Phillip S. Henne, my beloved father, turned 72 this past Sunday.
Dad’s a big fan of the site. Just two days ago he said to me, “David I don’t understand these articles you put up.”
I love my father. We share a bond that transcends language. When dad says he’s confused about content posted on this blog, what he really means is “Why haven’t you put anything about me up on your site?”
It’s because no one would believe the Phil Henne chronicles. They’d argue that any supposed 100% true account of Phil Henne was too fantastic, too naked to believe. Yes, Bob Costas was seduced into eternal life by a deceitful wood nymph who now steals the Costas children’s consonants. I can sell that. People will buy that. But no one would believe half the shit Phil Henne’s been through.
Since it’s his birthday week, we’ll give it a shot anyway. Happy belated birthday, poppa.
5. Phil Henne Tells Guests At My Wedding That ‘The Rhythm Method Is A Myth’
There’s a specific type of human behavior that I cherish above all else. It’s got a proper title, but it’s best embodied by Disney’s Goofy as he skis down a mountain eating a very large sandwich.
Ski Goofy is too preoccupied with his massive five-foot sub to care about the mechanics of skiing. He’s also clueless to the fact that he’s skied right through the orange boundary tape separating the bunny slopes from the double black diamond.
What’s that? Goofy’s careened off a cliff and is plunging to his death? Not a problem. Because Goofy’s too busy eating his delicious sandwich to care.
What happens next? Does Goofy hit the ground at a fatal velocity, exploding upon impact? Nope. Some passing geese notice Goofy tumbling through the air and reroute him to the foot of the mountain. Goofy finishes his sandwich, looks up, not realizing he was nearly killed, and he’s also won a gold medal for ski jumping.
Goofy’s oblivious — blissfully unaware — whatever you want to call it, in this scenario. But ultimately, Goofy’s just channeling Phil Henne.
Phil Henne puts ski sandwich Goofy to shame.
When Phil Henne tells friends, work colleagues and well wishers at my wedding reception that “David was an accident” before warning against the lures of the Rhythm Method*, a form of contraception that no one has used in half a century, you don’t get upset. You let Phil Henne riff.
It’s like jazz, listening to Phil Henne wax poetic about the female reproductive system. The “Trap Doors” and “Shoots and Ladders” all women have nestled deep inside them.
You don’t shout “Look up from that giant sandwich! You’re going to kill yourself!” to Goofy. And you don’t stop Phil Henne when he’s carefully describing the vaginal walls to my elderly Jewish in-laws.
(*I fully intend to deliver this exact contraceptive speech to guests at my own unplanned child’s wedding.)
4. Phil Henne Rides His Bike To Where He Believes I Work, Only It’s Not Where I Work, And Asks Everyone ‘Where’s David?’
Like me, Phil Henne loves grand gestures. Large-scale surprises. He once bought a life-size Santa doll from Costco so he could prop it up in his passenger seat and thrill children at stop lights. Because my father is a goddamned showman.
Last fall, I received a phone call from Phil Henne. It was difficult to hear him, but three things were clear: 1. He’d ridden his bicycle 20 miles from Deer Park to Patchogue to surprise me at work; 2. He was asking random folks which office was mine; and 3. He was not at my office.
I work at St. Joseph’s College, but I’m not physically located on the campus. I’m set up in an off-site building two miles off campus in Downtown Patchogue.
My dad didn’t know this. He’d ridden his bicycle onto the quaint little SJC quad, and was asking every 19-year-old student, Sister of St. Joseph and security guard where David Henne was at.
“Where’s Dave Henne?” Dad asked while shaking the frail shoulders of S. Immaculate Schwartz and President S. Elizabeth A. Hill, C.S.J., J.D.
Oh and my dad dresses like this when he rides his bike, BTW.
Thankfully a terrified faculty member was able to guide my dad to my actual office, where he arrived with plenty of time to tell my immediate supervisors his favorite anecdote …
3. Phil Henne Is Wrongfully Arrested For Indecent Exposure At Robert Moses State Park
This is a difficult Phil Henne story to tell properly, because it has constantly been revised by Phil Henne himself. But here goes.
It’s summer 2003, my dad’s a recent divorcee, and he’s found solace on the nude beaches of Long Island. On this day he’s at Field 5 of Robert Moses, which is where all the nude sunbathers go to congregate/collectively bury their privates into the sand.
