Ask Dayton 78 – Prank, Jokes, and Other Serious Shit
My brother and I have this thing where we pull practical jokes, pranks, and just otherwise try to punk one another. Of course, one prank deserves another, and escalation is a given. Have you ever participated in this time honored tradition? If so, can you share with us some of your greatest pranks, practical jokes, or punks that you have pulled? Were any of these directed at Kevin? And, if not, what prank you would just love to pull on someone?
Practical jokes? Well, I suppose my ultimate masterpiece was the one I pulled on Simon and Schuster, by convincing them that the random groupings of disparate words and phrases I had assembled, along with whatever transcribed gruntings and incomprehensible gibberish as tends to fall from my mouth when I’m in the grips of a vodka-induced stupor, not only were worth giving me money, but also of such quality that they should be packaged for sale to the masses. We’re in the fifteenth year of this little prank—nay, “continuing experiment”—and so far no one seems to have caught on. I’ve only got four more payments before that Hummer stretch limo with its hot tub and stripper pole is all mine, and I figure I can knock them out with my next book contract.
So, let’s just keep all of that shit our little secret for the time being, okay?
Aside from that, I have indeed been party over the years to my share of practical jokes, pranks, shreks, or whatever else you might want to call them. Military life all but demanded that we found some way to fuck with our buddies from time to time, whether that meant replacing the filters in their gas masks with Kleenex when you knew your instructors were going to toss gas grenades during the twenty-mile hike, throwing bug juice powder into the water reservoir for the field shower (grape flavored, for those wondering), or swapping out all of the white boxer shorts in my roommate’s wall locker with satin G-strings from Spencer Gifts just before our favorite NCOIC showed up to conduct her last barracks inspection before retiring.
Gags were pretty common around the office, too. New, young Marines with no experience beyond boot camp and their initial specialty school often were the targets of varying degrees of teasing, and sending them on all manner of fool’s errands in search of nonexistent items was a popular pastime. Need a can of windage, a Squeegee sharpener, a box of grid squares or a hundred yards of flight line? Dispatch a young private into the wilderness. Unable to find a stack of the always-vital ID-10-T cards? Launch a runner to the admin office.
Wait…what’s an ID-10-T? Write it down or type it out. I’ll wait.
We good? Okay, then.
I sometimes got higher-ups, too. Once, after trying to deal with some asshole numbskull who got paid a lot more than I did and yet didn’t seem to grasp some rather simple mainframe data storage techniques for compressing numeric data, I wrote a piece of computer job code for a nonexistent IBM software utility to “decompress” the data for him. I faxed it to him….and never heard from that asshole ever again.
Then, I decided to see what would happen if I coded it and executed it on our own mainframe.
When the job inevitably failed, I called up the systems department and asked why this utility wasn’t in the library for our use. I expected them to dork with it for a minute or two before somebody called back to tell me what a shifty dick I was. When more than an hour passed, I forgot about the whole thing, until the officer in charge of the systems shop showed up in my office. Turns out the systems guy I’d called to report the “problem” had called IBM for technical support, and they’d all spent at least some of that hour yelling back and forth about how this utility had to exist! “No it didn’t!” “Bullshit!” “You’re bullshit!” “Kiss my ass!” “Kiss mine!” “FUCK YOU!” Then, the officer in charge smacked everybody around and showed them how they’d been punk’d. To his credit, he was laughing his ass off when he came to find me. Heh.
One of my all-time favorite gags took place on April Fool’s Day, 2005, when I was one of several Star Trek authors to participate in a mass-pranking of our beloved editor at Pocket Books, Marco Palmieri. We all had drafted proposals for what under normal circumstances might ultimately evolve into Star Trek novels, which we then simultaneously submitted to Marco on April 1st. However, each of these proposals described scenarios for pornographic Star Trek adventures, featuring such titles as “Jake Sisko and His Self-Sealing Stem Bolt,” “Temporgasm,” or “It’s My Party and I’ll Fuck If I Want To.” For mine, I offered up a murder mystery which took place at the wedding of Will Riker and Deanna Troi, and called it “Naked Came the Betazoid.” As conveyed to us by our victim, he did not, in fact, immediately surmise that he was being screwed with, but he took it all in great stride.
(Note: Professionals On Closed Course. Do Not Attempt This Shit At Home.)
So, there you go. I have been and still can be a sneaky little fuckwad from time to time, and that’s not to say I haven’t on occasion been a victim of similar chicanery. After all, there was this one time I got enticed to answer questions for a weekly internet radio show, with promises of fame, money, girls and booze to be showered upon me as thanks for my time and effort.
I’m not sure, but I think I may have been pimped on that deal.
But, wait. There’s more.
He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.