Posted on

Practical Jokes

I come from a family of practical jokers. Each of us enjoyed a good laugh and playing occasional tricks on each other and innocent victims who came over to visit from time to time. When I was a young girl, we kept a can marked “peanuts” in the kitchen cabinet for guests. The can didn’t have nuts in it though — it had a cloth-covered spring that popped out rather violently when the lid was removed. We also owned a fake ice cube that we occasionally dropped in our guests’ glasses of tea or water. The cube looked exactly like a chunk of ice formed by one of those antique metal ice trays, but there was one difference — a big black fly was embedded in the plastic cube. Folks freaked out when they noticed it in their drink. We got a lot of laughs from the snake-in-the-can and fly-in-the-icecube tricks.

One year, my sister, Audrey, decided to cut her long hair and wear a Dorothy Hamill bob cut for a while. The stylist gathered up her long brunette hair, wrapped it tightly in a rubber band, and cut it off with the scissors. For some reason, the stylist handed the bundled hair to me.

Audrey and I shared a bedroom. Just before bed time that night, I secretly folded the wad of brown hair into her sheets, then jumped into my bed and pretended to sleep. I waited and waited, all the while wondering what would happen when my sister stuck her legs under the covers and felt something hairy down there. Finally, she entered the room and turned off the overhead light. I heard the bed springs squeak a little as she shimmied her way into a comfortable position. And then, I heard the scream of screams — as if she was being murdered.

Seconds later, Mom flipped on the light to find Audrey standing in the middle of the bedroom yelling, “Something’s in my bed! Something’s in my bed!”

But then my mother looked over at me, snuggled in my bed laughing. Mom turned down Audrey’s bedspread and sheets and discovered the bunch of my sister’s own brown hair. Suddenly, my sister’s face turned beet red as her fright turned to anger.

She eventually got over it, or I think she did. Decades later, she still talks to me, so I’m assuming she forgave me for that gag and all the others.

The practical jokes continued after I left home. At college, my friends and I often played tricks on one another followed by the word, “Gotcha,” which we used as kind of a rebel yell battle cry. More recently, I’ve played jokes on my husband and my coworkers, and just for the record, they’ve reciprocated. Last week, I took the head off of my husband’s razor, flipped it around so that the blades weren’t in the correct shaving orientation, and placed it back on the ledge in the shower. Later that day when he emerged from the bathroom, he rubbed his face with his hand and said, “That razor doesn’t work at all.” I fessed up. He took it well. I’m not sure why I did it. I guess I was just trying to keep things interesting around here. A few years ago, I pranked a coworker who was writing the operating instructions for a piece of equipment. I changed the entry in his Microsoft Word AutoCorrect so that every time he typed in the words, “hydraulic press,” the program would automatically change it to, “big, heavy, hot, dangerous thingy.” Tim returned from lunch that day and resumed working on his document. After about five minutes, I heard him gasp under his breath. “Hey, come check this out,” he finally said to me. continued from page

And I busted out laughing, and that’s when he knew he’d been had.

I saw someone interview George Clooney on television a few years back, and the interviewer asked him about a specific practical joke he had played on a friend. For a short time, Clooney had lived with his friend, Richard, who had an itty bitty kitten. The litter box was in the bathroom next to the toilet. While Richard was at work, Clooney cleaned up a little, including cleaning out the litter box. “I’m a little worried about my little cat,” his friend said a few days later. “He hasn’t pooped in several days. I’ve been checking the litter box, and there’s nothing in there.”

Clooney didn’t say a word. The following day, Clooney got a kind-ofmean, kind-of-disgusting idea. “I’m in there about to scoop up the next round, and then the light just finally dawns on me,” Clooney said. “And I [pooped] in the cat box. And I wait for Richard to come home. And I’m sitting there watching Jeopardy, I don’t say a word, and Richard goes into the bathroom and he’s in there for a second,” Clooney recalled in the interview. “And I hear, ‘Oh my God! Oh my God! You are not going to believe this!’” I could never have done what George Clooney did, but I admit that I find it sickening and funny at the same time. Well, they say that laughter is the best medicine, and I’ve laughed a lot in my lifetime. I may just live forever. Through practical jokes, I’ve selfmedicated myself at the expense of others, but again, I’ve meant no harm by my actions. I’m just trying to keep things interesting.

Recent Death Notices