Jokus Practicalicus (Part II)
Jokes where stories imitate jokes.
. . . previously on Jokus Practicalicus, Jonas was saved from Joe’s brutal behavior by his teacher Miss Anderson, while another teacher’s belongings fell out her desk drawer – LOL, LMAO, LMFAO, HAHAHA. Mortimer played a trick on his friend, who ended up in the police station!!
Another gag which flirted with placement into the ‘Exceptional’ category, occurred when a group of high-school graduates travelled to a nearby city to try their luck in applying for summer work with a construction crew. The four boys – Jerry, Will, Morris and Danny – set out one Friday morning in Jerry’s 1951 Pontiac. They reached the city by about 10:00 am. Jerry figured that they should go and visit a girl friend of his before they went to the Construction Company’s office. The rest of the guys thought that Jerry’s car was a bit too much of a ‘clunker’ to impress any girl, so everyone agreed that it would be better for Jerry to go to his uncle’s place first, and trade cars with him. His uncle had a nice late-model, four-door sedan. It would look nicer and it would be easier to drive in the city, since it had an automatic transmission. The trade was finally made after some pretty serious bartering and bantering between Jerry and his uncle. By this time, the early part of the afternoon had all but slipped away. And by the time the boys had gone to see Jerry’s girl friend, the business part of the day was pretty much gone as well. They decided that the appointment with the construction company would have to wait for another day and, that it would be more relaxing just to ‘cruise’ around the city until the time they had to bring Jerry’s uncle’s car back. They had a wonderful time driving around in a nice car, with a cute girl along to boot. Finally, the time came for Jerry’s girl to be taken home, so Jerry drove back to her neighbourhood. When they got close to her house, the car passed over a depression in the street where a manhole cover had been improperly placed. When the car hit the depression, it bounced and made a resounding ‘clunk’. Being worried about his uncle’s car, Jerry pulled over and stopped. The girl friend said her ‘goodbyes’ and walked the rest of the way home, not wanting to wait, in case of car trouble. Everybody got out and looked under the car and under the hood. While they looked under the car, Will happened to notice the cap off of a thermos bottle laying on the street. He picked it up and showed it to Morris and Danny. The three decided to play a trick on Jerry. Will directed the other two to follow his lead as he showed Jerry what he had found.
“Whoa! Jerry – I think you may have a problem here. I found this beside your uncle’s car,” holding the thermos bottle cap in his outstretched hand.
“What is it?” asked Jerry.
Now, it is important to keep in mind, at this point, that Jerry knew next to nothing about cars, which was just slightly less than the other three boys knew themselves.
Will went on in a most convincing tone, “It’s your transmission plug.”
“It must have fallen out of the transmission housing when we hit that bump,” added Morris.
Danny chimed in at this point, “You’re probably going to lose a lot of tranny fluid.”
Will was beside himself, evaluating the volume and quality of the apparent mechanical knowledge that Danny and Morris seemed to possess. They were playing this gag even better than he could have expected.
“What should I do?” Jerry asked with a slightly panic-stricken voice.
At this point, Will concluded that, “I think everything will be okay if you don’t drive faster than 10 mph.”
Now, the boys were on the exact other side of the city from Jerry’s uncle’s place, so the ride back was probably going to take a good deal of time to complete. The boys kept an eye on Jerry’s speed as he drove back to the other side of the city. Trying to keep the car from going too fast, Jerry would pull over occasionally to let other drivers go past. Some of them honked their horns in frustration as they followed Jerry’s meandering pace through the city. Others shook their fists as they whizzed by him. All the while, Will, Danny and Morris could barely contain themselves as each minute of the trip brought on another mini-incident that reduced Jerry to a near emotional melt-down.
At one point, Will looked at the other two guys and mouthed silently, “Should we tell him what’s really going on?”
“Let’s just let it go a minute or two longer,” the two of them begged.
