Thursday, January 12, 2006


Wanna buy a duck?

What does that sentence mean? Apparently it's a drinking game. I think it also is some sort of old vaudevillian joke. The sentence was used on an old Leave It To Beaver episode where June was talking about an ugly shirt she once had, which had several stupid sayings on it.

So what does this have to do with Rob Sisel? Read on.

I first met Rob at L.B. Clarke Middle School. I have one memory of him there. He had an overdue library book. It was called "The Cave Of Time." It was one of those Which-Way books, in which you can choose your own adventure. I remember this because I know why it was overdue. I had stolen it. In fact, I stole nearly every Which-Way and Choose Your Own Adventure book from the library.

Rob was a very, very nice guy. But I'm not sure he was the smartest of individuals. Then again, I base that solely on the fact that I thought he was gullible - which really isn't a good gauge on one's intelligence. He tended to hang around with the nerdy crowd. Although he didn't seem to quite fit in with them. Rob had a little bit of a backbone, and would at least stand up for himself.

In our sophomore year, I had Rob in Mr. Scriver's history class. For a time, he sat right behind me. One day, for whatever reason, I hit him in the hand with my pencil. That sounds terrible, I know. But it's not as bad as it sounds. There was no malice involved. There was no intent for injury. Rob and I were involved in some sort of disagreement. I don't recall the details. But I think he'd grabbed my book or something, and was being an ass by not returning it. So I kind of swung at him.

A few days later, Rob was looking over some sort of document. I asked him what it was. He said "insurance." I asked him what it was for. He said, "You know."

I didn't know. I had no clue what he was talking about. And I really had to pry it out of him. Apparently when I hit him with my pencil, the lead broke off and stuck in his hand. It was a fluke thing - a freak accident. Rob had never said anything about it. Nor did he show any signs of pain or discomfort. But he had to go to the hospital. And since his parents had paid for that bogus insurance that the school offers at the beginning of the year, the school had paid for it.

Obviously I was floored. I apologized over and over. I felt like shit about it. But he didn't seem to care. It didn't phase him at all. Of course I was then worried that Mr. Wood (the asshole vice principal) would find out about the incident. But Rob assured me that he hadn't told on me. Good man Rob.

Back to the duck. In that same history class, for whatever reason, at some point one day, I turned around to him and asked, "Wanna buy a duck?"

Rob laughed, and then responded, "You have a duck?"

I was stunned. Today I'm reminded of that scene in Christmas Vacation, when Chevy Chase tells all the kids that Santa's sleigh was just spotted in the area. And ignorant cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) says, "You serious Clark?"

I didn't know what to say. Did Rob actually believe that I had a duck? But I thought fast.

"Yeah... I have a duck... Do you wanna buy it?"

Rob said he'd have to ask his parents, and would tell me the following day. It's all I could do to keep myself from bursting out in hysterics. I then made up a story of how I went to the garage that morning and found a duck. I told him I wanted $25.00 for it. He eventually bargained me down to maybe $2.00. I think Rob lived on a farm. And they had some ducks.

The next day Rob told me that his parents didn't want it. Ah, well. So ends the duck story. Or does it?

Two years later, as seniors, Rob and I found ourselves in the guidance office at the same time. As we were sitting at the table, I leaned over and asked again, "Wanna buy a duck?"

Rob laughed in disbelief, "You still got that duck?"

Yeah Rob, I still got that duck. I still have it today. Who would think that a duck would live this long? This duck will live forever. Wanna buy it?

I ran into Rob several times at the video store. He remained a nice guy. Last I'd heard, he was working in a factory in Manitowoc as a machinist or something. I don't think he was married. I believe he was heavily involved with his church as well.

UPDATE - 6/12/07 - Thanks to Carrie Franz for this little update on Rob. Apparently Rob works for Jagemann Plating, In Manitowoc. He also works a couple of nights per week at Kurtz's in Two Rivers. Lastly, he is a bartender in Two Creeks - either at Fat Boyz or Crazy 8's.


At Fri Jan 13, 12:30:00 PM PST, Blogger the_meff said...

What can I say about Rob?

Not much.

We got along. I believe he bunked nearby on the 6th grade campout. If I remember correctly, he hung around with Travis somethingerother in 6th grade, when they mashed all the elementary schools together into the middle school for grade 6.

I remember Rob and Travis seemed really tall and just overall "older." Which led me to the fearful conclusion that "these kids from Case and Koenig SEEM older than us Magee-ers."

And in a sense, they were. They all seemed rougher around the edges and somewhat more intense than we were.

6th grade was a strange time.

At Fri Jan 13, 01:14:00 PM PST, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

I can think of two Travis'. One was Travis Wilson. The other was Travis Riesterer. Travis Riesterer was somewhat small in height. So I'm guessing you're referring to Travis Wilson.

At Sat Jan 28, 10:07:00 AM PST, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

speaking of "older looking", remember Jamie Tadych...I think he had to shave twice a day in sixth grade...I'm not sure if he graduated with us, or even graduated at all for that matter...what could the Walrus come up with for him ????

At Sat Jan 28, 03:41:00 PM PST, Blogger TWORIVERSWALRUS said...

Jamie Tadych is on the list. I have a few things to say about him.

At Tue Jan 31, 07:29:00 AM PST, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

...Somehow I knew you would.

At Sat Feb 04, 05:18:00 AM PST, Blogger moptopjen said...

Rob! Man we rode the us 2gether since i was like 2 yrs old i think.
he worked at kurtz's 4ever i think. my rents hang there. truth? a few times i saw him i wondered if he was single!!
the epitome of a nice guy. seriously - i can remember him being the nicest guy b4 i was even old enuf to judge someone's character. i wish him the best.

At Tue Feb 14, 03:16:00 PM PST, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

Oh yeah, Kurtz's...wow that place was the best. The food was great and the drinks were even better. That was probably the hippest, coolest place in Two Rivers...wow, now I'm hungry for a reuben.

At Mon Feb 20, 12:41:00 AM PST, Blogger moptopjen said...

A reuben; too funny.

At Thu Feb 23, 08:58:00 PM PST, Blogger Tammy said...

I remember Rob as mostly shy and yes very tall. We never really talked alot, only small talk, but I was best friends with the girl that had the biggest crush on him. Deb LuMaye had the hots for Rob starting way back in L.B. Clarke. If there was one guy she was going to marry it was him. I don't know if she ever tried to approach him but she sure admired him from affar. I know she is married now with children I believe. I wonder if she ever thinks back to her long crush on Rob. I know I wonder what my old crush Travis Riesterer is up too once in a while. You know just how his life panned out. I am very happy right where I am.

At Mon Feb 27, 06:35:00 PM PST, Blogger cawelnicke said...

Rob, I know you're going to kill me for this but it's the BEST Rob story - - after all these years it still makes me laugh!

I've known Rob since 3rd grade. Not only did we have school together, we had Religon classes together at Sacred Heart. Anyways, Senior year of high school, Kelli Kupsch and I were driving around and decided to stop at Rob's house. We walked up to the door and rang the door bell. Rob's mother answered the door. Kelli and I asked "Can Robbie come out to play?" His mom started laughing and said "Robbie can't play with girls!" She didn't really think about what she had said until she said it. Kelli and I couldn't help but start laughing.

At Tue Jun 13, 07:46:00 PM PDT, Blogger Kelli said...

I remember that story. It still makes me laugh too. And all the nights a Kurtz's, Good Times. But, seriously Rob is a great guy. I hope all is going well for him.


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