Tuesday, January 13, 2004


I loved the news item reported by Rappy yesterday about pranksters hacking their way into the radio frequency of a Burger King drive through and telling customers "we don't have any of that.  Pull ahead."  What a classic!  Besides, I really can't blame them. Drive through windows are annoying, especially those that blast the gory details of a Southwest Bar-B-Q Burger Bonanza! at 7 am, when they don't even make them until 11 am. Not that I would ever buy one anyway. Gross.

I appreciate a good practical joke.  Little BrotherTuna and I have been known to inflict a few on each other over the years.  The latest was the war of the green Hostess Snowballs -- Those scrumptious dessert treats consisting of rounded mounds of chocolate cake, covered with a layer of marshmallow fluff and then crowned with a colorful congealed coconut topping.  They used to come only in white (hence the Snowball name), but in recent years I've seen them in orange (Halloween Snowball!) and Green (St. Patrick's Day Snowball!).  I believe the Snowball has gone the way of the Peep -- there is one for every occasion.

I sent Little BrotherTuna a package of Green Snowballs along with some sort of snarky remark.  He mailed them back smoooshed flat as a pancake with one miniscule bite removed saying that he couldn't deprive me of their snowbally goodness.  I brought them with me last summer on vacation, and slipped the package under his pillow before I left.  He wasn't too thrilled, but the dog was sure happy.

As I think of it, lots of my practical jokes have to do with my Little BrotherTuna.  The reason is obvious:  he was the Little Brother, therefore I could.  When we were youngsters, I picked up the phone and called the cereal police and told them to come and take him to jail -- twice! -- when he wouldn't eat his breakfast.  I once told him they made my retainer by carving out the roof of my mouth.  And then there is always the classic "Smell this vanilla flavoring.  Doesn't it smell great!  You should try a spoonful.  It's awesome...."

One of my classic practical jokes came at the expense of the conductor of the university orchestra.  His office was around the corner and down the hall from the library, and we always traded verbal jabs.  I got my hands on a "Rambo" cardboard figure from the theatres.  It showed Rambo from the waist up and was enormous.  It had sat in the projection booth of the theatres for years, and used to scare the bejeebus out of me when I forgot it was there.  There's nothing like turning on the lights and having a heavily armed Sylvester Stallone glaring at you.  So, I brought Rambo to the University early one morning and made up some excuse to the get the master key from the secretaries.   I went into the conductors office, and proceeded to duct-tape Rambo to his desk chair, which conveniently, faced forward as you opened the door.  Mission accomplished, I locked the door, returned the key, and waited.....

 An hour or so later, the conductor came strolling into the building.  He's a loud Armenian fellow, who usually started his sentences with "Hey Pal!  How's it going?"  I waved as he walked by and grinned after he was gone.  I started a silent countdown in my head, and then...

ARRRRrrrrgh!!! Jesus Christ!!!

I heard the shout all the way down the hall and around the corner.  Sure enough he was at my desk thirty seconds later, but I couldn't speak because I was laughing so hard.  It was a classic.  I had got him, and got him good.  Until...

Until he ran across my engagement announcement in the newspaper and meticulously cut out the picture of TinyTuna's Dad, as well as every typed reference to his last name.  When I showed up for work the next day, there must have been 100 copies of the newspaper article plastered all over the building, announcing my engagement to ... Boston Celtic's Basketball player, Larry Bird.
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