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Punk’d

bluemilker.jpg

When the flight attendant advises that passengers place the oxygen mask over their own faces before assisting those seated nearby, I always interpret this imperative more broadly—that I should take care of my own needs first, whether or not I’m strapped into an airplane seat, 10,000 feet in the air. Day to day, this doesn’t really happen, of course. What with dogs needing kibble in their bowls and mail needing filing and kids needing an occasional warm embrace or a ride to school… my own needs often wind up in the back seat, shoved in the crevice between the seat cushions along with candy wrappers, pennies, and old gum.

But one thing I do hold sacred: In the morning, I don’t want anyone to bug me before I’ve cleared that first cup of coffee. Around my house, my daughter has learned to steer a wide berth for the 5 or 10 minutes it takes for me to drain the mug. My teenage son just stays in bed.

This morning, I filled the first cup before first light, and in the dark toddled over to the fridge to add a bit of milk. I unscrewed the carton and started to pour, then—surprised—stopped. The milk, which had been fine the previous night, was a startling shade of blue. An oddly bright color, like a robin’s egg.

“What the…” I said, to no one in particular. Then, more loudly, in the general direction of the bedrooms, “Hey!” I yelled. “Anyone know what happened to the milk?” From my son’s room, somewhere under the covers, I heard a muffled sort of snort that before long matured into a prolonged, knowing cackle.

When I told this story to some friends today, each looked at me quizzically, like a dog might cock his head at an unfamiliar pitch. “So wait… he dyed the milk blue? Well what’s so funny about that?”

I grew up in a house where small humorous jokes were often played on others as a display of warmth and affection—and, also, as an attempt to root you in humility, to school you in the reality that the world could be a ruthless place. “You might get straight As in school, Ms. High and Mighty,” the pranks seemed to say, “but we know where you sleep.”

Around my childhood home, asking, “What’s for lunch?” inevitably brought the response, A cracked ice sandwich and a glass of fish.

What did you learn at school today? “Nothing.” Then what’d you go for?

You might go to brush your teeth at night and, just before squeezing on the paste, discover that your toothbrush was wet. Your question —”Did someone use my toothbrush?” yelled through a crack in the bathroom door—was met by robust laughter by someone lying in wait for your reaction. Eventually, you learned to test the other brushes: Chances are, it was just someone trotting out Dad’s old trick to wet all the brushes under the faucet before returning them, one by one, to their usual holes in the porcelain holder.

This kind of ruse was a gentler manifestation of the teasing that my father picked up from his own father, my grandfather—the kind of guy who laughed pitilessly at my cousin, his grandson, who as a young boy had deduced that the safest place to hide the key to his Captain Crunch treasure chest was inside the chest itself. “That wasn’t too bright, was it?” the old man asked him, after he had dropped the key in the slot… then instantly realized his miscalculation.

When you are a kid, you don’t realize that not every family has a father who hides in the coat closet, poised to jump out at you from between the parkas and galoshes. Or who, dressed in nothing but his boxer shorts and a big grin, stood in front of the picture window and waving good morning to our neighbors. Not every family has someone who routinely hides under the bed and—just at the moment you step onto the rug—shoots out a hand to grab your ankle in a terrifying grip.

I was the smallest child and, over time, the constant punking made me a little wary, a little nervous, a little like I had to always watch my back. As a teen, it sometimes made me plenty irritated. Possibly, it was the lack of sleep: between 1970 and the time I left for college, I slept with one eye open.

But time and distance have softened my view, as they have a magical way of doing. I’ve come to see my siblings and me back then as puppies rolling on the lawn, nipping at each other in play. It might look a little painful to the outsider, but it was all in a kind of fun that, in a way, captures the very essence of them.

So more often these days, I feel a wistful nostalgia for the fun-house pranks of my childhood. My parents are both long dead, my brother and two sisters and I live our lives, for the most part, irrespective of one another. But we shared something rich that, until this morning, I thought was gone, too.

Some children excel at sports or school, and I imagine their parents take great pleasure in witnessing their success. A child walks across the stage at her high school graduation as valedictorian, and if you were to scan the crowd you could find the parents, their eyes fixed and shining. If you could see through their clothes and skin and into their chest, you would find their hearts swollen, near bursting with joy. Those moments—and maybe million others, too… the first wobbly ride on a two-wheeler, the winning goal in the net—make the crappier parts of parenting dissolve. Gone, in an instant, are the arguments you’ve had, the anger at the acting out, the endless, epic parent-child battles of who is right and who is a nincompoop.

