Now I am, like anyone, liable to fall foul of a practical joke or wind-up occasionally. It happens, maybe I am tired, maybe drunk…but I like to think that I can spot them fairly rapidly and more often than not during the delivery.
I am blessed with the ability to do “deadpan delivery” of jokes or wind-ups. This gives enough problems to native English speakers…but the fun you can have with non-native English speakers is great. Except Germans…..they simply think you are being serious and then insist on having you ruin the gag by explaining, at length, twice. Actually come to think of it, that may just be the greatest wind-up escape ever….fair play Herman, fair play sir!
Some of my faves are the ones where you have people going for a long time before you have to let them know it’s a wind-up. Now obviously, most people have used the old “long weight”, or “tartan paint” lines, or will have at least heard about them. There was a particular guy I worked with straight out of school and he was not the sharpest tool in the shed. We all, at various times, sent him to the local B and Q store to fetch:
- Striped paint
- Glass hammer
- Left handed screwdrivers
- Left handed screws for said screwdrivers
- Left handed spanner
- Rubber nails (for use with the a rubber hammer)
- Long weight (Over 2 hours before he returned to declare that they are out of stock, but would 2 short weights do?)
- Tin of elbow grease
- Replacement bubbles for the spirit level as ours was cracked
My favourite one for this guy though, was when someone had left a caravan in the main entrance, and we sent him to find the ignition keys in the lost key box… I would like to say that he got the jokes and was just playing along, but alas it was not the case.
I do remember phoning a friend a number of years ago and asking for his help. I explained at great length that I wanted to install a satellite dish, but the landlord wouldn’t allow anything to be mounted to the wall. I tried to use a pole in the garden, but the buildings were too high around it and I couldn’t get a signal. I seem to recall taking around 20 minutes to fully explain the dilemma, before I asked him for the favour.
Me: “I have just been to B&Q to get some, but they are out of stock….maybe the B&Q near you will have some”
CP: “What are you on about?”
Me: “Oh crap, yeah sorry – Sky hooks…I need them about 2 inch across and about an inch thick…can you check it out for me and call me back?”
CP: “Fine..hang on…let me get a pen”
CP: “Ok, go”
Me: “So I need 2 sky hooks…2 inches across and as close to 1 inch thick as you can get”
About an hour or so later he called me back and let rip with a combination of laughter and words that would make a sailor blush…