I have been begging one of my good friends Chris to contribute to THD for a few months now considering he's one of the coolest Dads I know. The other day I woke up to an e-mail titled "Fart Spray" in my inbox. Enjoy.
I like my kids sense of humor. Maybe I can relate to it so well because she’s five years old and that’s where I’m at mentally, I don’t know. I do know that I was filled with pride the time she asked me what the words on my tape measure said. When I told her it read “HEAVY DUTY” she burst out laughing.. I must admit, I was nonplussed.. she explained through guffaws, “You said ‘DOODIE’!” *more giggling “HEAVY DOODIE!” *falls on floor laughing.
That’s my girl.
So, last week, Ophelia informed me that she wishes to own a “case filled with pranks”. I can’t say what spurred this, presumably it was the influence of some snappy cartoon show, perhaps SpongeBob, maybe Fishtronaut.. In any case, the idea instantly resonated with me, and I started to reminisce about all my favorite old joke shop pranks. She was familiar with the hand-buzzer and kaleidoscope eye-stamp, both of which she planned (with my implicit approval) to ply on her old Portuguese grandfather. I told her about the time I got my high school math teacher with the whoopie cushion and how we cleared out a laundromat with stink-bombs. She was partial to the snakes in the peanut brittle gag, and of course the classic, fake poop.
There really aren’t too many descent joke shops around anymore, the nearest ones are all at least an hour away, but every day Ophelia would bring it up, begging me to help start her collection. Then it finally occurred to me that Spencer Gifts in the mall has a shitty little gag section, and it would most likely be enough to temporarily satiate her prank-lust. The first round I allowed her one item. She chose the “Mixed Nuts” gag, and for the next several days I was forced to play dumb, then act surprised when a squeaky snake came jumping out. After a while it got tiring and I would refuse the nuts. “Oh, are these roasted with salt, I prefer raw.” No, she would not accept that. Just open the damn can and scream.
Eventually, we found ourselves back at the mall for more, this time adding the “Spearmint Gum/Finger Snap” gag, and the hand-buzzer to her “case”. Having memories of all these old toys, I must comment on how shoddy and cheap they’re all made now. They all bore the finger print of Chinese manufacturing, on the Spearmint Gum gag, was written “Always enjoy praticle joke!”<sic> In any case, she didn’t know the difference and was completely stoked on her new vocation as prankster. (As a side note, while I was waiting in line at Spencer to purchase said pranks, I witnessed a woman buying brass Truck-Nuts on a credit card. This, to me, was the epitome of consumer confidence.)
Now we have a nice little collection going, and we walk through the mall to Ruby Tuesdays, as she tries out her new tricks on me along the way. At no time would she ever subject herself to any of them. The finger snap was o.k. to try on me, but too scary to put her own precious little finger into. The same goes for the hand-buzzer. So, we sit down in a booth and the waitress comes over to take our order. I figure, I’ll give the waitress a chance to earn a better tip, by playing along. I give her a big deliberate wink in case she’s a total rube, and offer her a stick of gum. She gets me, and goes to accept the gum, when Ophelia suddenly dives in the way, “Nooo, it’s a trick!!” Naturally, we all crack up laughing at my sweet, softhearted little girl. Ophelia, satisfied at having saved the lady, went on to explain the ins and outs of all her pranks like Penn & Teller, giving away all the secrets.
We enjoyed our dinner together, as we always do, and on the way out Ophelia stopped the waitress “And remember, if you see me with a can of mixed nuts... Watch out!”
p.s. Check out some awesome work by Chris's partner in crime: http://www.tsilvabarbosa.com