Standing there this morning, with my mug of blue-tinted coffee bathed in the pool of refrigerator light, I had one of those moments. Some day, maybe, my boy will bring home a varsity letter or a perfect report card, and that would be alright. But it wouldn’t please me half as much as knowing, at this minute, that ours was the only fridge in the town—and likely beyond—that held milk colored quite so vibrant a shade of blue.

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106 Responses to Punk’d

  1. Brandie says:

    What a great post, thanks, Ann! Nothing says “I love you” like a little Punking …

  2. Brandie says:

    What a great post, thanks, Ann! Nothing says “I love you” like a little Punking …

  3. People that spend any time with my family (I was one of 4 boys, and now have 5 of my own) know that the surest sign of affection is getting busted on. If you’re NOT being teased, it’s time to worry…

  4. People that spend any time with my family (I was one of 4 boys, and now have 5 of my own) know that the surest sign of affection is getting busted on. If you’re NOT being teased, it’s time to worry…

  5. So I see it’s in the genes, Ann. :-)

    Great story… and great to know that the family tradition continues. Love your stories!

  6. So I see it’s in the genes, Ann. :-)

    Great story… and great to know that the family tradition continues. Love your stories!

  7. Pingback: Punk’d | dairyfactory.com

  8. We had a lot of laughter in our household, too. I’m grateful for it, and try to recreate the craziness at my house. My daughter is already fitfully aware of sarcasm and also the fact that more than half of what I tell her isn’t exactly true. My son? He’s more up for the physical humor.

    Thrilled to see blue milk pranks are alive and well.

  9. We had a lot of laughter in our household, too. I’m grateful for it, and try to recreate the craziness at my house. My daughter is already fitfully aware of sarcasm and also the fact that more than half of what I tell her isn’t exactly true. My son? He’s more up for the physical humor.

    Thrilled to see blue milk pranks are alive and well.

  10. What a fabulous article! My husband is the prankster in our house and the kids love trying to figure out what he will do next. It took me a little while to get used to a man who hides under the dining room table with a Super Soaker full of water anticipating his next victim (sometimes me).

    I love the blue milk!

  11. What a fabulous article! My husband is the prankster in our house and the kids love trying to figure out what he will do next. It took me a little while to get used to a man who hides under the dining room table with a Super Soaker full of water anticipating his next victim (sometimes me).

    I love the blue milk!

  12. LisaW says:

    Great post, Ann! You know, it’s the love and laughter remain long after the arguments you’ve had, the anger at the acting out, the endless, epic parent-child battles of who is right and who is a nincompoop are long forgotten.

    As parents, our sources of pride come from being witness to our children’s successes whether it’s sports, academics, or delivery of a good joke – we are seeing evidence of skill and characteristics that will serve them well.

    Good for you for seeing that in blue tinted coffee!

  13. LisaW says:

    Great post, Ann! You know, it’s the love and laughter remain long after the arguments you’ve had, the anger at the acting out, the endless, epic parent-child battles of who is right and who is a nincompoop are long forgotten.

    As parents, our sources of pride come from being witness to our children’s successes whether it’s sports, academics, or delivery of a good joke – we are seeing evidence of skill and characteristics that will serve them well.

    Good for you for seeing that in blue tinted coffee!

  14. I have to say it: Blue milk! Like starwars! We play pranks on each other during Christmas and on other such special occasions all the time. It adds more fun to the holidays. Pranks aren’t necessarily mean, just showing someone you care by going that extra mile to surprise them, and get a laugh out of it.

  15. I have to say it: Blue milk! Like starwars! We play pranks on each other during Christmas and on other such special occasions all the time. It adds more fun to the holidays. Pranks aren’t necessarily mean, just showing someone you care by going that extra mile to surprise them, and get a laugh out of it.

  16. Sarah says:

    How did it taste?

  17. Sarah says:

    How did it taste?

  18. Ann Handley says:

    @sarah I could handle the blue-ish coffee but, later, couldn’t tolerate the Frosted Mini Wheats swimming in blue.. it was just *wrong*.

    I also love @stacie idea to take cover under the dining room table.. I might just try that!!

    I’m glad you all agree with @brandie’s sentiment… “nothing says I love you like a little punking!”

    Finally, shout to my brother for his help jogging my memory here! Thanks, Bill!

  19. Ann Handley says:

    @sarah I could handle the blue-ish coffee but, later, couldn’t tolerate the Frosted Mini Wheats swimming in blue.. it was just *wrong*.

    I also love @stacie idea to take cover under the dining room table.. I might just try that!!

    I’m glad you all agree with @brandie’s sentiment… “nothing says I love you like a little punking!”

