. . .with a straw drinking out of a pitcher of beer.
Is that even legal?
. . .with a straw drinking out of a pitcher of beer.
Is that even legal?
I don’t do practical jokes often. Like everyone, I’ve done them. Of course, from me, people think I’m being mean. But I don’t think its because mine often include some combination of blunt force trauma and glue boards. I think many people just can’t take a joke much less a practical one.
But I have a friend, an electrician, who takes practical jokes to a new level. He’s set some up for long times. He’s serious about this. He has squirt guns (guns, multiple guns) in his freezer just in case a water fight breaks out. That’s someone who’s always prepared.
In all the years I’ve known him he’s only got me once. And it was nothing. Your garden variety squat and pop when someone’s turning a corner. But he’s told me elaborate stories that are, I’ll admit, pretty damn funny.
But there’s one thing about him that is a little bothersome. How proud he is that no one has successfully got him back. I can understand how that happens. He is always prepared for attack. A foe on high alert is a difficult foe. But not an impenetrable foe. Its all about surroundings and timing. But, most of all, patience.
He’s doing some electrical work around the office. Normal stuff. He’s here quite often. He’s comfortable here. And he probably doesn’t even remember the last minute jump and scare he pulled on me oh so long ago. But everything has to set itself up organically if its going to work. I have to be ready when the opportunity arrives.
And it just fell into my lap.
He’s above my office. Also above my office are two large speakers. They’re rarely on. When the building is closed and we have work to do we might crank them up. But, most of the time, they sit up there with the ladders and decades of old files. And a couple of marionettes. But I don’t want to talk about them.
I can hear him setting up. I can’t see him but know exactly where he is. He’s going to be pulling some cables for a new camera system. He’ll be there for a while. I can hear him putting some tools on a table. He picks up his radio and turns it on. He has it on one station all the time. And I happen to know what it is so I set the receiver to that station.
I know how he works so I’ll wait until I hear fewer footsteps. That’s when he’s setting up his supplies to start the job. He’s concentrating on making sure everything is perfect before he starts. I wait until I hear some shuffling of feet, he’s moving toward the speakers. I flip on the amplifier. For a moment there is no sound. And then. . .
A few seconds of anarchy.
In the ensuing quieter moment the array of items crashing to the floor seemed endless. The combination of cries and swears are pretty impressive. Even to a potty mouth such as myself. He’s still up there screaming as I try to unfold myself from laughter to successfully walk out of the office so I can see him.
And I do. His face is still stricken.
“You piece of shit. That scared the shit out of me. I thought my radio exploded.”
I continue laughing and looking up at him. I compose myself just long enough to say,
. . .cut off half of his middle finger with a table saw. I saw the picture and said,
“Too bad. And that was one of your favorite fingers, right?”
. . .someone fumble with their task.
“I don’t know my ass from my elbow.”
“Wow,” I say. “That must make it interesting when you have to shit.”
You know who you are. You’re a man of a certain age who thinks you’re still young. Trust me, mirrors lie. At least yours does.
And, again, you can trust me, I played a doctor on TV, the only thing stopping all the aches that envelop your body is the regiment of pills you’re taking. But that alone doesn’t make you an FOM. It takes a few more touches to get there.
It begins with something that pegs you a FOM a mile away. An unnatural hair color. What color is that? Newly Poured Tar? It has to be. Nothing shimmers like that. But that’s just the first level of FOMdom. The next is clothing. Or should I say, their great-great-grandchild’s clothing. I’m sorry, there should be a rule that says you have to be able to tell 2-Pac from Eminem without looking at your shirt. And then there’s the annoying habit of peppering their speech with words and phrases half remembered from 80’s rap videos. Videos, I might add, that you vilified when they were current.
But those are just the touches, the bait. The topper on the FOM souflee is when they are delusional enough to think the girl more than half their age is actually interested in them. Trust me, I’ve seen more girls cringe when touched yet smile when another round is slammed down. They’ll stay there until your money runs out or you’re so unintelligible and handsy that a friendly bouncer will pull you off them.
When that happens, here’s your badge. You’re now a card carrying Foolish Old Man.
And, you know something? I don’t even care about that part. If some young girl gets dressed for a night and decides to be groped by someone who graduated high school the year before her father started school, who’s to judge? But, when that FOM decides to brag about his conquest, yeah, that’s when membership is mandatory.
Sir, take your heart meds and let’s talk for a second. I was there. I saw her watching videos on her phone the entire time you were pawing and chatting her up. The only time she looked from her phone is when you traveled too far over her Mason-Dixon line or a round of drinks arrived. That’s not a conquest, that’s borderline assault.
Sir, let’s talk about hygiene for a moment. She: showered, powdered, perfumed. You: smell like the tongue of a soldiers old Army boot. You know the one. The one he got trench foot in. I saw you throw your arm around her and her ask the bartender for steel wool to scrape your sweat and age spots from her skin. I’ve heard girls talk about having to burn a blouse after such an encounter.
Sir, it is not 1967. It is not the summer of love. It is the winter of liver spots. Sure, shit happens, I’ve seen it. I had this actual conversation just the other day.
“I have a thirty-eight year old.” Nice. Appropriate. “And an eighteen month old.”
Think about this, when your second kid is in junior high school your first kid is joining AARP.
Sir, I know how you think that sounds. You’re head is filling up with,
“I’m such a stud! Everyone thinks I’m such a stud!”
But I can tell you from experiencing this conversation, from watching others experience this conversation and tell you that everyone’s stomach fluttered just a bit. A few openly rolled their eyes. Bile rose in some. Personally my eyes watered. And we’re all thinking the same thing,
“Ugh, that kids going to come out prematurely gray.”
Sir, the only thing you’re going to toss back and forth with that kid is the croup.
I guess my bottom line is, live your life as you see fit. You’ve worked hard. Put in your time. Done your duty. And all those other cliches people use to explain away their questionable behavior.
But don’t tell us about it. Some of us are trying to keep our dinner down.
. . .comes up during a newscast that says, “A child is forcibly punished every twenty seconds.”
“Wow!” I thought. “That kids parents must be exhausted.”
. . .to do something I have little to no (leaning way more towards no) interest in doing.
“Oh, sorry.” I say once again. “Wednesday’s aren’t good for me.”
Frustrated, he asks, “Then what day is good for you?”
“Last Thursday. Yeah, last Thursday was a very good day for me.”