End of an Era (?)

My brother was the king of the prank calls. As early as 1979, a then 8 year-old Nano would huddle by a phone on Thanksgiving night, dial a number at random and query:

"Why do you smell like turkey?"

A series of stifled snickers would follow each successive call.

I never had his gift. When I was working at a "One Hour Photo Lab" in 1992 he stumped me with the following:

Prego: Prints Charming*
'Caller': Um... Do you guys do enlargements?
Prego: Yes we do.
'Caller': Good, because I have a really small penis and...
Prego: Click.

* (Actual f*cking name of the place)

Subtlety was the key, as was being able to disguise the voice to avoid detection. I managed to emulate his genius on his ex-wife on one occasion.

Prego: (exaggerated, effeminate enunciation) Is Nano there?
Mrs. Nano: No he's not.
Prego: Well, like this is Steffon, and he left his t-shirt in my apartment last night...
Mrs. Nano: Who is this?
Prego: Steffon. Oh and I washed his boxers, too.
Mrs. Nano: Uh...
Prego: Pfffffrtttttt! Haw haw haw haw haw....

Yeah, those were the days. Now that Caller ID is readily available and anonymity is reserved solely for rape trials, Prince Albert remains in the can and the refrigerator shan't be chased again. Technology has cheated the next generation of a coming of age ritual. O-Dog and the Fletch-monster will never be able to pull off the classic:

"Yeah. Mrs. Whitney? This is DeAundre Tillman - Mr. Whitney's son? My mom says your husband ain't sending her the child support payments for me."

(Click. Dial tone....)


~A~ said...

I'm not sure which is funnier, the calls or the fact that there's a business named Prints Charming and you worked in it.

rob said...

~A~ and I did our share of prank calling back in the day. Although ours were pretty lame and not hilarious in the least.

They were actually sorta menacing. Such that we caused some poor woman named Barb to change her number.

Later, with the advent of 3-way calling, I enjoyed calling a pizza delivery service, start ordering and then asking them to hold. Then I'd dial a rival pizza place and conference them in.

Nowadays, for fun, I set homeless people on fire.

Maybe prank calling is a gateway pathology.

Claude said...

When I was younger, our tactic consisted of getting the victim into a bizarre conversation and then just trying to keep it going as long as we could. The only one I remember now involved trying to talk a woman into home milk delivery.

glomgold said...

Heh, my friend was always really into prank calls but, like you, I was never any good with it. *69 could still be worked around but you're right, CallerID's basically killed it.
I actually think that if I'd practiced the crank calls I'd be a much better liar these days and thus better equipped to handle life.

Pickalish said...

I'm with ~A~.....rofl.

keda said...

prints charming is wonderful. i was pretty rubbish and prank calling too sadly. though it was fun anyway.

you are forgetting however that despite caller id, you do still have kids you can blame this shit on... go for it babes. quick before they are too old for you to use!

Atul said...

We used to enjoy the one wher we pretend to be a lawyer and ask for the spouse other than the one who answers mentioning divorce papers. That was hilarious... Actually, we never had the nerve to do it. It's not much worse than what you see on "Punked" sometimes though.

jennypenny said...

You are too funny Prego. Hope you don't mind that I have added you to my blogroll. I just find your site damn enjoyable and always good for a laugh.

Carmi said...

I laughed myself silly as I read this, because pranking was one of my favorite childhood activities, too.

Until, of course, I got caught. I used to randomly pick phone numbers. One day, the randomly picked number turned out to be my neighbor's. When I finished my prankster's pitch, she referred to me by name and asked if my Mom knew what I was doing on the phone?

I never pranked after that.

Not a day goes by that I don't curse the inventors of caller ID. They destroyed that sense of adventure and craziness for everybody!