Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Ticking Time Bomb

Next time you prepare for a party here’s what you need to do. Buy a pack of mint Mentos candy and drop them into each chamber of an ice tray, fill with water and freeze. At the party make sure you have plenty of WARM Coke around in need of ice. Serve the Coke or Diet Coke with ice and a smile. It should take only about five minutes for the glass of soda to erupt like a fifth grade science project. Sit back and enjoy. The reason I know this is because I just got “punked” with this trick; to the great amusement of all those at the meeting around me. Last time I accept a Diet Coke from THAT friend.

My brothers and I used to play a lot of practical jokes on each other. I can remember a lot of them on me when I was a young kid and as I got older then I would be able to participate in them. One of the fun pranks I played in High School was taking a hot water bottle and filling it with chunky, milky oatmeal and then adding a little red food coloring. We would get a plastic tube from the hardware store that would fit into the top of the hot water bottle and head off to the local Denny’s restaurant. After eating a bit one of us guys would make the correct noises and press on the hot water bottle in his jacket forcing the oatmeal mixture up and through the tube and throw up all over the table. This was done, hopefully, with the waitress and a young family around. After the mess is spread all over the table you had a choice: run out or stay in. In the run out scenario we would simply leave to the great relief of the waitress and people around us. In the run out scenario you must have most of your food gone so you get the fun AND a free meal. In the stay in scenario when the waitress comes and offers to clean up and move you to another table (along with all those sitting close by) you simply say, “No thank you, we’ll take care of it.” And then you proceed to eat the oatmeal. It always helps to say something like: “I LOVE the big chunks!” THEN you laugh pay for the meal since the looks on the people’s faces is priceless.

I also remember a High School prank gone wrong. No one got seriously hurt but five of us were suspended and facing my parents with it was the ticking time bomb. I can still remember the gut wrenching feeling of the principal calling my dad. As usual I feared what my parents would do more than what the school would do as punishment.

What’s the point of practical jokes? Joy for you and embarrassment for others? Taking people down a peg? Initiation? There is nothing wrong with a practical joke. If people cannot laugh at themselves and their foibles and fears then they are simply taking life too seriously. But sometimes the joke gets carried too far and people get hurt either physically or emotionally. In the middle of the joke be prepared to stop at any time. If you really think about it, you will find you know the exact time that joke went bad. All it takes is for someone to stop, explain, and start the laughing at themselves. Stop it before it goes bad. I had to clean the Diet Coke off my clothes and try to dry out, but I was looking for the next person to help with their drink. Can I get you a Coke?

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