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Monday, March 9, 2015

Sentimentally 1990

Here we all are, dressed the way our parents dressed us on this important Picture Day, some of us probably not too happy about it either. I see Clay in the back row though and while you can’t see the bib straps, we all know they are there, why, because it was cool, that’s why. I look at this picture and I smile, I see Casey and Bruce standing next to each other. Of course they stand next to each other, they probably just finished a belching contest, and as we all know those contests had no winner. I see Ashley and Adrienne in the middle and of course they are next to each other, you cannot possibly remember one without remembering the other. The fourth grade, when boys noticed girls and girls noticed boys. I remember how our romantic interests culminated in a couples’ skate at Marvic Skate center. I once wrote the incredibly brave ‘Will you skate with me? Check yes or no.’ note. There you would find yourself in your happiest moment to date circling the warped wooden floor, pinky fingers locked because your palms were too sweaty, gently bopping to the beat of Miley’s dad country crooning about his achy breaky heart. Or perhaps as more often was the case, just like Phil Collins couldn’t dance, you could not skate backwards, so you found yourself seated on the carpeted bench watching others undulate in the strobe light, lamenting your own achy breaky heart. Music more then than now ruled our lives and while I don’t recall anyone brave enough to show up at school with their clothes on backwards, we never missed an opportunity to ‘Jump Jump’ if Mr. Kriss or Mr. Kross asked us to. The toughest decision we ever had to make those days was whether to allow or disallow the dreaded “popcorn” move in a game of Two Square. Long before the American presence of Jackie Chan we would dangerously plummet from the upper battlements of the old wooden fort, free falling stories down, exploding pea gravel as we landed. Free running through monkey bars and chain ladders only to have the person you were desperately chasing clutch at the last possible second to the fireman pole and yell ‘Base!’ Ryan Turnball didn’t play tag. He played everything else, who here didn’t want to be on his team during Kickball. It was a sure win! That’s not a peace sign being flashed in the back row, Charlie Curtner our class clown is throwing up the bunny ears. My own kids don’t know how funny bunny ears can be. I see the two who are no longer with us. I remember them both and wish I could see them post how much they too love this photo. I distinctly recall being pleased after losing a game of chess with Greg Schreiber, I made it all the way to the end, just a few pieces left before he crushed me. He was the smartest person our age that I knew. I look into this picture and I wonder how Nick Feely’s Mother persuaded him to wear something other than his Motley Crue T-Shirt. I know when I picture him today…He’s wearing it. Kyle and Ryan are on opposite sides of the bleachers that must have been hard on them, no wonder Ryan looks bored, his best friend is in the back row. Rachel is laughing and Mellissa is probably preparing to do a backflip. I think about everything I want to do. I want to beat Chris Auckley in a race, I want to go to art class with Steve Carol and Isaac Hubbard. I want to do tricks on teeter totters and leap from a swing, most of all I want to find out why at west school is it mandatory to learn the xylophone. I mean, what the heck, why all the stress on xylophones? I can’t name everybody here, not without writing a book, what I will say is this… My watch phone just vibrated at me, I have an alert on my twitter feed, ( My how far we’ve come from the 5 and a half inch floppy drive game of Oregon Trail in Mrs. Henshaw’s class room) It says this, “The American Psychiatry Association states that if a person is friends with another person for seven years, then that friendship will last a lifetime.” While none of us today look at this 25 year old photo and see the face of a now bosom buddy, I believe that we all would call each other friends. I was at West school for 7 years and I know that there isn’t a face here, despite past childhood grievances, imagined or otherwise, that met on the street today I would not greet as an old friend.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Destroyer

Coleman the Destroyer is No More

Coleman The Destroy came to beThe year was 1984. The Month, January. The Date 10. In a world where playpens are designed to contain children, in a small town hospital, the un-containable was born. Coleman the Destroyer came to be.

X-Ray Badge of Courage In this world where mortal children walk at the age of one year or later, The Destroyer walked at a mere nine months. His only Kryptonite is perhaps that he never truly mastered walking without falling down. Falling down a lot. Falling farther than any mortal man dare dream fall. In only another month’s time this child of destruction had mastered tipping his playpen fortress of solitude and wreaking havoc in dozens of domestic homes across the Midwest.

Thirty years later, doctors still scratch their heads in amazement. Emergency room physicians all across mid-Missouri lost great financial sums in local betting pools as no one had predicted Cole would survive to his 30th year.

