In the 1980s I had a buddy who worked for a Mega Pop-Star. Being on the road for long stretches of time can be fun, but it also can get pretty monotonous and dull. It is not at all uncommon to play pranks and pull practical jokes just to entertain yourself. This is a story Charlie told me about his time on the road and let it serve as a warning: Think Before You Prank.
Charlie was one of the biggest cut-ups you’d ever want to meet. He was in charge of transportation on this tour. He’d just arrived in Los Angeles and checked into his room–the prestigious and well-appointed Westwood Marquis. Charlie decides to kick back on the bed to watch a little t.v. He’s leaning a little on the nightstand next to the bed, watching the tube when Bill walks in. Bill is an older southern black man and the Head of Security for the Mega-Star. As Bill walks into the room, Charlie decides to have a little fun with him. Charlie speaks at the television and says “T.V. Off.” And the television shuts down. Well, old Bill is amazed and asks what’s going on. “Oh, this is one of those new voice-activated Sony televisions,” Charlie says with a straight face. Now Bill, not being remotely technology-minded, says “No kidding?”
“Go on, try it,” Charlie encourages him and Bill faces the t.v. and says with his southern drawl “t.v. On” and the set comes to life. “See,” Charlie says. “Try it again.” Bill loudly says “t.v. Off” and the idiot box shuts off.
Bill is so thrilled by this, he runs out of the room, and comes back with the Mega-Star and his brother in tow. “You’re never gonna believe this,” he says excitedly to Bubba and his brother. He walks up to the t.v. and says “t.v. On.” Nothing happens. He’s puzzled, but persistent. “T.V. ON!!” he says loudly. Still nothing. Bubba and his brother look at Charlie, and he has tears running down his face from trying not to laugh. He finally busts out laughing.
“Bill, you’re a fool,” Bubba’s brother says, turning to go. “You’re a fool,” Bubba repeats in his high little voice and they both leave. Poor old Bill looks at Charlie, who’s still laughing. “It was a joke,” he tells Bill and shows him how the remote control is attached to the nightstand. Bill nods a little, smiles a little, says goodnight and leaves.
The next day, Charlie is told to pack his bags. He’s been informed that his services are no longer needed on the tour. He’s really down in the mouth–this was a lucrative gig and he doesn’t know what’s up. In the midst of his packing and loading up his gear, Bill walks by the room. He pokes his head in and says “Hey Charlie, how do you like my joke?”
Moral of the Story: If you’re going to pull a prank, you might think twice about pulling it on the man who’s above you in the food chain and you better think three times about making him look the fool in front of his boss!