March 08, 2004

Air Force Blue (part 8)

It was the meanest practical joke I was ever involved in. Not the funniest and certainly not the most fun, but unsurpassed for pure mean...

I'm going to change enough details here to make the victim anonymous, because you could Google his name and find out all kinds of things about him. I know it because I did just that.

He was a nice enough guy, if a little naive. He and his wife were newlyweds, devoted to each other, and devout. His name was Jerry P (changed), and his family was famous in certain circles. Jerry was a proud family name, so much so that his twin brother shared the same first name. Jerry's brother Jerry went into the Marine Corps at about the same time our Jerry joined the Air Force.

And that's everything you need to know as setup to this practical joke.

It wasn't my idea, and I don't know who first thought of it. The only reason I was involved at all was because the luck of the duty roster put me on a post with a phone that night. But I went along wholeheartedly, because the plan was brilliant.

It was well after dark on swing shift, during that evening lull after dinner, and a few hours away from the midnight shift relief. The phone at my post rang, and when I answered a friend told me about this joke being set up on Jerry. I was to monitor my radio and be ready to pick up the phone and listen quietly.

This was the security phone system, not connected to the civilian world, but we could do things like set up party lines and such.

In a while Jerry P was paged on the radio and given a telephone number to call. He had to phone Central Security first (they were in on the joke), and asked them to transfer the call outside our network.

While the phone was ringing, cops all over the base were quietly picking up their phones to listen in.

A doctor answered the phone. The 'doctor' was actually another cop that Jerry P didn't know. The doctor verified personal information (social security number, etc) with Jerry P to convince him that the call was legit. Then came the joke.

"Airman Jerry, you have a brother in the Marine Corps, correct?"

"Yes sir."

"And he has the same first and last name as you, correct?"

"Yes sir."

"Well, we have an unfortunate mixup here then. As part of standard procedure, everybody going through basic training is tested for various things, including venereal disease. Your brother tested positive and has been undergoing treatment for syphilis for the past month, but we've discovered a mistake in our records, and, well, this is difficult to say..."

(confused) "What do you mean?"

"Unfortunately Airman Jerry P, your brother doesn't have syphilis, you do."

I will never know how we all managed to keep quiet. I was bent over, holding the phone and my stomach, desperately trying not to laugh out loud.

It took a moment for Jerry P to respond, and at first he was sure it was a mistake. It had to be. The doctor kept insisting that Jerry P stay calm and report the next day to the base hospital. Jerry P kept getting more and more agitated, and that's when he dropped the bomb.


He was in tears, and suddenly it wasn't funny anymore. Jerry thought he had VD, and since he'd been a virgin when he got married, the only way he could have gotten it was from his wife. His newlywed wife.

And he was on duty, and had a gun.

I heard a quiet call on the radio, sending someone over to Jerry's post ASAP. Hopefully to disarm him before he did something stupid. Then someone on the party line snickered loud enough to be heard, and we were busted.

Oh man, he was righteously pissed. Couldn't blame the guy one bit either, talk about a roller coaster of emotions we'd put him through. He didn't shoot himself, but he was close to shooting the supervisor who went over to take his rifle away until he calmed down. Calming down took several hours, and it was a week or more before he would talk to anyone. Eventually we could kid him again, though not about that. The joke was never ever mentioned. I don't know about the other people eavesdropping that night, but I always felt major guilt over that practical joke.

I still think it was brilliant though.

Posted by Ted at March 8, 2004 06:59 PM
Category: Boring Stories

Holy crap! Tough to match that for brilliance. An opportunity like that really can't be ignored. Gotta figure it's only mean because y'all didn't have enough information to realize what was likely to happen.

Yeah, like I'M one to talk lately :-/

Posted by: Mad William Flint at March 9, 2004 12:50 PM

That's just plain mean, Ted. *ROFLMAO!* Funny though.. ;)

Posted by: Ironbear at March 10, 2004 01:12 AM
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