And then, before anyone was prepared for it, they pulled into Jerry’s uncle’s driveway. And, before Will or Morris or Danny could tell Jerry the truth about what was really going on, Jerry shut off the car, opened his door, jumped out and ran into his uncle’s house. The next thing they knew, Jerry’s uncle was bursting out of the front door with a very troublesome look on his face. As he walked by the car, he glared at the three guys still sitting inside. His body then seemed to dive under the car.
Morris and Danny looked at Will in the front seat, “Your joke!! You tell him.”
“Oh shit,” said Will, “I can’t tell him now. If Jerry doesn’t kill me then his uncle will. Did you see the way he looked at us when he walked by the car? I’m not fuckin’ telling him. Why don’t you tell him?”
And so the conversation in the car continued. And, as it continued, the conversation outside of the car also continued. But, the problem was that the conversation outside the car escalated from the premise that the thermos bottle cap was actually a vital fixture of the car, while the discussion inside the car was based on the fact that the cap was indeed a fake, and all three boys would be heinously dismembered by Jerry’s uncle if they should ever tell the truth about it. The conference inside the car finally arrested with the notion that it would be best if all three boys just pleaded ignorance to claim that they honestly believed the thermos bottle cap actually was a transmission plug and that they were just trying to help to make sure that no further damage happened to the car. Unfortunately, Jerry’s uncle was not much more well-versed with the finer points of auto mechanics than was his nephew. So, the meeting of non-mechanical minds outside the car concluded with the notion that the car should be taken immediately to a licensed mechanic who happened to be a friend of Jerry’s uncle, who surely would not mind being called into work after hours on his day off when he finally had a chance to spend some quality time with his wife and children.
Will, Morris and Danny, for the 27th time in the last five minutes, silently mouthed to each other, “Oh Fuck!!!”
The boys probably had one last chance to stop the bleeding before uncle, with thermos bottle cap in hand, backed the car out of his driveway and journeyed toward the service station. But, that didn’t happen. They each reflected instead on the short duration of time which had been their pathetic lives. Jerry sat in the front seat with his uncle and the two of them carried on a conversation about the fact that the car seemed to be “running remarkably well, considering it was missing a key component like the transmission plug.” Jerry was also vigilant in making sure that his uncle did not drive over a speed of 10 mph. The three in the back seat were unfortunately not able to appreciate the beauty of those moments. Had they been able to set aside the fact that their lives were about to end in a truly tragic manner, they would have realized that this practical joke was probably the best one they would ever, in their lives, have the privilege of witnessing first hand. Ah, such is humor! As a famous man once said, “Comedy is not pretty!”
The mechanic friend was waiting for the troupe when they arrived at the service center. He had already opened the overhead service-bay door. He signaled the car in and raised his hand to stop it in the right spot over the hoist mechanism. Everyone got out of the car. The three pranksters cowered in one corner of the repair area while Jerry and his uncle presented the mechanic with the thermos-bottle cap. If you can imagine the look on someone’s face who might be trying to understand the language of say, a space alien, for the first time, you will then be able to picture a similar visage of puzzlement adorning the mechanic’s face when he examined the thermos-bottle cap while being simultaneously informed by Jerry’s uncle that it was the transmission plug for this car. Whoa! The three boys cringed a little deeper into the background. Fortunately, the mechanic was a latent jokester himself.
He snapped out of his bewilderment and replied, “well, doesn’t appear to be, but let’s take a look-see.”
The mechanic flicked a wall switch and the car levitated from the oil-stained concrete. Once high enough for him to walk underneath, he held the thermos-bottle cap up to the transmission housing under the car and wiggled it around a little. Then he looked over at the three boys huddled in terror and, in their direction and, out of sight of Jerry and his uncle, he . . . winked!
The three boys straightened into a more-human posture and looked at each other as if they had just been pardoned from death-row by the prison warden.
“What the fuck?” they murmured.
The mechanic then turned back to Jerry’s uncle and explained, “this cap must be off another model. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to fit on yours. Everything looks okay. I don’t think you’ll have any problems with her tonight.”
