My dad, the jokester extraordinaire…


By Bill Derby

My dad, Russ, loved to play practical jokes mostly on his family. Sometimes he inspired me to help him complete his nefarious deeds.

Once he brought home, for use of a better word, a vomit pad. It was a rubber material molded in the form of some unlucky and sickly soul’s stomach remains. It looked very real with a few corn pieces, potatoes and whatnot fluid. It would even make you sick looking at it.

He suggested I wait until after the family’s evening meal and he would put the vomit pad on mom’s white living room carpet. After mom finished the dishes I was to make a terrible groaning sound completed with the blaah… throw-up sound effects.

With a slight giggle here and there he eagerly waited in the den watching mom finish up. As she finished, he motioned to me to start the illness process which I did, overplaying the barf, barf sound.

Sure as a mother’s instincts are, she rushed to protect her offspring running into the living room to take care of her ill son. I had to turn my head and bury it in the couch to keep from laughing. Mom went into immediate action to clean up the residue on her beautiful white wool, wall to wall carpet.

“Hurry Russell, get a wet dish towel. This will stain my carpet. Dad slowly walked into the kitchen giggling.”

Mom yelled, “What are you laughing for?”

By then, as she heard my muffled snickering she knew something was up and that she had been tricked again.

She exclaimed to us both, “Don’t you ever, ever do something like this again or you won’t eat for a week.”

Dad suggested I take the vomit pad to school and see if I can get a reaction. I did and it did.

Ms. Sparks, our sixth grade English teacher who was having trouble with her sight, was on duty at the school cafeteria that day.

After we had gone through the line for lunch, I placed the vomit pad on top of one of our new folding cafeteria tables. I just wanted to scare some of the girls to see what they thought but Ms. Sparks happened to walk by our table.

She looked down at the vomit pad and quickly turned her head away like she did not see what she just thought she saw. She just kept walking. My partners in crime, Chuck and Carl and the rest of our table, hee-hawed.  When Ms. Sparks walked by again hearing our laughter, she noticed the results of a student’s regurgitation had mysteriously been quickly cleaned up, actually put back into my pocket.   All was well or so it seemed with Ms. Sparks for the rest of the day. I was following in my dad’s footsteps and I was sure he would be proud.

Dad always liked something to do with human digestion for some reason. He owned many a whoppee cushion. Once he brought home a LP record of the world famous wind-breaking championship that pits champion, Lord Windesmere from Whopping Foghole, England against his cabbage-loving challenger, Paul Boomer. I think those things are funny. Judy, my wife, does not think so one bit.

But that’s a story for another day.


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