Coffee Table Corner Eye InjuryForces of man and nature attempted to bring about the demise of The Destroyer over the years. A basement coffee table attempted to blind him, missing gouging out his right eye by mere millimeters. A classroom-sized chalkboard dislodged both tooth and bone. A young aspiring angler pulled two more teeth with the aid of a wet bath towel. Yet The Destroyer lived on.

Pre-School GraduationIn the late 80s a towering set of ball park bleachers almost dispatched him at a local softball game, impaling his lip on his own remaining teeth. But The Destroyer survived to tell the tale and graduate from preschool.

A bowl of ‘La Casa’s’ tortilla chips poisoned him a year later. He vomited disease all over the late dinner crowd. Wiping the spittle from his youthful chin; he stared Death in the face and winked.

Even the well-intended vigilance of his very own two Grandmothers were unable to stem his proclivities toward chaos. For, was it not he who dropped his pants to “log a complaint” in the hedgerow at the state capital historical cannon exhibit? Was it not he, whose antics distracted his grandmother, causing her to get lost and purchase cheap souvenirs in the foreign land of Mexico? The Destroyer was especially fond of scorpions preserved in acrylic.

Where grandmothers faltered, there were those who were able to contain The Destroyer; these were mighty individuals indeed, although their successes were fleeting. Nothing daunted him. There was no chasm – neither swimming pool, nor Grand Canyon – into which he would not fling himself – no glass-strewn asphalt upon which we would not slide, for pain was as nothing and the specter of death was always laughing too hard to catch up.

Uncle Bill  Cole at the Grand Canyon

No doubt fearing the implications of his presence in their state, underworld elements sought to immobilize and contain him in the city of Albuquerque by stealing the family car. But, as with the playpens of his youth, he tipped the city over and escaped in the back of a rental car. The Destroyer even managed to hold onto his souvenir scorpions while his jealous older brother stared on in amazement, empty handed.

Even the trusted old driveway basketball goal got in the game. The Destroyer sliced a nostril. The Hise boys lost the pickup game, but Coleman lived on. He lived on, less congested.

In 1999, a mysterious infection brought The Destroyer to his knees. An entire western metropolis medical staff puzzled at the cause. Some say it was a genetically-modified superbug developed by the science department of a rival football team. Some say it was a terrible vengeance wrought by the gods of personal hygiene. In the end, neither the smallest bacteria, nor the largest high school goons could bring down the indestructible Coleman James Hise.



Standing a mere 5’8” tall and weighing 150 pounds when drenched with his own pain-induced sweat, this icon of destruction is surprisingly unimpressive to behold. While most men’s hair simply turns gray, The Destroyer's hair began a mass exodus when he was a mere twenty years of age. We all miss that luxuriously thick Calvin and Hobbes hair-do; yet despite numerous scars and a receding hair line, The Destroyer's mystique remained.

I can honestly say I believed nothing could ever stop The Destroyer. I was wrong.

Coleman the Destroyer finally met his fate a few years ago. Destiny took the form of a petite and pretty gal who opened the world's eyes to The Destroyer's mortality. All that is left of the once-proud warrior is a thirty-year-old father of two. A responsible homemaker, cook, and duck hunter who can’t even bring himself to take more than one bird at a time. Just a husk remains of the manliest being ever created in the Bible-belt. It’s as if the maniacal disaster creator never existed except in the fevered imaginations of now-institutionalized babysitters. The passing of his manhood was marked in a quiet, private ceremony attended by Chuck Norris, the ghost of Wyatt Earp, and John Bolton’s mustache.

These days, whenever I see an over-priced, reinforced, Kevlar-impregnated playpen, I smile and think of the battles I witnessed. I think of Coleman The Destroyer.

The child is gone; only the man remains. Thirty. The world will simultaneously breathe easier and take you more seriously.

Happy Birthday little brother.

Written by the man and the man that made the man for the man’s little brother-man

Friday, June 15, 2012

And now for something different

Once upon a Sunday morning, while I slept in, only slightly snoring,
My dreams of boats with two stroke engines, and Victoria’s secrets galore,
Were rudely interrupted by sounds of crapping, most flatulent crapping,
As of some Beagle quietly mapping, mapping her placement of morning spoor.
My wife will clean it, I hoped, quietly she will sweep and mop up the floor.
I rolled over and continued to snore.

