If I ever stop thinking pranks are funny, I hope someone puts me out of my misery.
At our house, you have to know that at any moment, someone could be hiding around the corner trying to jump out and scare you. Some pranks just never get old.
Recently at church, my son Blake and I were standing in the foyer of our church waiting for one service to end so ours could begin. As with many church services, some people leave a little early for a number of reasons. After about the fifth family cut out a little early, I decided to have some fun.
I told my 14-year-old that I would give him $5 for everyone he sent back inside. I told him to say, “Excuse me sir, the service isn’t over. Please return to the sanctuary until you are dismissed.”
He wouldn’t do it.
All I know is that it is a good thing my dad never made that offer to me. He would have lost a lot of money. Of course no one ever left the church early at First Baptist Church, Ninnekah, Oklahoma, because everyone wanted to hear my mom’s final chorus on the organ each week. For the record, I was the only 10-year-old who took organ lessons during Little League Baseball season. I probably only made it to a half dozen lessons before I finally wore my mom down enough to get her to let me retire.
At 14, I would definitely have worked as a Southern Baptist after church bouncer. My friends and I did far crazier things.
Once, we were on a church trip to Six Flags Over Texas. We contrived a plan to go up to one of the little stores on the pathway where they sell overpriced souvenirs and fire the person working there.
One friend distracted the teenaged girl working the booth and two of us stuffed small items in our pockets while she was occupied. Then we showed her the items we successfully stole from her and told her that she needed to return to the front office to see her manager.
We told her not to worry about the booth, because we would be there to watch it until a replacement worker arrived. The girl actually bought the crazy story and left to go be punished or fired for failing to protect the merchandise.
We finally caved and ran to get her and tell her it was all a joke. She didn’t think it was nearly as funny as we did. Honestly, when we planned it, I don’t think we ever expected it to really work.
We didn’t know what to do when it did.
Later that day, we were enjoying a fun day in the games section of the park. There was this wonderful game where you flipped a floppy rubber frog off of a launching pad and if he landed on a lily pad, you won a stuffed animal. When we had won a couple of them, we convinced the worker at that booth to keep the stuffed frogs and let us keep one of the game pieces. There was a beat up, torn up rubber frog that the girl at the frog hop game was willing to part with and we gladly accepted it.
I loved that frog.
He made for a great story. So I melted down some rubber worms used for fishing and welded his broken body back together. Then I got back at my mom for making me take organ lessons.
I asked her to use her sewing skills to craft the frog a nice outfit. So my frog was now back in one piece and looking very dapper in his Hawaiian patterned shorts and shirt. I hung him from the rear-view mirror of my 1978 Plymouth Fury by fishing line.
Every time I turned, he swung back and forth. It was truly one of those times when worthless and priceless intersected.
My family and my employees can tell you, I still think it is important to be a little crazy and have a lot of fun.
Life is too short to take yourself too seriously.
— Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.