March 15, 2018

little green army men

I wish I knew what became of my vintage-model Annoy-a-Tron.  Not the puck-shaped kind that ThinkGeek currently sells, but the older model, the one that simply emits a beep at intervals between one and eight minutes long, randomly.

It's magnetic and ideal for sticking to the top of the inside of a filing cabinet or under a metal desk, such that the victim of the incessant, inexplicable beeping cannot figure out where the fuck that noise is coming from.  Ingenious.

Back in the day, I relished April Fools' Day, though I shouldn't have, since I could dish it out but not take it (and still can't).  There were tech-related jokes, my favorite of which was the keystroke combination to turn the image on someone's desktop monitor upside-down.  Had I been a SQL programmer and able to hack into our network's print servers, I would have put an "INSERT COIN" message on the display of our office printer.  Alas.

I was like this as a kid, too.  I would have a friend or two sleep over, and we would sneak out of the house at 2 a.m. and walk around the neighborhood.  The friend(s) would simply enjoy the act of sneaking; I had bigger plans.  My favorite was tormenting the neighbor lady one block over, who insisted on filling her yard with all manner of ceramic woodland creatures.  Not just a cute bunny or three; there were ceramic squirrels going up trees, ceramic gophers and woodchucks, ceramic birds on ceramic birdbaths, ceramic deer, and two snarling ceramic black bears.  I took my daddy's can of Barbasol shaving cream and made the bears rabid on more than one occasion.  I stuck marshmallows on the deer antlers.  She had it coming to her.  I mean, gophers.  Really?

And when I slept over at one friend's house, we took advantage of the fact that her house had two phone lines, both of which had a cordless phone and the full bundle of services available from Southern Bell.  We'd take both phones into her room and shut the door and call each other.  Then we'd use the three-way calling on each phone and call a random phone number, switch back so that there were now four parties to the call, and hit the "mute" buttons on the phones.  We'd listen as the first person answered the phone, heard ringing, heard the second person say, "Hello?" and groggily engaged in the ensuing hilarity.  They couldn't hear us giggling uncontrollably.

Unfortunately, we got caught and grounded for that trick.

These disturbing tendencies continued into high school, when my best friend and I had several teachers that we tormented on a regular basis, on a driving circuit around town.  One teacher made the mistake of going out of town for a week and saying something about it in class.  When she returned from her vacation, there was a large thrift-store bed sheet hanging from the side of her deck that said "WELCOME HOME TROOPS!" and roughly four hundred little green plastic army men in perfect formation in her driveway.  It took for-fucking-ever to purchase those plastic soldiers.  K-Mart had to keep getting them back in stock; then we'd clean them out.  The stock clerk was probably scratching his head.  We barely made it in time.

I can't remember if that was before or after we made the paper clip chain (also at the K-Mart stock clerk's expense) and wrapped it around her house four times.  It was definitely after the time we filled her entire screened-in porch with inflated balloons.

Unfortunately, last April 1, I had just gotten out of The Bin and wasn't quite in the place to observe it properly.  It was a rather serious, painful day, maybe as penance for nearly forty years of taking the piss.  But this year, it's fair game.  Wait.  Shit-biscuits.  Easter Sunday.  I can't even discreetly modify a chocolate bunny; my kid's too old for those.  (At least he can eat them; I never could bite their ears off, and they stayed in the freezer and turned all white and chalky and had to be thrown out, every single year.  Last year, I saw a chocolate crucifix at a drug store.  Not a chocolate cross, but an actual crucifix, with a chocolate Jesus nailed to it with chocolate nails and a chocolate crown of chocolate thorns.  This was in bad taste, and I only say that because it was that cheap-ass Palmer's-style watered-down chocolate and not Valrhona or Lindt.)

I'm more inclined to smart-ass remarks than practical jokes at this point.  But a former colleague is returning to work tomorrow after an extended absence.  A friend has done things up properly and stuck Barbie dresses on all of the sci-fi character action figures in his office.  This is good and right and just.  I approve.

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