The afternoon is winding down. Dad’s gathering his nude-beach supplies before heading home. He puts on his Speedo before he’s anywhere near the public parking lot. Before. He sets foot on the pavement, walks to his car, and is promptly thrown against his 2002 Ford Mustang by police.
As his face is being pressed onto the hood of his convertible, Phil Henne hears a distant cry: A beachgoing mom is inconsolable, claiming her little daughter “saw it out.” More patrons have gathered to boo and hiss at my father. Flashes of several cameras blind dad’s vision.
My dad tries to explain the situation while being read his rights. The cops say Phil Henne is being aggressive — gesturing to dad’s expansive Speedo — but he’s not, dad’s bulge always looks that way.
Phil Henne is tazed and thrown into a squad car, where he is processed at the nearby precinct.
Legal matters proceed in a Law and Order fashion over the next several weeks: lawsuits, bribes, the penis gets its own lawyer and countersues my dad, etc.
Years have passed. The sand has settled, but Phil Henne is not permitted within 100 yards of Robert Moses Beach. Justice has not been served.
2. Phil Henne Invites an Active Serial Killer Over The House
At No. 2 in our Top 5 Phil Henne countdown is the time Phil Henne forced me to shake the hand of a serial killer he’d invited over for supper.
Let me set the scene. It’s 1992. A young MC Hammer asks us to touch it, then rebukes us and says No We Cannot Touch It. And a troubled postal worker named Robert Shulman is rising through the ranks of the Hicksville Processing Center.
Shulman’s on-the-job mentor? A career mail handler with more than three decades of experience under his hernia belt. A spritely 50-year-old with a fully realized goatee. None other than Phil Henne.
After working alongside each other for several months, Phil Henne and Mr. Shulman have grown close. One fateful day, dad invites Mr. Shulman over for dinner. Apparently my dad has been helping the consistently stressed Shulman cope with a recent breakup, and thinks having him over house will ease the pain.
Mr. Shulman and dad drive over after work. Dad shows his guest around the house and introduces my mother, my two brothers and me. Engrossed in Golden Axe II, I don’t recall actually meeting the man. But I do remember him sitting down and grabbing the Player 2 controller without prompting.
Whatever, I think. It’s dad’s sweaty pale friend who’s into Sega. Fine with me.
We get to the player select screen and I choose the barbarian. I wait for Mr. Shulman to choose the dwarf, because the dwarf is the only other boy character in the game.
Only Mr. Shulman doesn’t choose the dwarf. Mr. Shulman picks the amazon.
Now I’d been playing Golden Axe II for a couple months. And I’d never seen anyone pick the amazon. Growing up in a house with two older brothers, no one had prepared me for how to react when a grown man selects the amazon instead of the available dwarf.
I pretend not to care, though I am deeply disturbed.
We play for a solid session. Shulman has a lot of fun, is in stitches, actually, swinging his amazon’s double-handed sword.
I don’t remember how long we played for, or what we ate for dinner after my mom told me to turn off the game. I only remember that this 40-something guy chose an amazon instead of the dwarf, laughed for a while hacking through lizardmen hordes, and looked batshit crazy.
Sure enough, a short while after his dinner date with our family, Robert Shulman was arrested for murdering five women.
Sentenced to life in prison in 1999, Shulman wrote my dad letters from his cell pretty regularly.
Mr. Shulman’s last letter came shortly before his death in 2006. I remember my dad sitting at the dining room table reading it. Dad said Shulman sounded extremely paranoid and frantic. I think Shulman wrote that he was afraid for his life. His fellow inmates weren’t too pleased with a guy who’d murdered and dismembered five women.
A few weeks later Shulman was dead. From “undisclosed causes.”
I still wonder what life would’ve been like if he just picked the damn dwarf like he was supposed to.
1. Phil Henne Writes a Scathing Response About His Misrepresentation on Davidhenne.com
My all-time No. 1 favorite Phil Henne moment hasn’t happened yet. When my dad sees this article on his iPad tonight, he will call me. He will say these stories are ridiculous misrepresentations of what actually transpired in the four preceding examples. And he’ll offer to “set the story straight.”
He’ll most likely compose a handwritten response on stationary in beautiful calligraphy script because he does amazing calligraphy work. And when he’s finished, I will publish Phil Henne’s version of these stories here. (Placeholder url for Phil Henne’s soon-to-be-released tell-all, “If I Did It”.)
I’ll be sure to update everyone once a proper rebuttal has been written. Until then, keep checking davidhenne.com for all your Phil Henne slander that is actually completely accurate even though Phil Henne will refute every word.
I love you, dad!