Pranks

December 16, 2008

I love the uneasy feeling that people get when something does not fit the expected paradigm of their daily experience.

Case in point: about twelve years ago, someone was saving tons of orange peels and then scattering them at the same median break on route 19 in South Strabane township, Washington county, Pennsylvania every two to three weeks. This lasted for about seven months.

The first time I saw all of these peels, I thought, what the fuck? There seriously had to be the peels from 40 to 60 pounds of oranges as there where several hundred, perfectly quartered pieces of orange skin.

Must have been some kind of accident I thought. I forgot about it until it happened again.

When I noticed the same volume of peels scattered in the intersection about two-and-a-half weeks later, I realized that this was an intentional act – I laughed my ass off.

This occurred over the next five months at the same two to three week intervals. That is when the local paper (O-R) asked the question, Who is doing thisand why? There was speculation that this was some sort of f.u. to the S.Strabane Police force as this particular median break was utilized by said police force to get to their station. An additional hypothesis was also floated that a disgruntled customer of a bank next to said police station may also be the target. No mention was made that maybe it was just someone doing it for no reason at all, other than to force people to ask questions and attempt to ascribe meaning and context.

The peel explosion occurred a few more times at more drawn out intervals and then stopped.

I took part in a prank that resulted in my friends girlfriend finally leaving him because he had finally gone too far with his antics. This act starts with me and Gretchen (we are now married); Jamie and his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend Kristen and Bill and Lori (they are now married).

We were at the home of Kristens mother in McCandless township, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania. Kristens mom had recently had her house foreclosed and had to be out the following day. We all went along to help with the move. What a nightmare. I hate helping people move that do zero prep work; the house was basically just piles of things that needed loaded into the cars that we brought because, as I remember it, she didnt get a moving truck. So we basically loaded car after a car and just dumped her stuff into a small apartment that she rented in a high-rise building. We were at it for hours as the light began to fade in the light spring evening. Kristens mom started to get very manic, a combination of the realization that she was losing the home where her children were born and raised and the impossible task of even being able to take any more stuff she was seriously running out of room.

As she drove away with her last load, we assessed the items in the driveway they had come as far as they were going because there simply was no more room at the new apartment. What remained were two old floor lamps, an Oriental carpet, a lounge chair, end tables, assorted dining chairs, potted fake plants, a couple of old bicycles and a ton of assorted bric-a-brac. We stood there, half stoned and giddy and realized that we could create a living room in the front lawn when would we have this much stuff in one place again? So, in the twilight, a living room took form. We road the busted up bikes into it and crashed into the furniture. Kristen asked that we put the stuff in a junk pile for the garbage man in the morning. So, we broke our living room down and set it up curbside, placing the garbage next to it. We followed up by driving around the living room and doing donuts in the front yard. Kristen didnt find any of it amusing. She insisted that we break the living room down because the garbage men would leave it if it was not properly bundled. We convinced her that the garbage men would know that this stuff was obviously meant to be carted away and that there was no possible way that they would be assholes and not load it up.

We were wrong. Kristen received an angry call from her mother because, and this was unknown to us at the time, her mothers boss lived a few streets away and passed her house every morning to get to work. He wanted to know what sort of problems she was having and why she would arrange a living room in her front yard. In my mind he was a complete idiot: this guy was a High School Principle and his assumption was that this was an intentional act by a 45 year old woman? And why didnt she just blame the neighborhood kids for doing such things?

About a month later Jamie and Kristen were moving to a new apartment. Kristen sprung it on Jamie the night before the move and he sprung it on us when we showed up to help him move she was moving to a different apartment!

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