The 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.
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.
Forces 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.
In 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.
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