I still had small hopes to spoon, after all it was the middle of June,
This day is Fathers day and for me, poor me, it’s times four.
I listened for mopping, impatiently waiting, hoping for spit swapping,
Yet instead I heard waking, waking toddlers, treading through canine spoor.
“Oh those kids, those loud kids, (thanks to my potency), times four,
Mopping will last forevermore!”

Brilliant light then came streaming, accompanied by toddlers screaming,
Panicked, afraid, I hid myself and prayed, ‘please no more!’
My prayer unheard, I smelled the Beagle turd, as on they came beaming.
“Not today!“ I cried, “Go away!“, I lied, “I’m asleep, close my door!”
The smell increased, they smelled long deceased, these children coated in filthy spoor.
It’s a nightmare, I wept, only that and nothing more.

I’ll escape, I‘ll fish all day, I planned, and up I jumped naked and tanned,
I stiff armed a child, and leapt over something piled, nearly missed avoiding some spoor.
Quickly, I dressed, tired, angry, and sexually repressed,
Yet If I hurried quicker, I might slip slicker out the back door.
“Children move now! Please I am begging you! I implore!”
Still, on they came, covered in spoor.

Failing to sleep in, spoon, or fish, I resigned to question the children four,
“Where is your mother?, HEY DON’T HIT YOUR BROTHER! The store?
“AAARGH!“, cried I, look at this sty, you’re all covered with disgusting spoor,
I sank to my knees, and begged them please, tell me I’m dreaming.
Then I heard a rumbling, as if something rolling and tumbling,
And I knew, it was the garage door.

Scared more than ever, I thought only of heather, or escape to a distant shore.
I knew my only chance would be to dash when SHE stepped in through the door.
While it may be a day for Dad’s, she wouldn't tolerate my letting these tads,
Crash and boom, causing destruction and doom through piles of Beagle spoor.
I braced myself for what was to come, I just stood there quiet, deaf and dumb,
I stared afraid at the garage door.

The door opened and there my wife stood, her features were fierce, not good,
I could see she was accosted by the smells that wafted anywhere wafting could,
So in an effort to avoid the incredible yelling and additional smelling in store,
I dashed forward half naked, kissed her cheek and then stated
Honey, my dear, I love you, I’m off to go fishing, I’ll be thinking of you.
By the way, for my Fathers day, could you clean up this spoor.
As I began to drive away, there came a cry of a feminine sway, “NEVERMORE!
I smiled and laughed, my eyes dancing, soon I would be casting these cares away.
When came a new rumbling, louder this time, causing my good mood crumbling,
I turned back, giving up fishing with pain, I could plainly see, it was going to rain.
“Honey I am back, to help you wash the spoor.” (forevermore)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Kids aren't Bats, They are Dogs

Dear Dad,

               I would like to call your attention to a recent scientific study in Switzerland that deduced human children must actually be a species of bat. A bat that inevitably matures and evolves into a more primate like being. Swiss science has shown that while underdeveloped and unable to fly, most children still believe they can fly and will attempt doing so, often with disastrous ends. Numerous tests also confirmed that children must be blind as they constantly bump into objects, typically breaking them. The subjects studied emitted high pitched squeals that seemed to be an attempt to locate food sources. Subjects were often found sleeping with their heads hanging upside down over the edge of their beds. In a country wide test four out of every five Swiss children were observed eating bugs and it is speculated the remainder ingested their insects more secretively. Subjects were often awake in the middle of the night when humans are supposed to be asleep. The study is quite convincing.

               The only problem that I have with this study though is that bats have exceptional hearing! I think I can prove that human children do not actually hear. I believe that children have a mechanism in their brain that interprets sound waves based on decibel levels and then auto-react based on those interpretations. Actual hearing noise and understanding it doesn't happen until late adolescence. I have a story that I believe backs this up and thus disproves Swiss theory.

              As a parent I have noticed that my children do stupid things when I yell. They immediately react to my yells in a manner that has nothing to do with the words I am yelling. For example if you yell at a child to ‘COME HERE’ the child will run away. If you yell ‘CLEAN YOUR ROOM’ the child will sit down in the middle of said ‘dirty’ room and wail that they are thirsty. When I yell ‘CLEAN YOUR ROOM’ my four year old son gets thirsty and my five year old daughter immediately has to go to the bathroom. When I yelled ‘GIVE ME THE WRENCH’ to my son (ten at the time) he looked up at the ceiling and spun around in a circle. I can’t believe that all four of my children are mentally inferior, and since they are decidedly not bats, (no pun intended) I believe they must be reacting to sound levels interpreted by their small underdeveloped brains. They do not actually hear words.

