Thursday, November 01, 2012

'Possum In The Principal's Office

It’s Halloween.  Let’s have a little fun.  Fun is all Halloween ever was to kids when I was growing up.  Never once did we ever think of worshiping evil spirits and paying homage to Satan.  It was just a day of the year that we dressed up as ghosts and goblins and were allowed to pull off some pranks and stay out later than usual without getting in trouble.

As a little kid, I took a brown paper bag around to neighborhood houses and, behind a mask, extorted candy and other treats by threatening a trick.  What a trick was, I haven’t the slightest notion.  But that’s what every other kid said, so that’s what I said.

I wonder what I would have done if somebody had said: “You’re not getting any treats from me you little thief.  Go ahead, trick me.”  I most likely would have run home crying.

But after I got big enough to go spook’n, that was another story.

It started out innocent enough.  Daddy showed me how to make an awful-sounding noise on people’s windows with a pencil, a rubber band, a match stick, and an empty wooden spool.  By cutting notches in the rim of the spool, and rigging it to the pencil with the rubber band, I had a real noise-maker.  Winding it up tight, then releasing it so that the spool spun around very fast on the window surface, made a sound like a hail of bullets hitting the glass.

When the homeowner opened the front door to see what was happening, it wouldn’t be unusual for him to step on a cow paddy or worse.

When my big brother was a kid, he and some of his buddies put a farmer’s buggy on top of his barn.  Of course they were recruited within the next few days to help him get it down, but everybody had a few laughs.

Our tricks were mostly harmless.  Nobody got mad about them and usually just laughed, sometimes even confronting you in the next few days with: “You kids really got me this time!”

However, my high school principal was an exception.  Nobody liked him.  I don’t know why.  But he was especially obnoxious and irritating.  I think it was because he had his sense of humor removed at birth.   So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that he made the entire study body stay after school just because nobody confessed to putting a ‘possum in the principal’s office.

The stinking limburger cheese smeared on the radiators didn’t seem to bother him like that ‘possum.  And he became really incensed because none of the perpetrators would confess.  They stonewalled in a fashion Richard Nixon would have applauded.

On the other hand, even the city police were perfect gentlemen about finding a 100-pound pig in the back seat of their squad car.  They acted plenty silly when discovered it, but they didn’t spend one minute trying to find out who did it.  And to my knowledge, the farmer from whom the pig was stolen didn’t even report the theft to the police.  Heck, it was Halloween.  Things happen on Halloween.

It’s a good thing it was late at night with hardly any traffic.  The two cops got into their car and drove about 50 yards down Lindell Street before the car swerved violently and nearly ran up onto the sidewalk.

Both front doors sprang open simultaneously, and those guys must have walked around that car 25 times, looking up and down the street to see who was watching, then peering into the back seat to verify they weren’t seeing things.  Finally, they got back in the car and drove straight to the north side of town, where the pig-in-the-police-car prank paid tasty benefits.

Rather than canvas local farmers to see who was missing a pig, the cops drove out to Aunt Jemima’s Barbecue place and donated the animal.

The perpetrators paid for that pig, one sandwich at a time.  We—uh, they--enjoyed the barbecue almost as much as watching the cops discover that pig in the back seat.

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