default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Halloween pranks involving potatoes and outhouses

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 12:00 am | Updated: 2:51 pm, Fri Jul 9, 2010.

A little post-Halloween fable: Once upon a time there was a rowdy boy who indulged in sundry acts of mayhem in his little town in Squarehead County, USA.

As he grew up, he was taught by the older boys to put nasty things in paper bags, put the bags on the front porches of grouchy older people, light the bags on fire, knock on the door and run. There being no door bells in those days, it required exquisite timing. Since the grouchy old people moved slowly, the bag would have reached its full intensity as a fire. And when the grouchy old person reached the porch and stomped out the flame, suddenly the grouchy old person discovered what made the burning bag sort of mushy, and that lent a much, much greater meaning to the term "grouchy."

On the morning after Halloween, the father of that same overly active youngster took his son by the arm and directed him into the living room, where the dad sat down and faced the son with the story of George Washington and the cherry tree.

"In light of the incident of the cutting down of the cherry tree in the Washington family's front yard and remembering that young George was reminded yet again that honesty is not only the best policy, but in that honorable family, the only policy, do you feel obliged to tell the truth in light of the fact the elder Mr. Washington didn't spank his son because he bravely told the truth about the use of the ax on the cherry tree that fateful night?"

The son, feeling slightly relieved, listened as his father went on and said, "Yes, sir."

"I want to know, son, if you were in on the tipping over of the outhouse last night."

The son admitted, "Yes, I helped tip over the outhouse."

The father grabbed his son, and roughly forced the kid over his lap in preparation to deliver the kid a walloping he would never forget.

The boy protested loudly, "You said you wouldn't spank me if I told the truth."

"Not exactly," said the father. "The definitive difference between the two stories is that George Washington's father wasn't in the cherry tree when the kid chopped it down."

Well, there are tons of differences between the "then" of my developing years and the "now" of today. For one thing, eggs weren't nearly five bucks a dozen for the organic variety, because in those days all eggs were organic and, for the most part, fertilized. And, incidentally, stolen, so it didn't cost anything to egg the school principal's house.

When we were out paying homage to the Halloween devils, we would have used up enough eggs to feed a family of 10 for two weeks. We would have squirted enough glue into enough keyholes that night to put together 20 scrapbooks like the ones our sisters had in their hope chests. We jammed enough potatoes into enough car tailpipes to supply McDonalds for a week. The sad part of that was the fact that we were never around to see or hear it when the cars, that did start, blew loud holes into their mufflers.

And speaking of minor explosions, the Fourth of July just happened to be another day when it came to setting off firecrackers. The ones we used Halloween night were specifically designed to cause some of the weaker member of our species to have heart attacks or other attacks of a more personal, and certainly more embarrassing, nature.

Them wuz the days before canned shaving cream or Silly String (the use of which is a misdemeanor crime, mostly during the moment the Lodi High School marching band did their thing in front of the judges' stand at the corner of Pine and School streets during the Grape Festival Parade). This put Lodi on the list of towns with insane laws on the books.

Incidentally, in the most law-conscious city in the world, Chicago, there is a law on the books that makes it a crime to carry a ukulele down the street unless it is in an instrument case. They had a meeting of the city council in Chicago that week, and the City Fathers asked themselves, "Since this is one of the most crime-ridden cities in the world, what can we do to make people think we are soft on crime?"

It didn't work. There were only six people in Chicago who carried instruments in violin cases, and the rest of them had Thompson machine guns. That made people breathe easier, to be sure.

In Lodi, Silly String can stain a band uniform, and with squareheads, that can lead to violins — not violence. Or, as Lawrence Welk said when asked what he thought of all the violence on TV: "Dey are nice, but I like cellos even better."

Bob Bader is a writer who practices chiropractic. He can be reached at bobbyo@softcom.net.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • posted at 9:20 am on Sat, Nov 14, 2009.


    Bob are you a chiropractor or a barber?Those are groaners I remember the old grouches telling as they sat around in the barber shop. (I think they hoped some young feller would guffaw at the moment the barber was applying the trimmer and thus end up with a jagged gouge in his hairline.)


Recent Comments

Posted 17 hours ago by Thomas Heuer.

article: Letter: Ron Portal’s letters repeat the…

Joanne Its so good to see your name on these boards again. I miss your insightful commentary. Don't stay away [thumbup]


Posted 17 hours ago by Thomas Heuer.

article: Letter: Our leaders need to be better r…

Great Letter Eric [thumbup]


Posted 19 hours ago by Steve Schmidt.

article: Letter: Our leaders need to be better r…

Obama is a socialist in the same sense that Mitt Romney is a fascist.


Posted 20 hours ago by Mike Adams.

article: Letter: Our leaders need to be better r…

"Conservatives as the culprits in ever human evil that has befallen mankind. THAT is the legacy our political leadership (both Parties…


Posted 20 hours ago by Mike Adams.

article: Letter: Our leaders need to be better r…

So you're part of that 30%? You (and the rest of your percentage) hate him because his father was black and his mother was white. You thi…



Popular Stories



Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists