Our young friend, Nurse Rachel, was over the other day, and for some reason, we started talking about practical jokes. You know how old people are, we get on these random history lessons for no apparent reason. Rachel was a good sport and listened up.
I don’t know why they’re called “practical jokes.” I think “practically jokes” would be more appropriate. In some cases “impractical jokes” will do it. Whichever you call them, they vary from the dull to the incredible. Some are so good they deserve some sort of trophy or medal. Forget the Nobel Peace Prize; a joke prize would be much more entertaining. Maybe call it “The Pullet Surprise”. Get it, like the Pulitzer? I kill me.
The best practical joke ever was perpetrated by a talk show host I personally can’t stand. This tall red headed Irish guy, while in college, set up a fake road construction crew complete with jackhammers and hard hats. He called the local police and told them college students were pretending to be road workers and causing a problem. He also called the State police and reported that he ran a construction crew and college students dressed as police were holding up work and harassing them. The State police rousted the real local police, and hijinks ensued.
That was pure genius, but like they say, don’t try that or anything else at home. Your results will vary.
When my teenaged kids were still talking to me, we got on the practical joke kick. We had a lot of fun, and the police never got involved. Things escalated quickly. It began with “cigarette loads.” These things look like a piece of a toothpick, but explode when exposed to fire. The perpetrator would remove a cigarette from an open pack, gingerly slide a load into the smoke, and replace it in the open pack. After a couple of satisfying drags, the cigarette would explode. It was very scary and it could’ve put an eye out. People got carried away and put more than one load in a smoke, and the boom was too big and painful to be funny. That was the birth of the “impractical” joke.
My best joke was targeted for a particular family member. She drank lots of coffee and always filled the coffee mug halfway up with creamer powder before topping it off with coffee. I bought several packs of Alka-Seltzer and ground it into powder in a coffee grinder. I dumped out the creamer jar and filled it with Alka-Seltzer powder. When the mark mixed the coffee, it looked like a volcano. The eruption lasted a long time and it covered acres of counter in mochacolored foam. It was worthy of a prize.
After that it was on like Donkey-Kong. Someone filled the handheld shower hose with red food coloring and the next shower looked like the “Psycho” blood bath. A rubber band on the kitchen sprayer valve soaked several people, and prevented teens from ever doing dishes again. Moving the toilet fill hose from the tank caused severe flooding with the first flush because it’s difficult to shut the water off if you’re not too bright.
In the midst of this Tomfoolery an enterprising anonymous genius engineered a bowl that sat on the top of a door in such a manner that when the door was opened it would do a double flip and spread flour, or paint, or whatever all over the person that opened the door. It’ll even work on a 17 year old girl wearing makeup and a new outfit while heading out for a date. Before you ask, my daughter hasn’t forgiven me, I mean the prankster. It was a jokewin.
Like I said earlier, things escalated. A teenage boy hid on the roof with a water hose and sprayed everyone that came in range, including a meter reader and a Jehovah’s Witness. A potato in an exhaust pipe caused vehicle problems. We learned to never throw a lit pack of firecrackers at a person in who’s already on heart meds.
The jokes ended with me leaving late for work. I ran out to my truck and it looked odd. At first I thought it was iced over, but I was wrong. It was wrapped in glossy shrink wrap. The jokesters must have spent a fortune because the wrapping was very thick and everywhere. I’d guess they used about 18,000 miles of plastic. I tried to unwrap it, but I had to be at work this century. I ended up cutting it off, which still took a lot of time. I was late for work and got a written warning. Well played, criminals. Well played.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s what’s missing in our world. We’re way to serious and not laughing much. Maybe we need more impractical prize-worthy jokes. Just be aware some people don’t appreciate jokes, and that may include police. Don’t mess with a guy’s truck, or his toilet. You could lose an eye.