And that was it. They all drove back to Jerry’s uncle’s house. They exchanged vehicles. The four boys drove home in silence mostly. Jerry was breathing a sigh of relief. The other three boys, Will especially, beamed like cats on the threshold of their next life. Their practical joke ended up working out after all. A joke that could have gone bad was salvaged by a guy they didn’t even know. They would one-day explain it to Jerry, and perhaps his uncle and maybe even compare notes with the auto-mechanic, but for now they were content to bask in the glory of it, all by themselves. They were overcome by gratitude for having come across another practical joker, just like themselves, in a time of need. That mechanic will forever be their hero – a legend to be admired.
Every morning, about 9:00, a group of local farmer’s and shop-owners would meet at one of the downtown cafes. They had all played on the same senior hockey team in previous lives and seasons. They were all good friends. Now as it happens with good friends, there is always copious amounts of kidding-around and arguments. Side-betting on sports or elections or daily occurrences will often be one of the manifestations of close friendships. There were six main players in this particular daily coffee-row group and they were no different than any other bunch of middle-aged men who have an extra hour of time on their hands every morning. Several of the guys liked to play the lotteries and they would buy tickets through the week and then check out the winning numbers while perusing the Monday Morning paper with their friends. Week after week, the guys would go through the ritual of looking at their tickets while one of the members would read the winning numbers from the paper. Nobody ever won much of anything. One time though, George won $1000, so he had to go to the lottery office in Winnipeg to pick up the prize money. Apparently any winnings, $1000 or over had to be administered by the head office. Anything less than that and a ticket vendor could just deal out the prize.
So, it happens that George, who now was kind of an expert on how to pick winning numbers in the lotteries and also on how to get to the Office of the Lotteries in the city to claim a big prize, decided that he would play a trick on a few of his buddies from his coffee group. What he did was ingenious and most certainly deserves to be honored in the Gags & Tricks HOF.
Since the group members never got together on Saturday or Sunday mornings, they did not always see each other in between their get-togethers on Friday and their meetings on Monday morning when they checked out the winning lottery tickets. The lottery draws always occurred on Friday and Saturday evenings. Sunday was the first day of the new lottery ticket cycle. George, being a crafty type, decided that he would wait until Saturday evening and see what the winning numbers were for the previous week. Once they were announced - 9, 11, 21, 23, 24, 27, 34 – he went down to the Red Rooster convenience store and bought a ticket for the upcoming week. The numbers he selected were the same as the winning numbers for the previous week - 9, 11, 21, 23, 24, 27, 34. One might think that his selection of numbers was not a wise one because the odds of those same numbers being chosen again would be pretty slim. Actually, the probability of the same numbers being chosen two weeks in a row is the same for the first week as for the second week according to the Law of Independent Assortment. Anyway, that was not the point. The point was that he was going to use the new ticket in the café on Monday morning when it came time for him and his friends to check the winning numbers from the previous week. He was pretty certain that none of his friends would be observant enough to notice the date on the bottom of the ticket. And, as it turned out, he was correct in his assumption.
So, Monday morning rolled around and George met up with his other five friends in the café. One of the guys picked up the Monday paper. After a cup of coffee or two, Ted started to get antsy about checking the lottery numbers. There had been no prize winners for a couple of weeks so the pay-out was about $20 million. Bill flipped the paper open to the page where the lottery winners were announced and hollered at the rest of the group to get their tickets out, because he was going to start reading the numbers out loud and everyone needed to start checking. They all got their tickets ready. George took out his ticket, knowing that his numbers matched perfectly with what Bill was going to end up reading from the paper.
Bill started to read, “nine – anybody got that one?”
George, Bill and Frank all had that number. Bill continued, “eleven – anybody?”
George was the only one to answer, “Yep, I got that one too.”
Bill called out the next number, “twenty-one, just like my age.”
“More like your IQ,” Ted laughed.
Then they all laughed before Bill inquired as to everyone’s luck on that number. The group became a little more silent when George dryly noted that he had selected that number as well.
“Wow,” exclaimed Pete, “that means you’ve probably won your ticket price back anyway. Keep going. This is getting good.”