    Finally, shout to my brother for his help jogging my memory here! Thanks, Bill!

  20. Jeff Sass says:

    Ann, even those who are lactose intolerant should be tolerant of your blue milk story!

    I too grew up realizing I come from a long line of pranksters. My grandfather, who was in poor health and hard of hearing the entire time I knew him, was legendary for once placing a rubber rat on top of one of my grandmother’s signature fresh baked pies (then hiding in the bathroom until he heard her scream as she removed it from the oven). To this day, nobody in my family speaks to each other on April Fool’s Day because we have so “out pranked” each other over the years that no one will believe anything anyone says on that day.

    Thanks for making me smile (and appreciate my distaste for milk!)

    - Jeff

  21. Jeff Sass says:

    Ann, even those who are lactose intolerant should be tolerant of your blue milk story!

    I too grew up realizing I come from a long line of pranksters. My grandfather, who was in poor health and hard of hearing the entire time I knew him, was legendary for once placing a rubber rat on top of one of my grandmother’s signature fresh baked pies (then hiding in the bathroom until he heard her scream as she removed it from the oven). To this day, nobody in my family speaks to each other on April Fool’s Day because we have so “out pranked” each other over the years that no one will believe anything anyone says on that day.

    Thanks for making me smile (and appreciate my distaste for milk!)

    - Jeff

  22. Both of my parents had keen senses of humor, so this story resonated with me quite strongly.

    But it’s the opening that hooked me, because I was reminded of the first few minutes of the play ” The Complete Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged),” during which the audience is given the standard “if the cabin should lose pressure” speech.

    But in the play, the line about oxygen masks concludes with “… and if you are traveling with small children, be sure to put on your own mask first, and let the little buggers fend for themselves,” a line my wife and I always whisper to each other at the appropriate moment whenever we’re traveling, and then laugh.

  23. Both of my parents had keen senses of humor, so this story resonated with me quite strongly.

    But it’s the opening that hooked me, because I was reminded of the first few minutes of the play ” The Complete Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged),” during which the audience is given the standard “if the cabin should lose pressure” speech.

    But in the play, the line about oxygen masks concludes with “… and if you are traveling with small children, be sure to put on your own mask first, and let the little buggers fend for themselves,” a line my wife and I always whisper to each other at the appropriate moment whenever we’re traveling, and then laugh.

  24. Rock on, Evan!! Ann, your legacy isn’t the trophies won or accolades bestowed upon your kids– anyone who follows directions can achieve– it’s knowing you’ve raised kids that can live in the real world with humor and wit, both of which require true intelligence! You’re a kick-ass mom.

  25. Rock on, Evan!! Ann, your legacy isn’t the trophies won or accolades bestowed upon your kids– anyone who follows directions can achieve– it’s knowing you’ve raised kids that can live in the real world with humor and wit, both of which require true intelligence! You’re a kick-ass mom.

  26. Hi Ann,

    Wonderful post. It reminds me of the time my brother replaced a box of tissues with old newspapers. We had a house guest at the time who went searching for a fresh box — and got quite the surprise! We laughed for a long time over that one.

    Best,
    Daria

  27. Hi Ann,

    Wonderful post. It reminds me of the time my brother replaced a box of tissues with old newspapers. We had a house guest at the time who went searching for a fresh box — and got quite the surprise! We laughed for a long time over that one.

    Best,
    Daria

  28. Mike Volpe says:

    I think this extends to company/work environments too. Some of the funnest memories of my work segment of life are related to jokes/pranks at work, rather than business accomplishments.

    At HubSpot, one of the characteristics we look for in potential employees is the ability to laugh. We work too hard not to have fun. As part of this, we play jokes (admittedly geeky) a lot. One example is the website http://www.JonahsGerms.com that we set up to mock an employee that is a bit of a germophobe.

    And we also keep an internal wiki called “HubSpot Lore & Mythology” where we keep track of funny quotes and happeninges in the company. It is a great way to keep all 60 (and growing) of us up to date on the company jokes, a good way for new employees to hear about the past jokes. Even though 18 months ago we were just 5 people, employee #60 can feel better connected to the lore of HubSpot by reading the jokes and quotes from early 2007, so it actually serves as a tool to maintain this as part of our culture.

    Thanks for making me smile and brightening up my Sunday.

  29. Mike Volpe says:

    I think this extends to company/work environments too. Some of the funnest memories of my work segment of life are related to jokes/pranks at work, rather than business accomplishments.

