Thursday, June 26, 2008

I didn't write the book yet, but I read it

Title: The Pocket Guide to Mischief
Author: Bart King
Bookmark: the gift receipt

I was delighted to receive this book in the mail, but also immediately puzzled. Why would someone who knows me well enough to realize that I’d love this book doubt that knowledge enough to include a gift receipt (unless they suspected that I already owned it?)? When I posed the same question to Elizabeth, she had a different angle: why would somebody who knew me so well even think that I needed such a book? “It’s like giving a book on microbiology to Louis Pasteur—he wrote the book!” I’m paraphrasing here, to give her a cooler line than whatever she said and I forgot, but that was the gist of it.

Granted, the book is aimed at a younger audience than me, and some of the Mischief detailed in its pages is tame, or older than the hills (at least old enough to be forgotten by the generation between that which invented it and that at which the book is aimed), but give the guy some credit; in his free time, Bart King is a middle school teacher. He may have to someday reap what he has sown, so he has to be a little careful. Besides, there’s still a lot of fascinating stuff, like Mischief of the Rich and Famous, including jokes played by celebrities as diverse as George Clooney and one of Genghis Khan’s conquests. Including when these pranks drastically backfired (moral: don’t play a prank on Genghis Khan).

Since I read the bulk of this book on planes, I’ve decided, as a bit of an homage, to give a watch-pocket-sized guide to mischief: Air Travel Edition. I’ve spent a lot of time on planes in the past two months, and I’ve given this great thought, even before starting the book.

  1. The easiest thing to do (and least likely to get you on a No-Fly list) is make sure other people see you reading this book. Don’t bother hiding the cover, and make sure they can see the title. For the more neurotic people around you, the mere possibility of mischief is enough to get them all worked up without you having to do anything at all. To ensure they suspect something, giggle a lot while reading, and try to look like you’re picking marks.
  2. No matter what line you’re in, ask if it’s the line for the bathroom. If it is the line for the bathroom, ask instead whether they’ve started pre-boarding yet.
  3. On my way to Columbus, I got pulled out of the security line to go through a “puffer booth”. If you get sent through one, there are two options, based on gender. Guys: turn towards the wall, stand very close to it, and when the door opens again, act like you’re zipping up before you step out. Ladies: storm out, declaring loudly, “Why, I never!!
  4. During takeoff and landing, hold your arms up and yell, “Wheeeeeeee!” roller-coaster style.
  5. During taxiing, make engine noises and act like you’re steering.
  6. Don’t forget to get some exercise on long flights. I crossed the Atlantic a couple times in April, and had to walk around the cabin a little bit to keep from going crazy. I actually discovered two different first class cabins. One of them had chairs that turned into beds. I was wedged into a quilted bucket between a Bulgarian woman and the elbow-crushing drink cart, and these assholes had entire ROOMS to themselves. On your flight, take a tour to check out first-class accommodations. While you’re there, fart.
  7. Harmonize with crying babies.
  8. If any food or drinks are served, ask your neighbors if they’re going to finish theirs. Have them ask the people you can’t reach.
  9. Every time a flight attendant goes by, ask for another sick bag. If someone notices this, wink and tell them, “this is gonna be HUGE!!”
  10. Tell everyone how the in-flight movie ends.
  11. Sing along with in-flight radio. If they don’t have one, sing anyway. Something really infectious, so it will be stuck in everyone’s heads for the rest of their travels.
  12. Build a fort out of those little pillows and blankets.

Labels: , ,

posted by reyn at 9:42 AM


Blogger Kate said...

This is such fantastic, timely advice. I will be flying out to LA tomorrow, although my flight does leave at 6am which means it is unlikely that I will be awake enough to be mischievous. But perhaps on the way back. Then, I am flying to China on July 12th. Those flights are so long (14 hours!) they are begging for mischief to break up the monotony.

6/27/2008 8:35 AM  
Blogger ket said...

FYI, the book was so perfect I figured you'd already own it - hence the gift receipt. :-P

6/27/2008 1:16 PM  
Blogger reyn said...

I had never even heard of it, but I giggled with malicious delight when I opened it, every time I pulled it out of my bag, frequently while reading it, and each time I bragged to someone that I had it. Usually the response to this last was tearing of hair, beseeching to the sky, and wails of "why, why, WHY??!!"

Thanks so much!

6/27/2008 1:35 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

And if anyone asks where you got the book, let them hold it before replying, "They don't guard cemeteries like they used to!"

Kate, we need to concoct some politically correct "Chinese" mischief for your flight. Maybe you can turn to your neighbor before takeoff and ask, "So, when does this thing start tunneling?"

ket, this was a gift that karma will likely make you pay for. :)

6/27/2008 9:18 PM  

Post a Comment