Some men are born to be great. Others aren't.
In January of 1979, Peter W. Heck was born to Bill and Lisa Heck in Enid, Oklahoma. At least that's the official story. Lisa became ill after giving birth and therefore had no interaction with her child for nearly a week. Thus, there has always been speculation among the Hecks that, well…this child might not really be their fault.
But regardless of any mix-up at the hospital that may or may not have taken place, Peter was raised by Bill and Lisa…in a manner of speaking. There can be no mistaking the fact that Peter was an annoying and homely child.
Bill, a man with little patience, used his occupation as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force as an excuse to take long trips away from Peter. He went so far as to concoct a phony war just to justify his prolonged absence. As a side note, Lisa (apparently still under the delusion that there was, in fact, the Great Canadian Invasion of 1984) has kept all of Bill’s letters from the front lines stored away in her lock box. And though Bill did return once he thought Peter might have matured, the damage had been done: Lisa had reached the emotional breaking point, and without a father figure, Peter’s childhood toys (Ken and Barbie...need we say more) bore an ominous sign for the future.
Luckily, Bill and Lisa had reproduced once before, and their first offspring…a strapping young man named Andrew took Peter under his wing. The Barbies were put aside (except for a few brief moments of weakness), and Andrew taught Peter the ways of a man: grunting, belching, a rugged fashion sense, and finding the most difficult ways to accomplish the most mundane tasks.
With Bill off at “war,” and Lisa left emotionally disabled after having to deal with Peter on a daily basis, Andrew’s role was invaluable. Yes, had it not been for Andrew’s guidance, it’s tough to know where Peter might have ended up. Andrew had built Peter into being a man…a manly man with calloused hands and a rough exterior. But in order to reach his potential, Bill and Lisa knew he needed a lesson in sensitivity. And for that reason, and that reason alone, they bore another child…a young girl who would bring this brutish lion named Peter into an emotional equilibrium. Her name...Katherine.
The lessons she would teach would not be easy ones. She taught him compassion with her tears. She taught him politeness with her manners. She taught him humility by getting all the attention and relegating him to a mere after-thought in the minds of his family (immediate and extended). In fact, Katy was lavished with such praise and notice that when Peter ran away to Hollywood for nearly 13 months, no one noticed. “I thought he had just gone to the bathroom,” Bill was quoted as saying when questioned by the authorities.
Unsure of what path his life was taking, Peter attempted to catch a break in Tinsel Town. He wrote, directed, and starred in four screen plays (Indiana Peter, BraveHeck, Peter Powers, and Peter of the Caribbean), none of which were ever picked up. Though Peter still alleges that later movies were rip-offs of his original drafts, no one believes him…there is simply no evidence. His failure to make it big left him penniless and hopeless. So he went to college. It was in those years that Peter found his calling. With the help of his college roommate (an odd little man in his own right), Peter set out on a path to become a high school teacher. And in what amounts to a startlingly sad commentary on the state of affairs in American public education, Peter got a job.
As fulfilling a story as this may seem…a story of one lost freak finding his way…it is not yet complete. For God saw that it was not good for this man to be alone, and so He created a partner for him…and quite a partner indeed. Jenny and Peter met, and after much coaxing, convincing, and heavy medication, she agreed to become his wife on September 30, 2006. Partners for life, it is tough to imagine what the future holds for them. Greatnesss? Doubtful. But whatever it may be, it is impossible to say it won’t be an interesting ride.
Independent verification of certain parts of this account and its accuracy is still pending.
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