    At HubSpot, one of the characteristics we look for in potential employees is the ability to laugh. We work too hard not to have fun. As part of this, we play jokes (admittedly geeky) a lot. One example is the website http://www.JonahsGerms.com that we set up to mock an employee that is a bit of a germophobe.

    And we also keep an internal wiki called “HubSpot Lore & Mythology” where we keep track of funny quotes and happeninges in the company. It is a great way to keep all 60 (and growing) of us up to date on the company jokes, a good way for new employees to hear about the past jokes. Even though 18 months ago we were just 5 people, employee #60 can feel better connected to the lore of HubSpot by reading the jokes and quotes from early 2007, so it actually serves as a tool to maintain this as part of our culture.

    Thanks for making me smile and brightening up my Sunday.

  30. Mukund Mohan says:

    My kids usually do the one after you least expected followed up by another one. Its their way of asserting who are the real ones around who the world revolves. :)

  31. Mukund Mohan says:

    My kids usually do the one after you least expected followed up by another one. Its their way of asserting who are the real ones around who the world revolves. :)

  32. Zil says:

    My iced coffee almost went sputtering out of my nose as I pictured you saying what the… when seeing this. Humor is what saves us all – nice job making sure it stays alive in your house and beyond!

  33. Zil says:

    My iced coffee almost went sputtering out of my nose as I pictured you saying what the… when seeing this. Humor is what saves us all – nice job making sure it stays alive in your house and beyond!

  34. Thank you for this, Ann. I come from a family where no one ever replaced the sugar with salt or put a rubber snake in my bed and it saddens me to think of what my brothers and I missed out on. Although I started out as a “too serious” parent, I was fortuante enough to find a friend who has shown me how important it is to dye the milk blue once in a while.

    Rushing to get ready for work the other day I discovered furry yellow Spongebob slippers where my carefully chosen brown heels had been. Faint snickering drifted through the hall and down the stairs. That was a good day.

  35. Thank you for this, Ann. I come from a family where no one ever replaced the sugar with salt or put a rubber snake in my bed and it saddens me to think of what my brothers and I missed out on. Although I started out as a “too serious” parent, I was fortuante enough to find a friend who has shown me how important it is to dye the milk blue once in a while.

    Rushing to get ready for work the other day I discovered furry yellow Spongebob slippers where my carefully chosen brown heels had been. Faint snickering drifted through the hall and down the stairs. That was a good day.

  36. Roshan says:

    Lol, he is a brat that child of yours. I love a good prank and have pulled a few on my cousins & sister.

  37. Roshan says:

    Lol, he is a brat that child of yours. I love a good prank and have pulled a few on my cousins & sister.

  38. bdot says:

    Ann,

    As they say… “your mother and my mother were both mothers”. In this case our father was… well, funny WAY before baloney in your shoes made you feel funny.
    You made me feel like I was 12 all over again. “Hello Genie” wasn’t a spinoff of a t.v. sitcom in our house.

    BLUE! perfect! Can’t wait to hear about retaliation…replace all of his itune content with those show tunes, or Irish ballards?

  39. bdot says:

    Ann,

    As they say… “your mother and my mother were both mothers”. In this case our father was… well, funny WAY before baloney in your shoes made you feel funny.
    You made me feel like I was 12 all over again. “Hello Genie” wasn’t a spinoff of a t.v. sitcom in our house.

    BLUE! perfect! Can’t wait to hear about retaliation…replace all of his itune content with those show tunes, or Irish ballards?

  40. Jess Sanders says:

    Fantastic! Nothing better than a child following in his parents’ mischievious footsteps :)

  41. Jess Sanders says:

    Fantastic! Nothing better than a child following in his parents’ mischievious footsteps :)

  42. What a great homage to the goodness of finding laughter in our everyday lives. It also tells me about a boy, who feels comfortable enough, loved enough and confident enough to know he can cause chaos without risk of reprimand.

    It’s a precious thing. The ability to laugh together – or openly, harmlessly, at each other’s expense – is such a wonderful bonding experience.

  43. What a great homage to the goodness of finding laughter in our everyday lives. It also tells me about a boy, who feels comfortable enough, loved enough and confident enough to know he can cause chaos without risk of reprimand.

    It’s a precious thing. The ability to laugh together – or openly, harmlessly, at each other’s expense – is such a wonderful bonding experience.

  44. Cheryl Smith says:

    This post took me back to the day when I emptied the sugar dish and filled it with salt, in anticipation of my mom’s morning coffee. We were always playing pranks on one another.

    Today, we do similar things with our own children. My husband is the best prankster of all, recently painted the fingernails on his left hand bright pink just to see if the 8 year old daughter would notice. She and her 7 year old friend had the most infectious, contagious laugh imaginable upon their discovery at the dinner table.

