Little Spouse On The Prairie: Practically Funny
I don’t respond well to practical jokes. Typically, I have a pretty violent response. My hope is always that, when these pranksters see how startled I am by their shenanigans, they will feel remorse and apologize and cease making me the butt of their jokes.
However, my friends, coworkers, and family members seem to believe that my outsized reactions are an indication that they should increase the number of pranks they play. What they don’t understand is that they are taking years off my life when they jump out from behind a door and shout, “Boo!”
There are a couple of practical jokes that took off more than a few years of my life. Though I don’t want to give anyone ideas, I thought I might spend the next few episodes sharing these pranks, as we are getting close to April Fool’s Day.
Throughout my nearly 30 years of teaching, I’ve discovered that instructors can be pretty ornery. Some of the worst practical jokes I’ve ever experienced have been perpetrated, not by the unruly teens I taught, but by fellow educators -- those supposed icons of erudition.
A number of years ago, I had been reading about a student who hated his instructor so much that he – well – he left his own waste in his teacher’s desk drawer. A good teacher-friend of mine and I were discussing that one day during our planning time. Though I noticed she had a mischievous look on her face, she was always one to smile and look ornery, so I didn’t pay too much attention. Later that hour, I began to notice a stench wafting throughout the school hallways. And lo and behold, when I returned to my classroom, there it was on the floor near my desk: A pile of fresh excrement.
I was devastated. This was the most insulting proof that my students hated me that I could ever have imagined. Stomach churning and tears prickling in my eyes, I went to find the school principal. He happened to be in a tense meeting with unhappy parents at the time, but I knew my report took precedence over anything else at that point. I interrupted the meeting and whispered tearfully what was going on.
Upset, he retrieved janitorial supplies and walked into my room. He sprayed the area liberally with disinfectant before gingerly trying to scoop the offending substance onto a piece of cardboard. I fought off my gag reflex.
We were both surprised when the seemingly fresh pile did not behave at all like we expected. Instead, it kind of bounced to the side, revealing that it was plastic. How had I not realized? Where had that smell come from? (We found out later it had come from an experiment with sulfur in the chemistry room down the hall.)
I sheepishly apologized for interrupting the principal’s meeting, but he wasn’t mad. After all, he had been fooled too, and my interruption diffused the situation in the parent conference. He was chuckling as he left.
I nearly ran up to my friend’s classroom after he was gone. Her eyes got really, really big as I related how I had interrupted the principal’s important meeting. “You didn’t!” she said.
“Yes, of course, I did. I was terribly upset. I was actually crying,”
“Valerie. I’m the one who put the fake poop on your floor. I confiscated it from a student, and when we were talking about it this morning, I just couldn’t resist. I can’t believe you didn’t guess!” she said. “Do NOT tell the principal!”
Although I never told our boss who had played the really poopy trick on me, a few days later, he approached me in the hallway. He smiled and said, “By the way, I think you might want to check with your little blond friend about who might have pranked you the other day. She is apparently not as innocent as she looks.” Many thanks to that little blond friend for providing a cameo for this episode.
And here’s that little blond friend, to say, listen next week for more stories of April Fools’ Day pranks shared by my friend, the Little Spouse on the Prairie. She really is an easy target, so she has lots of them to relate. And be sure to share your own tales on the Facebook or Twitter feeds at Little Spouse at facebook.com/littlespouseontheprairie or SpouseOnThePrairie@ValerieKuchera.
Do HPPR listeners know how embarrassing it is for me to have my mother telling stories about me on public radio? I’m convinced she does this just to make my teen years difficult, but she insists that someday, I’ll look back and laugh, though I have my doubts.
Tune in to Little Spouse on the Prairie, Sunday mornings at 8:35 right here on High Plains Public Radio. Follow Little Spouse on the Prairie at facebook.com/ littlespouseontheprairie and on Twitter at SpouseOnThePrairie@ValerieKuchera.