and sounded natural, or were they always a natural extension of you?

  2. What's the most exciting part of the novel, to you, that readers will enjoy the most (if you had to pick)?

  3. Who the fuck is Bill O'Connor?

billyoconnorama5 karma

Great questions. Your voice on stage, comes like writing, when you get comfortable enough to be yourself. It's hard and takes time. Once you find it, standup becomes fun before that it's terrifying.

I like the early parts about growing up in the Bronx streets in the '50s and the chapters on Nam.

Who da fucks is Bill O'Connor? That's a great question. I've been searching for him for 66 years. Like Plato said, "Know thyself. "

zacklyman1 karma

Billy! Zack here, I just wanted to ask all that time in New York what made you travel west?

billyoconnorama1 karma

After college, I wrote two screen plays. I knew a few people in Hollywood so I came West.

Offthepoint1 karma

Lifelong Bronxite here. Need to establish your credentials. What was the hangout for BICs in the 1970s in the Bronx?

billyoconnorama2 karma

The in Between, The Archway, any joint in Woodlawn

Offthepoint2 karma

YOU WIN! You're real! Good luck in your chosen career!!

billyoconnorama3 karma

Thanks pal

dialupson1 karma


billyoconnorama2 karma

Your a real funny guy. I wonder if the 58,000 dead think your funny.

[deleted]1 karma


billyoconnorama0 karma

On the contrary pal, when you talk serious, I agree with you. In the aforementioned comment you were being facetious, and I handled it as such. Sarcasm doesn't travel well over the internet. I think Vietnam like this bullshit in Afghanistan and Iraq was, and is, about corporate interests. And I agree with you about the millions spent by our neo-fascist rulers before any citizen can run for office. We don't have elections in this country, we have auctions. So we agree, and I'm delighted as a veteran yourself, you're smart enough to see that. So from one Vet to another, Happy Veterans Day, pal. I'll say pal because I don't know your name. And that my friend I consider my misfortune. Stay well.

Jamie-Monster1 karma


billyoconnorama7 karma

On stage I do 45 minutes on pussy. I told a gal that I could do 45 minutes on pussy and she said, "I wish you'd do 45 minutes on my pussy." She didn't understand metaphors. If I did 45 minutes on pussy at 66, I'd want a statue built of me. lol

billyoconnorama4 karma

I love Chris Rock's bit about O.J. "I don't agree with OJ but I understand."

once_said_blah1 karma

Did you ever donate to NORAID?

billyoconnorama1 karma


minimalistwealth1 karma

What was the #1 most useful thing you learned from getting that degree?

billyoconnorama1 karma

A journalism degree gave me the tools to write. Without the journalism degree I wouldn't have had the bricks and the mortar

hoodyupload1 karma

What do you like about the vietnam war and my vietnam girl friend told me that a vietnam won the war what do you have to say about that ?

billyoconnorama0 karma

Well they lost over a million and we lost 58,000. But they're commitment was greater. After all, they were fighting for their country. They fought the Japanese as our allies in WW11, and still Truman sided with the French. All they wanted was their independence. They neat the French and then they beat us, without an Air Force or a Navy. General Giap was one of the greatest general of the 20th century, a genius.

billyoconnorama0 karma

Now that my book is out I'm spending the necessary time on social medai and would like some suggestions. Anyone know the best way to push a book?

mondolardo0 karma

which organization is/was the most corrupt? I suspect equal but...

billyoconnorama1 karma


166res1cue0 karma

Fellow Firefighter, what company did you run with in the FDNY? Thanks for your service on 9/11. We lost a lot of brothers that day.

billyoconnorama0 karma

Bruddah, L-17 E-60. Then I made Lt.

billyoconnorama0 karma

Thanks for the interest

yourbrainwashed-5 karma

Billy, Why isn't every truck driver a teamster? Why don't you organize the entire country? Truckers are predominantly male and are getting a raw deal in the US. Read the book Men on Strike by Dr. Helen Smith. She talks about the corrupt family courts in this country, the cancer on American society. and since women get preferential treatment in hiring and promotion in all aspects of society thanks to their lawyers, why not send a message, men are rising up, starting with the lowly low paid truckers who are the back bone of this country slaving away like mules for these women. Do you have a podcast? Go on Joe Rogans

billyoconnorama1 karma

As far as a pod-cast goes, I will be broadcasting on for now as they helped me do this AMA. Check them out. As far as women getting preferential treatment, they still earn 70% of what men make. This despite the majority of our graduate students are women. I agree all truckers should be unionized. People who are jealous of union benefits, shouldn't why union members have them, they should ask why they don't.