    Those are the things fun, and memories are made of!

  45. Cheryl Smith says:

    This post took me back to the day when I emptied the sugar dish and filled it with salt, in anticipation of my mom’s morning coffee. We were always playing pranks on one another.

    Today, we do similar things with our own children. My husband is the best prankster of all, recently painted the fingernails on his left hand bright pink just to see if the 8 year old daughter would notice. She and her 7 year old friend had the most infectious, contagious laugh imaginable upon their discovery at the dinner table.

    Those are the things fun, and memories are made of!

  46. Scott Monty says:

    I am that father. And I’m proud to say that my 5 year-old and 2 year-old boys are already well on the road to following in the old man’s footsteps. :)

    Thanks for sharing, Ann.

  47. Scott Monty says:

    I am that father. And I’m proud to say that my 5 year-old and 2 year-old boys are already well on the road to following in the old man’s footsteps. :)

    Thanks for sharing, Ann.

  48. Ann,
    Cool and loving story. Sometimes, we take ourselves way too seriously. We all need these humility moments.

    I recently made the decision to laugh some more. Maybe PUNK some folks once in awhile, now too.
    {Thanx to your son}

    Joel Libava

  49. Joel Libava says:

    Ann,
    Cool and loving story. Sometimes, we take ourselves way too seriously. We all need these humility moments.

    I recently made the decision to laugh some more. Maybe PUNK some folks once in awhile, now too.
    {Thanx to your son}

    Joel Libava

  50. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks, all… I am heartened to know there’s so many crazy families out there (and in the case of Hubspot, COMPANIES!)

    @joel – I can give you his email address if you need some ideas. ; )

    (Plotting my revenge: watch this space….) lol.

  51. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks, all… I am heartened to know there’s so many crazy families out there (and in the case of Hubspot, COMPANIES!)

    @joel – I can give you his email address if you need some ideas. ; )

    (Plotting my revenge: watch this space….) lol.

  52. Ann,
    Thanx for the offer. {ROFL}

    Fortunately, I am devious enough on my own. I just have not exercised THAT part of ma brain yet, ma!
    Joel

  53. Joel Libava says:

    Ann,
    Thanx for the offer. {ROFL}

    Fortunately, I am devious enough on my own. I just have not exercised THAT part of ma brain yet, ma!
    Joel

  54. Katybeth says:

    Recently, I just add a Starbucks bottled coffee to my 12 year’s old son’s lunch–it was filled with chocolate milk. . .I spent forever recreating the label. Then it got better “one of those mom’s….called me with one of “those phone calls” seems my son carried the joke along with his classmates. Tell your son, he has inspired me…one day this week…the milk changes color. Thanks for lightening things up.

  55. Katybeth says:

    Recently, I just add a Starbucks bottled coffee to my 12 year’s old son’s lunch–it was filled with chocolate milk. . .I spent forever recreating the label. Then it got better “one of those mom’s….called me with one of “those phone calls” seems my son carried the joke along with his classmates. Tell your son, he has inspired me…one day this week…the milk changes color. Thanks for lightening things up.

  56. Claudia says:

    Ann,

    Once again, reading your story brings up laughter and emotion altogether.

    And it makes me wonder: am I not forgetting to leave place free for those “pranky” moments? They are so delighful, a disruption in our all-day lives, that make us stop all of a sudden and have a different look at that person. Especially when it is your child.
    And it reminds me when my second daughter was about 3, my wallet had disappeared. After having looked for it in -almost- any impossible place without success, having asked her by all means in my possession if she had an idea (!), I gave up and life went on… After 2 weeks, she came to me and told me that she suddenly remembered that it could be in her cuddy toys basket! It was. Her explanation was that she thought that if I would have no money anymore, I couldn’t buy anything to eat anymore and so she would’nt be forced, everyday, to spend “hours” (in her mind) in front of her dish!!!

    She still has this tricky, humourous mind that helps me think ouf-of-the-box.
    I am thankful to her for this and to you for sharing your special look.

  57. Claudia says:

    Ann,

    Once again, reading your story brings up laughter and emotion altogether.

    And it makes me wonder: am I not forgetting to leave place free for those “pranky” moments? They are so delighful, a disruption in our all-day lives, that make us stop all of a sudden and have a different look at that person. Especially when it is your child.
    And it reminds me when my second daughter was about 3, my wallet had disappeared. After having looked for it in -almost- any impossible place without success, having asked her by all means in my possession if she had an idea (!), I gave up and life went on… After 2 weeks, she came to me and told me that she suddenly remembered that it could be in her cuddy toys basket! It was. Her explanation was that she thought that if I would have no money anymore, I couldn’t buy anything to eat anymore and so she would’nt be forced, everyday, to spend “hours” (in her mind) in front of her dish!!!