Bill continued, “twenty-three – George, you got that one too?
George replied, “Well, as a matter of fact . . . yes, I do have 23.”
The guys in the group all started to move around a bit, to get a closer look at George’s ticket.
Bill looked a George and stated, “George, why don’t you tell everybody what you hope the next number to be.”
George looked around the table, and then looked down at his ticket, “I hope the next number is a twenty-four.”
“No fuckin’ way,” Bill hooted, “are you serious? You seriously don’t have a 24 on that ticket do you?”
“Yeh, I do,” showing his lottery voucher around to the other guys who now waited anxiously around the table.
Bill, growing a little more serious, edged forward and a little closer to George sitting across the table from him, and with a deep breath, whispered, “Please tell me that your last number is Darryl Sittler’s uniform number.”
George, not being a big sports fan, answered, “Well if his number is twenty-seven, then yeh, that’s what I’ve got.”
At that point the table burst into a wild display of juvenile middle-agedness. Everyone was high-fiving and whistling. Bill called to the server for a round of tequila for the table and then he called again to change the order to ‘a round for the house’.
“Jeez Bill, this is a café. They don’t serve tequila. And, besides, it’s 9:30 on a Monday morning for cripes sake!” admonished Pete.
“Isn’t there still a bonus number in there somewhere Bill?”, asked George.
Bill settled slightly, “Oh yeh, I almost forgot. OK, drum roll please . . . and, for the grand prize of a cool $20 million . . . the bonus number is . . .”
“Thirty-four!” shouted Bill and George together.
And the crowd went wild. By this time, everyone in the café was in on the joy and frivolity of the occasion. It was pretty much certain that even everyone in the whole town knew that George (allegedly) was holding a lottery ticket that was going to end up netting him millions of dollars.
Unable to hold in his joy (of pulling off this wonderful practical joke) any longer, George rose up from the table and told the others he had to go home and tell the good news to his wife. His friends gave him hugs and high-fives as he left. The laughter and excitement continued for some time after George left the café. When the rest of the fellows got up to leave, one of them noticed something on the floor by the door. On closer inspection, Bill saw that it was George’s winning lottery ticket. One of the fellows offered to get it back to him right away so that he didn’t have a heart attack thinking that he had lost it. A couple of the other guys agreed. But, Bill being a fun-loving, prankster himself, thought that another plan of action might be a little more suitable for the occasion.
Now, at this point, let us journey two blocks east of the café, to George’s house, where he is joyfully telling his wife about the false ticket and how his friends thought he had won $20 million and how they hadn’t noticed the REAL date on the ticket and how . . . and how . . . he had purposely let the ticket fall on the floor in the café as he was leaving so that one or more of his friends would find it. He knew his friends, and he knew that they would do something to prolong this wonderful practical joke of his.
Meanwhile back at the café, Bill and the four others in the group were only moments away from hopping into Bill’s mini-van for their impromptu trip to the Lottery Office in Winnipeg to cash in George’s winning lottery ticket. If they left right away, they could be back either late that night or early the next day to surprise George with his cash. They all agreed that it would be fun to let George stew a little while he looked all over God’s green earth to find his lost ticket. But they knew deep down inside that he would be so much happier when they got back with his cheque for $20 million. And, little did these five guys know how absolutely delighted George would be when they returned from their long, long journey to Winnipeg, to tell him all about their trip to the Lottery Office. (and all about their trip back from the Lottery Office as well)
I don’t know how familiar any of my readers may be with the procedures and protocols that are followed at the Lottery Offices located in various regions of North America, but one of the first (if not the first) things the officials check for on a potential winning ticket . . . is the DATE. And, thus the joke moved forward to it's next level of excellence.
To be continued . . . hopefully! Anyway, stay tuned to VOCAL to find out for sure!
About the author
Baby, son, brother, child, student, collector, farmer, photographer, player, uncle, coach, husband, student, writer, teacher, father, science guy, fan, coach, grandfather, comedian, traveler, chef, story-teller, driver, regular guy!!