Can I speak to Amanda Huginkiss?

Getting the kids ready for summer reminds me of my own summers as a child. Some days I feel bad that my kids will never realize the joys of prank phone calling. Star 69 and caller id, while great inventions for avoiding a call from your mother-in-law, ushered out an era of harmless childhood mischief.

For my friends and me, prank phone calling was a non-violent way to release some frustration toward the grownups who ruled our lives. I remember months of prank phone calls to my dad after a particularly heated fight between he and my mother in the wake of their divorce. For a kid with such young, poor parents(they were 23 and 25), it was cheap therapy.

I also remember an uncommonly rigid principal being a frequent target as well as the old lady across the street that wouldn't give your balls back if they landed in her yard. (She was also easy pickings for ding dong doorbell ditch since it took her so long to get to the door.)

We started with the standard beginner's fare. “This is Mabel from the Electric Co., and we've had reports of power failures in the area, could you check and see if your refrigerator is running?(wait while they check) It is, well you better go catch it.”(cue the belly laughter, we were 7-12 year olds who were wholeheartedly amused by this kind of humor).

But the sparkle wore off of these gems pretty quickly. We started researching and creating better and better pranks. These might actually have been some of my first attempts at writing comedy. Remember Bart Simpson's calls to Moe's, IP Freely, Oliver Clossoff, Mike Rotch, Amanda Huginkiss? Child's play. My cousins and I were so adept at the prank phone calling that we made up elaborate scenarios, characters and scripts to amuse ourselves. We burned through endless summer's with our auditory escapades.

Even as a highchool student, we still went back to the well now and then on a boring evening in. My friend Jeff and I provided hours of amusement for our group of friends. We would all sit in my mom's kitchen(about 6 of us), we'd have one of those regular old stay plugged into the wall phones and the cordless from my mom's room. We'd pick out some unsuspecting couple from the phone book, randomly flipping through until our finger landed on a name, say Jason and Margot Fields.

I'd dial the phone and when it started ringing Jeff would pick up the other phone. If Margot answered, I would ask for her husband. Usually, she'd just put him on but you could just hear the question in her voice, why is some woman calling my husband at 9 o'clock? She'd yell, "Jason, it's some woman for you."

When Jason would pick up the phone, Jeff would ask to speak to Margot. Usually, Jason would yell something like, "Honey why did you give me the phone, it's for you." Margot would pick up and again I'd say(now sounding a bit annoyed), "I'd like to speak to Jason." They would go back and forth,"No, it's a guy calling and he's asking for you." "It's not a guy, it's some woman calling for you."

We'd take bets on how many times they'd pass the phone back and forth arguing no, it's for you, before they'd catch on that they were being had. We would continue this for hours and while I'm sure we caused an occasional contentious evening for a few people, we were safely at home, sober and not really hurting anyone.

My childhood summers were filled with days of neighborhood scavenger hunts and evenings of Ghost in the Graveyard and prank phone calls. We were bored neighborhood kids without the luxuries of soccer practice or tennis lessons or country club memberships. Ah, the good old days, they were some of the best of my life.

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Anonymous said... June 8, 2008 at 6:56 PM  

Ha! The prank phone calls, yes they were a blast when there was no way you could be traced. Except for my stupid little cousin who called 911 just to say cuss words, he did get caught.

I remember during one nite of hot doorbell dash I picked up the worse black eye in history. A group of 3-4 were at the door & I ran to the left while my friend ran to the right and her forehead caught me in my eyeball. It was horrible but the funniest black eye ever!

thanks for the memories.

formerly fun said... June 8, 2008 at 8:38 PM  

I knew I wasn't the only hooligan.

Ranting Raconteure said... September 28, 2009 at 10:35 PM  

haha, no you weren't the only hooligan prank calling people.

we would call random numbers in the phone book. one person would moan in the background, while someone would scream into the phone, "there's so much blood everywhere!"

caller id made an appearance soon after that and put a stop to it.

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