    She still has this tricky, humourous mind that helps me think ouf-of-the-box.
    I am thankful to her for this and to you for sharing your special look.

  58. Pingback: Five in the Morning 111008 « StickyFigure

  59. Hmmm… blue milk, eh? Now that sounds like a fun household! Cherish as you do, Ann; cherish it forever! (But watch yer back…)

  60. Hmmm… blue milk, eh? Now that sounds like a fun household! Cherish as you do, Ann; cherish it forever! (But watch yer back…)

  61. Leigh Durst says:

    Classic. I love it.

    The problem in my house is that my husband, Brent, is a master prankster. If I do anything, he will retaliate with the most beautiful, ironic, cruel and humiliating prank he can. This is the kid that used to break into his high school to rearrange classrooms….who rigged an old fire alarm bell under his sister’s bed and set it off during the slumber party…. etc. Brent is the prank master… and he is COMPELLED to win, so I don’t mess with him much.

    We do, however, pull stunts on Michelle, our 17 year old from time to time. Recently, we both got ready for her first parent teacher conference at school by donning some “special” outfits.

    Brent put on a wife beater and this horrid, hot rod “flame” shirt with shorts and long socks with high tops sneakers. I put on something equally ridiculous and trailor trashy…. and we headed for the door. We pretended nothing was up as we yelled that it was time to go.

    Michelle entered — and after an initial recoil, surveyed us with suspicion. After an initial knowing smirk, she said without cracking …. “Beautiful! Let’s go!” and headed out the door. Brent and I were left staring at each other, knowing we would NOT be seen dead in the outfits…sheepishly went downstairs to change while Michelle waited for us, smugly.

    That’s our girl!

  62. Leigh Durst says:

    Classic. I love it.

    The problem in my house is that my husband, Brent, is a master prankster. If I do anything, he will retaliate with the most beautiful, ironic, cruel and humiliating prank he can. This is the kid that used to break into his high school to rearrange classrooms….who rigged an old fire alarm bell under his sister’s bed and set it off during the slumber party…. etc. Brent is the prank master… and he is COMPELLED to win, so I don’t mess with him much.

    We do, however, pull stunts on Michelle, our 17 year old from time to time. Recently, we both got ready for her first parent teacher conference at school by donning some “special” outfits.

    Brent put on a wife beater and this horrid, hot rod “flame” shirt with shorts and long socks with high tops sneakers. I put on something equally ridiculous and trailor trashy…. and we headed for the door. We pretended nothing was up as we yelled that it was time to go.

    Michelle entered — and after an initial recoil, surveyed us with suspicion. After an initial knowing smirk, she said without cracking …. “Beautiful! Let’s go!” and headed out the door. Brent and I were left staring at each other, knowing we would NOT be seen dead in the outfits…sheepishly went downstairs to change while Michelle waited for us, smugly.

    That’s our girl!

  63. Karen Swim says:

    Ann, this story wrapped itself around my heart and made me smile. I grew up an only child and often imagined the playful teasing of brothers and sisters. What a great family and what a joy that the tradition live on! Big props to your son for giving you a blue Monday. :-)

  64. Karen Swim says:

    Ann, this story wrapped itself around my heart and made me smile. I grew up an only child and often imagined the playful teasing of brothers and sisters. What a great family and what a joy that the tradition live on! Big props to your son for giving you a blue Monday. :-)

  65. Karen Swim says:

    Oops, I guess that was blue Friday. :-)

  66. Karen Swim says:

    Oops, I guess that was blue Friday. :-)

  67. Annie Too says:

    Fish head in the shoe is always fun retaliation… a bit smelly, but works none the less!

    Don’t let BDot fool you… he’s a jumpy critter!

    LOL!

  68. Annie Too says:

    Fish head in the shoe is always fun retaliation… a bit smelly, but works none the less!

    Don’t let BDot fool you… he’s a jumpy critter!

    LOL!

