I would consider myself to be a consistent, entry level practical joker. If you want to be a Journeyman Practical Joker, you have to study for years and the jokes you pull off take months of planning. I like phony phone calls and the doctoring e-mails variety. I’m lazy. But, I’m consistent.
So when something does go down, I get blamed. That screws with the other entry level guy who’s trying to work up the practical joke ladder and I’m getting all the blame/credit. “I didn’t do it.” It’s easy to lie when you aren’t.
So yesterday, something happened. I know it wasn’t me that did it because the joke was on me. It all started when I went to the fax machine and checked to see if anything had come in for me.
Author’s Sidebar *** (Our New Fax Machine is Our Old Fax Machine)
Our current fax machine is our old copier/print/fax machine. When the bosses decided to upgrade, they huddled in their offices and picked a slick new color copier/scanner/printer. I felt a little left out because I am, by default, the company’s IT guy. But no one likes the IT guy in a meeting. The new copier was brought in and installed. Tech guy was showing us how to operate the new machine when someone asked how to send a fax on the new machine. He looked at the machine and looked at us and said, “This model does not have fax capability.” My bosses were crazed. They called the salesman in, “How come this has no fax!” He eeked, “I never said it did?” My bosses were enraged. “How come you didn’t tell us to ask if there was a fax capability!!?” The default IT guy had to laugh. In the end, we got to keep the old copier/printer/fax machine (though we got the credit for turning it in) and it sits right next to our new scanner/copier/printer.
The fax machine had several faxes and confirmations sitting in the tray. I sorted through them, found the one I was waiting for and headed back to my seat when I noticed something very odd. On the cover page of my fax, someone had written, “I QUIT! - 9/29/06”
At first, I thought someone at Skan Electric in Ft. Bragg, NC had got fed up with their job and chose to share it with me. As I looked closer, I saw that it wasn’t printed in the dull black that our fax machine spits out, but rather black pen. This had to have been done in our office and, by looking at the time the fax came in, in the last twenty minutes.
I immediately accused Angie because she sits right next to the fax machine and would have been in arms reach of the output tray. I also suspected her because she is usually the victim of my jokes and has been known to get me back. She denied it. But then again, she was smirking when she denied it.
Next on my list was Shorty. But he’s not that clever so I immediately crossed him off the list.
That was everyone on my list, so I was out of suspects. I went back to the fax and tried to analyze the information:
I QUIT- Quit what? Who is I? Why would they want to quit? Why all capitals?
9/29/06 – Why is that date important?
I took the next ten minutes using white out and a pen to make the faxed invoice look presentable so that accounting wouldn’t ask any questions. As I mangled the fax even further, I’d stop and accost or accuse someone else in the office. Everyone seemed pretty sincere and I don’t think anyone is clever enough to stump me on such a simple prank.
Angie keeps track of the scheduling in the office and I asked her to check what was going on that date and why it might be significant. She looked that the calendar and said, “Oh, that’s the day you had the horrible program…..”
And she said it as I thought it.
“YOU DID IT!” I did it.
On September 29th 2006 I had thirteen emergency jobs across the states. I had to get 10 guys to 13 different locations within 24 hours. I found the qualified guys, negotiated payments and got them on the road/plane/boats (one guy had to take a ferry.) At 4:00pm on Friday, the client called. I was very pleased to share with him that we had all the jobs taken care of. That was when he told me there were 10 more locations that needed fixed in the next 24 hours. As I plotted them on a map, they landed in areas where my guys who were now on planes could have driven. Basically, if he had given me the additional 10 locations four hours earlier, I could have handled them with the guys I had. Now that my installers were all ready on the road, I’d have to find new guys. At 4:30 on a Friday. Fuck! I was ranting and pouting around the office. I stopped over at the fax machine, pulled out a sheet of paper, wrote “I QUIT – 9/29/06” and shoved it in the middle of the stack of paper waiting to get printed on.
Two months later, that sheet of paper worked its way to the top of the stack and tricked the trickster.
Only a few people have witnessed me in the Doug fetal position. That’s where I sit on my knees and lean my head forward until it touches the floor. Usually I shove the palms of my hands into my eye sockets and fold into myself. Kind of what an ostrich would do if there were no hole to stick their head in.
I had to laugh. I got me good.