The life of a practical joker can be tricky. Because, while you enjoy playing pranks on others, it is important that you yourself not be an easy mark. It is a credibility issue. So when I got a call last night from a woman–obviously disguising her voice–asking if she had reached Cootie Control, I giggled, played along and said, enthusiastically, “You got ’em!” She proceeded to tell me about her squirrel problem–not too funny–but still, obviously a prank, since everyone knows I simply love the word “squirrel”. At some point though, as she went on and on about her rodent problem–I asked her if the problem was too many or not enough squirrels–I realized that her voice, in fact, wasn’t disguised, that she had actually asked for Critter Control, and that it wasn’t a prank at all. But, I was in too deep already.
I read today on salon.com that another prank I had planned was preempted. I was going to create a fake business in RVA called “Good Ol’ Days” that matched willing, young African-American men and women in need of tuition money with upper-class white families, in a “mutually agreeable” master/slave relationship. The whole point would be to innocuously present this obviously deeply racist idea as an opportunity to learn about history, provide lower-income blacks with the money they need to get an education, and to, yes promote equality and understanding between the races.
My hope was that the weather-obsessed “news” media in town would take the bait–a mock brochure, a small “discreet” personal ad–and present it as something that was indeed real news. Oh well. It is too late. A Rent-a-Negro beat me to the punch