  69. Having grown up in a prank-free zone, I’m not sure whether to be jealous or relieved…

  70. Having grown up in a prank-free zone, I’m not sure whether to be jealous or relieved…

  71. I mostly lived in a prank-free zone too, but I do remember one time at Christmas, the year after I’d gotten my drivers license, my family was laying the foundation for buying me a car. Christmas morning I get a box with a picture of a BMW in it and everyone telling me to go see what’s in the garage. There I found a Matchbox car, with a spotlight on it. Nice touch. Everyone was cracking up, except me of course – but at least I got to say I got a BMW for Christmas.:)

  72. I mostly lived in a prank-free zone too, but I do remember one time at Christmas, the year after I’d gotten my drivers license, my family was laying the foundation for buying me a car. Christmas morning I get a box with a picture of a BMW in it and everyone telling me to go see what’s in the garage. There I found a Matchbox car, with a spotlight on it. Nice touch. Everyone was cracking up, except me of course – but at least I got to say I got a BMW for Christmas.:)

  73. Connie says:

    Christmas 1970, my mom gave my sister a faux pearl tie. They were all the rage, but sis hated it & never wore it. Mom wrapped it up again the following Christmas … and every Christmas since then. Every year we eagerly anticipate the unwrapping of the pearl tie. I even have a You Tube video. Great memories.

  74. Connie says:

    Christmas 1970, my mom gave my sister a faux pearl tie. They were all the rage, but sis hated it & never wore it. Mom wrapped it up again the following Christmas … and every Christmas since then. Every year we eagerly anticipate the unwrapping of the pearl tie. I even have a You Tube video. Great memories.

  75. Every now and then, as we were leaving my grandparents home, my grandfather would say, if you’re going tomorrow, be on the porch at 5. I’m not waiting. He wouldn’t say another word. We never knew if he was joking and would be home, sound asleep at 5 or pulling to our curb. If we were going somewhere – for how long? A day? A week? Camping? Fishing? We never knew in advance, but were on that porch by 5 everytime – usually with a suitcase full of clothes that weren’t needed for one-day fishing trip. We learn to be prepared.

  76. Every now and then, as we were leaving my grandparents home, my grandfather would say, if you’re going tomorrow, be on the porch at 5. I’m not waiting. He wouldn’t say another word. We never knew if he was joking and would be home, sound asleep at 5 or pulling to our curb. If we were going somewhere – for how long? A day? A week? Camping? Fishing? We never knew in advance, but were on that porch by 5 everytime – usually with a suitcase full of clothes that weren’t needed for one-day fishing trip. We learn to be prepared.

  77. @TheGirlPie says:

    A great story, well told. Pranks are big in a certain echelon of my industry, and get get costly and out of hand. But the little ones my wrong-side-of-the-tracks dad played on his three little roughnecks and his uptown bride make great memories. Thanks for the reminder to keep play alive in a home… we’re all kids inside.

    PS: glad I saw this your tweet, didn’t know you had this blog, cool!

  78. GirlPie says:

    A great story, well told. Pranks are big in a certain echelon of my industry, and get get costly and out of hand. But the little ones my wrong-side-of-the-tracks dad played on his three little roughnecks and his uptown bride make great memories. Thanks for the reminder to keep play alive in a home… we’re all kids inside.

    PS: glad I saw this your tweet, didn’t know you had this blog, cool!

  79. picsbro says:

    Does this mean Marc-Antoine Audette and Sebastien Trudel (aka Nicolas Sarkozy) were trying to tell Sarah Palin they love her?

    Great story!

  80. picsbro says:

    Does this mean Marc-Antoine Audette and Sebastien Trudel (aka Nicolas Sarkozy) were trying to tell Sarah Palin they love her?

    Great story!

  81. Great story. My own memories come flooding back. I grew up with 3 older sisters and a younger brother so it was usually boys vs. girls for pranks. They were more clever and always thought of something that left us running through the house screaming in fear. That is, until we heard their devilish laughter. My own children are definitely keeping the tradition alive. You wouldn’t believe the things that have made their way into my shoes, briefcase or suit pockets on days when I have an important meeting. I’ll be smiling the rest of the day. Thanks.

  82. Great story. My own memories come flooding back. I grew up with 3 older sisters and a younger brother so it was usually boys vs. girls for pranks. They were more clever and always thought of something that left us running through the house screaming in fear. That is, until we heard their devilish laughter. My own children are definitely keeping the tradition alive. You wouldn’t believe the things that have made their way into my shoes, briefcase or suit pockets on days when I have an important meeting. I’ll be smiling the rest of the day. Thanks.

  83. Julie Roads says:

    Too bad no one hear enjoys your writing and bothers to leave you comments!!!
    So, my first question is: did you drink it anyway.
    I come from a family that doesn’t prank much…but I married into one that does so mercilessly…not to mention the teasing. I’m more like you somewhere between childhood and adolescence – scared shitless and quite irritated. But this post was so commanding of the heart part of the punk – I might just change my ‘tude.

