I don’t know where I come up with this stuff, I just do…
In the late ’70s we came to Ohio on vacation. It coincided with a friend’s birthday. It was on this trip I told a friend about a ‘prank’ I had pulled a few years earlier.
When I was flying C-141s (1971 – 1973), I would find myself on layovers, all over the world, sometimes with nothing to do. Then an idea came to me: choose someone and anonymously begin sending postcards to them. Why? For nothing more than the hell of it, I suppose. I have never been “quite right!”
So, being stationed At McGuire AFB, NJ I went to the Philadelphia phone book and arbitrarily picked a guy – I think his name was Clisiak, or something like that. I then called him to make sure I had a valid guy.
“Mr. Clisiak?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he replied in somewhat of a rough voice, “who is this?”
“Oh, it’s Bob,” I responded, “and I’ll have to call you back. Someone’s at the door.”
And after this short exchange, I began sending him post cards – from all over the world. Never from an Air Force base though; didn’t want to give myself away. I would tell him about my family, about things I had seen and so forth. And I always signed the cards, “Your Pal, Bob.”
I must have ran this gag for 12 – 15 months, then I received orders to Southeast Asia (SEA). When I got to Thailand I discovered I had lost his address, and that was that.
When I told this story in the mid-70’s, a friend from college, Tom, asked if I would be interested in doing it again, only this time, with a “twist.” That got my attention. Tom had a good friend, Mark, who was a bit “high strung” at times. Tom said something like this would drive Mark nuts! Oh yeah…
So Tom gave Mark’s address to me, and the post cards began flowing. I sent them from all over the States, again, never from an Air Force installation. Every time I went cross-country, I would either drop one in the mail myself, of have someone do it for me. Every 4 to 6 weeks, another post card from “You friend, Bob.” And like before, I just told him about things going on in my life; hobbies, kids, recreation, and so forth. Whatever came to mind…
After a couple of years I had the occasion to talk with Tom. I asked if he had ever heard anything from Mark, with respect to receiving post cards.. He had not. Tom then went on to tell me that Mark had been hurt in a motorcycle crash. Guess what the next card talked about! “I was so sorry to hear about your motorcycle crash, but relieved to hear you will be okay.”
Then I began adding Christmas cards to the mix. And I began bringing a few friends into the drill. Once in a bar in Mexico I had everyone at the table sign the card! Maybe even the waiter? Then, on another occasion I told Marty Miller about the gag.
Marty was stationed in Hawaii at the time, and he picked right up on it. Shortly thereafter he sent a card to mark, “Ran into Bob the other day…” I think before it was all said and done, Mart also sent cards from Australia and Korea!
(Okay, bear with me folks, this story is coming to an end soon…)
In 1989 I began flying with Northwest Airlines. Sometimes, with just a day or so between trips, I would come down to Toledo to stay with Tom, rather than commute to San Antonio. One Saturday morning Tom and i decided it was time for Mark and I to meet. So, Tom called Mark and asked him to come over.
WhenMark arrived, a short time later, Tom said, “I want you to meet your good friend, Bob.”
Mark thought Tom was nuts. He look at the both of us and asked, “Are you okay? I’ve never met this guy in my life!”
I think at this time Tom was thinking the gag had been “flipped,” that it was all on him (Tom). And he began acting somewhat “squirllely.”
“What’s with Tom,” Mark then asked.
“Oh,” I replied, “Tom thinks the post card gag was flipped on him.”
Mark thought for a moment, trying to make sense of it all, then the “light came on!”
“You, you’re the one!” he exclaimed, as he began rapidly turning circles in the kitchen that Saturday morning.
“Son-of-a-bitch, son-of-a-bitch,” he stated among other things! And around, and around he went. What a delight it was to watch! At least for me. He soon went over to the phone and called his wife.
“Sharon,” he said, “you’re never going to guess who I just met!”
“Bob,” he replied, “yeah, THAT Bob!” And soon she was on her way over.
When she got there she went on to share with us what it was like for Mark to receive those post cards. Apparently he would sit in his easy chair for a half-hour or so, just wondering. She said it kinda drove him nuts! It got to the point where his brother would ask, Have you gotten your Christmas card from Bob yet?” “Or, your birthday card?”
And we laughed throughout the rest of the afternoon, and over dinner. Mark just kept shaking his head. At one point in the evening he asked, “Who is Marty?”
I was tempted to claim I had no idea, just to keep it going, but then I thought we had worked him over enough! So, I told him. Mark could just not grasp the scope of the prank. And truthfully, it has been one of my “better ones!”