In my lifetime I’ve gotten away, unscathed, with one prank. No backlash, no repercussions. I skated. One lonely prank. There’s no reliable figure for the number of times I’ve been busted, but it’s higher than one. In many cases, I wasn’t even involved, but I carry the blame or the ever-abiding suspicion anyway.
Don’t get me wrong, I did my share of practical jokes and shenanigans. I’ve toilet papered dozens of houses. I smoked in the girls’ bathroom. I duct taped an air horn under an office chair. Made endless prank calls (Is your refrigerator running? tee hee You better catch it). Oh, don’t act all innocent, you did stuff, too. The difference is, you got away with it. No one suspects the evil that lurks in the hearts of sweet, innocent, well-behaved do-gooders. How I envied you guys and your hidden, but very devious, talents. I so wanted to be like you. Alas, I didn’t have a prayer.
Once upon a time, in a math class long, long ago, a teacher was writing equations and formulas on the blackboard. I watched, chin in hand, bored to tears. As she reached ever upward, her garter snapped and flew into a corner. She whirled and glared. Without a word, I pointed to the corner where it landed. That earned me a trip to the office. But could I argue the unfairness of such punishment when I was being freed? Detention was a social event, you know, better than Prom.
Certain personalities, such as mine, set off mental alarms in rule enforcers and order keepers and followers of the straight and narrow. They like predictability and routine and keeping a tight rein on their realm. We, the jokers and tomfools, are their Waterloo. With our mischief-making and disregard for rules, we raise their hackles. Their radar goes off and we go on their Sh*t List. In ink.
This stigma of latent delinquency has followed me all this way for all these years, but that’s unlikely to ever change. Once I’m in the grave, I’ll be accused of causing every earthly calamity afoot in the world. The mind does indeed boggle.
And that prank, the one I got away with? ‘Twas an oh-so-beautiful, perfect doozy.
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