I could tell you stories about him—or any of my family members, to be honest—for hours on end, but instead I’ve decided to keep this post short.

All you need to know is this: Hi-Guy was a funny man. A constant jokester, prankster, and false grabber of crotches. Yes, you read that correctly.

Hi-Guy passed away in 2008 at the age of 78. I was 31. In all those years, he sent me two pieces of mail (at least that I can remember), which was ironic because Hi-Guy worked for the post office.

I received the first of these letters was when I was very young. It was a letter from “Mickey Mouse” sent from Disney World. I was ecstatic that such an enormously popular cartoon character would take time out of his animated life to write me. Years would pass before I would put two and two together and realize that it was actually Hi-Guy who had written me under a rodent-based pseudonym.

The only other piece of mail I ever got from Hi-Guy was this letter:

The front of one of Hi-Guy's two letters to me.

The back of one of Hi-Guy's two letters to me.

He wrote that letter (apparently) on May 21st of some year (he only marked the year “Zulu,” and I have no idea what that even means). He sent me that letter in a box when I was in college (so somewhere between 1994 and 1998). Also in that box was a “cheesehead” hat (quite literally, a styrofoam slice of “cheese”) that he had dug out of a dumpster.

NOTE: Hi-Guy was a proud dumpster diver of junk. Or “treasures,” as he so often called them.

The hat had a bite missing out of one of its corners. I always liked to think that a drunken college kid had taken bite out of it one night before tossing it into the dumpster. In reality, a rat had probably gnawed away at it before Hi-Guy picked it out of the trash.

Before he sent it to me, Hi-Guy wrote “HUNGRY” next to an arrow that was pointing to the bite mark. It was pure Hi-Guy. You’ll notice the mention of “HUNGRY” in that letter.

You’ll also probably notice that Hi-Guy had a habit of making up his own spellings of words. Over time, I’ve adopted this practice with words like “tanks” (for “thanks”) and “aite” (for “all right”) and “birfday” (for “birthday”). I take no credit for such goofiness. That was all Hi-Guy.

Hi-Guy most certainly lives on in me. In my sense of humor. In my vocabulary and spellings. And in my memory.

And I feel fortunate that I’ve managed to save one of the two letters he sent me. Also, I don’t think it’s any coincidence that he “signed” the above letter with a Mickey Mouse sticker.

Hi-Guy was Mickey,

-Shady

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