BY NORBERT RUG
For 10 years of my life, I worked at Milkbone in Buffalo where I was a maintenance man on the packing floor. A large part of my day was spent sitting around waiting for a breakdown. I didn’t have a lot to do most of the time and as they say “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” The guys I worked with and I would come up with creative ways to prank the rest of the employees.
One day I super glued a quarter to the floor in front of the coffee machine. We all then sat at “our” table and watched. People would see it and look around to see if anyone was watching them. They would then try to pick it up. One guy even tried to kick it with his heel. They knew they had been had when they would hear us all laughing. This was good for a full day of laughs for only a quarter.
Another time I caught a bullfrog on my way home. The following day I brought it to work in an old lunch box. At dinner time the plant nurse was fixing her meal in the lunchroom. Right next to her was a microwave oven. I took the lunch box to the counter and purchased a buttered bulky roll from a vending machine. I opened the roll and slapped the frog inside.
The frog wasn’t very pleased about this and was kicking like mad. I turned to the nurse and asked if she knew how to operate the microwave and she said she did. I said great and pulled out the roll with the frog in it and asked her what you did with the legs. I don’t think she ate dinner that night.
Speaking of legs, another prank we pulled involved a false pair of legs that I built, complete with pants and shoes. We would put this sticking out from under a pallet of product and watch people’s expression as they came around the corner and saw the legs hanging out. The results were hilarious. This pair of legs would disappear and reappear periodically.
I don’t know who was doing this but I suspect multiple people. One of the next times “the legs” appeared was during a health inspection. They were stashed behind a shelving unit in my shop when the health inspector and the plant manager spotted them. The manager yelled at the legs, kicked them and finally grabbed them and pulled them out. We were called to the office where we all denied any knowledge of the legs.
The legs were confiscated but they were easy to duplicate and I made another pair that week. We placed them around until the bottom of a flour silo fell open. It dumped the entire contents on the floor, something like 50,000 pounds of flour. A buddy of mine took the legs and buried them deep in the pile of flour. Several days later while they were shoveling up the mess the legs popped out. The person doing the shoveling took one look, walked out the door and went home without punching out.
I had the ability to lock the men’s room door that had an inside bolt from the outside using a bit of string. People could smoke in the men’s room at the time. A man was leaning on the window sill enjoying a cigarette when I locked the door. We then ran upstairs and got a piece of conduit to tap on the window above his head. This is where the story went south.
My buddy Jerry hit the glass too hard causing two small holes in it. The smoker hit the ground and crawled over to the door to find it locked. Quite sometime later he told us he thought he was being set up because he was fooling around with a married woman and he thought her husband had locked the door and was shooting at him.
When I was building my tool cart, we got a call that a packaging machine was malfunctioning. My buddy Joe, picked up his tool pouch, got into my cart and I locked the doors. I wheeled it over to the broken down machine and listened to the operator explain the problem. At that point, I unlocked my tool cart and let Joe out. He then repaired the problem. When he was done, he climbed back into my cart and I closed and locked the door. Then I proceeded to wheel him back into the shop.
I think the best prank I perpetrated was on my last day working there. Over the 10 years working there I managed to figure out how to get into every room and office in the place including all the front offices. I also knew the security guard’s routine and where he would be at any given time. This allowed me to dodge the guard.
They had this newfangled electronic phone system just installed and I managed to get ahold of an operating manual. This system had the capability of forwarding calls from one phone to another by punching in a three digit code. I programmed the phones to forward all calls to the plant manager’s office. I never heard anything about this but I can imagine the havoc this caused because every phone had to be reprogrammed. I can’t remember all the practical jokes I pulled while I was there this is just a few of them.
Like Luca Fortunato, an electrician at Nabisco used to say, “At least we laugh.”