            This is how I got a fish hook in my face! Let me explain.

            I took my eleven year old son fishing. To be a ‘cool’ dad, I let him steer the boat under the power of an electric trolling motor. Since it only propels the boat at 2 mph top speed, I figured what the heck.

           I spent the majority of the fishing trip yelling through clenched teeth over clenched butt cheeks.





            You get the Idea. Naturally Cameron’s wee sized neural center associated my decibel level with a need to counter steer the boat. Later that afternoon my fishing line became snagged on a lily pad. I observed that the boat was headed strait for the snag. Good I thought, no problem here. As I leaned over the bow of the boat with my arm under water and my face close to the lake surface, I yelled over the wind at my son quite clearly, “CAMERON YOU ARE DOING GREAT, JUST KEEP GOING STRAIGHT!

             Cameron’s brain was very quick to deduce the boat needed to be turned sharply to the left. The fishing line tightened, the root of the lily pad gave way. My head snapped back from the force of the lily pad striking me, and dangling from my cheek was some new jewelry with the shape and texture of a rubber minnow.

             Cameron hasn’t been fishing with me for a few weeks now. His brain deduced from my decibel level that he should take up video games for a month or two before renewing his fishing experiences.

             Long story short the Swiss are incorrect. Children are not ‘bats.’ Children are also not deaf. They just don’t hear the way we do. It is obviously far more likely that children are dogs. My dog also only reacts to the tone of my voice, unless I say ‘Hot Dog.’ She seems to understand that. All four of my kids seem to get that one too.


          Your loud and newly pierced son.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Specifics Bob

Dear Dad,
                As my small town was surrounded and being attacked by spring rain storms, I spent this past weekend indoors. On Sunday morning to make myself feel gloomier, I decided to watch the weekly bass fishing highlights on ESPN. During what seemed a very long hour of watching men enjoy themselves out on the water, being paid to fish, it occurred to me that my life sucks.

               Watching what I like to call ‘Standard’ sports on television never gets me down. I know I could never have been a professional Football, Basketball or Baseball player. I am an average to smaller than average sized dude who can’t dunk, pitch or trade hits with three hundred pound men.

               I can Bass fish my butt off though. I’m actually quite good at it. I catch ‘trophy’ size fish pretty regularly everywhere I try. So I watched this ‘Bass Master Elite’ program on ESPN and began to get angry. Not jealous, just angry!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

HO HO HO Now I have a machine gun!

Dear Dad,

               For Christmas this year I would like to give you the gift of the ultimate Christmas movie. You may be thinking to yourself that you have already watched it. Possibly you have witnessed Peter Bailey’s realization that all is well. You think you know that a BB gun is all little Ralphie needed to be happy. You cheered when Clark Griswald added twenty percent to his holiday bonus. Maybe you enjoyed Tim the Tool Man Taylor getting fat and growing a beard. Yet after all your holiday movie viewing you have yet to watch the one true Christmas movie. I am of course referring to the 1988 classic brought to us by ‘John McTiernan‘ starring ‘Bruce Willis‘ and ‘Alan Rickman.’ The one and only ‘Die Hard!’

               Bruce Willis not only provided us with an everyman type of hero, he also gave us a holiday movie with a real message. Let’s look at it shall we. The movie starts out with Christmas music and a giant teddy bear. The movie ends with Christmas music, a dead terrorist and a giant teddy bear. Our hero John McLane finds himself in the worst possible situation. His holiday hopes of wooing his wife back into his bed have come crashing down around his head. Visions of sugarplums are replaced by German terrorists with English accents and automatic weapons. Terrorists that turn out to be just burglars. Burglaring John’s holiday lay.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Missouri Hise and the Temple of D.M.V.

Dear Dad,

               It has been a life long dream of mine to own the cheapest versions of all the cool things rich people have. Over the years I have accumulated many ‘cool’ pieces of crap. Homeless people have long been envious of me. It’s to be expected, everyone loves a treasure hunter. I thoroughly enjoy my life as king of the lower middle class.

               I bought a boat this week. It is called a ‘Bass Raider 8.’ Not because it is the eighth model of a bad-ass bass boat, but because it is eight feet long. Essentially it is a rectangular canoe. It has two highly placed swivel seats and an electric trolling motor. While I don’t dock it at the local marina, I truly couldn’t be happier with myself. I can’t wait to do some raiding!