  84. Julie Roads says:

    Too bad no one hear enjoys your writing and bothers to leave you comments!!!
    So, my first question is: did you drink it anyway.
    I come from a family that doesn’t prank much…but I married into one that does so mercilessly…not to mention the teasing. I’m more like you somewhere between childhood and adolescence – scared shitless and quite irritated. But this post was so commanding of the heart part of the punk – I might just change my ‘tude.

  85. So, I wonder, has your boy learned about your family history of pranksterhood, or is it just in the genes? Does he just maybe have a does of his grandpa in there? I bet that’s part of what made it touch your heart in the wee hours…lovely story. Thanks for sharing.

  86. So, I wonder, has your boy learned about your family history of pranksterhood, or is it just in the genes? Does he just maybe have a does of his grandpa in there? I bet that’s part of what made it touch your heart in the wee hours…lovely story. Thanks for sharing.

  87. Lisa Mac says:

    <3 and :)

  88. Lisa Mac says:

    <3 and :)

  89. Kristal says:

    What a great story. That just made my day.

  90. Kristal says:

    What a great story. That just made my day.

  91. Fun post, Handley.

    I have an almost 5 year old set of twins and they have learned that sarcasm is a part of life. I have convinced myself this will make them better adults, but alas — perhaps I am damaging for life. Sorry kids.

  92. Fun post, Handley.

    I have an almost 5 year old set of twins and they have learned that sarcasm is a part of life. I have convinced myself this will make them better adults, but alas — perhaps I am damaging for life. Sorry kids.

  93. Ann Handley says:

    @Julie: Yes, drank it anyway. Was a little weird in cereal, but not if I closed my eyes.

    @pettyvices: I suspect it’s in the genes. He & I have the exact same sense of humor, which is sometimes irritating to others, even occasionally to me. ; )

  94. Ann Handley says:

    @Julie: Yes, drank it anyway. Was a little weird in cereal, but not if I closed my eyes.

    @pettyvices: I suspect it’s in the genes. He & I have the exact same sense of humor, which is sometimes irritating to others, even occasionally to me. ; )

  95. Judy says:

    Loved it. A nice escape from work. Thanks. Ps did you check your stash of booze? Mess with my milk, sure, I’m humbled, but mess with my vodka…actually, yeah, I would drink it anyway.

  96. Judy says:

    Loved it. A nice escape from work. Thanks. Ps did you check your stash of booze? Mess with my milk, sure, I’m humbled, but mess with my vodka…actually, yeah, I would drink it anyway.

  97. Julia says:

    This made me chuckle. I hope some day my youngsters will play these types of tricks on me. Perhaps you can give us prank ideas for the near future :)

  98. Julia says:

    This made me chuckle. I hope some day my youngsters will play these types of tricks on me. Perhaps you can give us prank ideas for the near future :)

  99. I hadn’t had a chance to read this until today and now I think I know why — fate was preventing me from reading it until I needed the message. Thanks again Ann for a good laugh and a healthy dose of perspective.

  100. I hadn’t had a chance to read this until today and now I think I know why — fate was preventing me from reading it until I needed the message. Thanks again Ann for a good laugh and a healthy dose of perspective.

  101. Janet Petrine says:

    Ann,
    Excellent post from an excellent writer. What else do you write? Hopefully something, fiction, journalism, screenwriter. If you don’t–you must.
    J

  102. Janet Petrine says:

    Ann,
    Excellent post from an excellent writer. What else do you write? Hopefully something, fiction, journalism, screenwriter. If you don’t–you must.
    J

  103. Oh my gosh– it is all so true about the Wii– please check out with http://www.wiihaveaproblem.com for the latest Wii damage inflicted on bodies and properties alike– a cautionary tale site Ev must see!!

  104. Oh my gosh– it is all so true about the Wii– please check out with http://www.wiihaveaproblem.com for the latest Wii damage inflicted on bodies and properties alike– a cautionary tale site Ev must see!!

  105. We had a lot of laughter in our household, too. I'm grateful for it, and try to recreate the craziness at my house. gucciwell.com My daughter is already fitfully aware of sarcasm and also the fact that more than half of what I tell her isn't exactly true. My son? He's more up for the physical humor.

  106. Ann Handley (left) and CC Chapman discuss their book, “Content Rules” at HarborOne U in Mansfield. By Anonymous Content gets you customers was the message from social media experts CC Chapman and Ann Handley Feb. 17 at HarborOne U. Chapman and Handley, …

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