A few years back, without realizing it I became a person who no longer gave a $h1t on issues in life. I blame it on being an old retired fart who has seen much and heard too much BS in life which has no bearing on the real world. (think: Will Smith/Chris Rock fiasco). But to maintain sanity, I still cling to my shenanigans, something I never knew existed until Pop said, “No damn fool shenanigans.” – and he was serious!

I didn’t look up the word but relied on my personal expert analysis of life to understand and appreciate its meaning.

I decided it is perfectly acceptable to pull off innocent shenanigans provided:

  1. No one is harmed.
  2. It costs no money.
  3. The action remains anonymous.
  4. I can get away with it.

Let me explain examples of shenanigans over the past years.

I worked at a manufacturing plant years ago where bosses would drive around in little three-wheeled golf carts so they wouldn’t have to walk. When I found one that was parked outside a building, I would jump in it and turn it around. They would come out of the building and see it headed in the wrong direction and wondered if they parked it that way.

1. No one was harmed.  2. It was free.  3. The action remained anonymous.  4. I got away with it.

When I saw a jacket or lab coat hanging up, I would put something in the pockets. I once put a couple of dandelion flowers in one. A rock in another. I usually had loose items in my pockets such as screws, blown fuses, a short piece of wire and believe it or not, I once came across a small frog that I scooped up and placed in a coat pocket.

Again: 1, 2, 3, 4

When I was a welder, there was a crazy cowboy who insisted on using the whole table to spread his lunch on, leaving just enough room for my sandwich.

Years ago, my late brother who was a master of shenanigans, taught me how to make Nitrogen Triiodide (NI₃). For those who are unfamiliar with NI₃, it is an easy to make contact explosive from ammonia and tincture of iodine. It is a very corrosive mixture that is harmless until it dries, at which point, it is very sensitive. I made up a nice batch of it and smeared it on the latches of his lunch box. When he placed his box in the middle of the table and proceeded to open it, BANG! It left a blister on his thumb. He was totally baffled but knew I may have had something to do with it. Couldn’t prove it.

Again: 1 (well, maybe not 1) but 2, 3, and 4.

In High School, I placed the NI₃ in pencil sharpeners, under the pads of commode seats and in padlocks on lockers. I had a teacher who had a small desk bell like the one you find at hotel counters. If the class got too noisy, she would tap the bell, “ding!”, and everyone would stop talking to see what that “ding” was. I placed NI₃ under the little clapper of the bell. I believe it was the fourth period when I heard the bang followed by a strange ringing sound, followed by a long scream that went down the hallway.

2, 3, 4.

When I lived in Brazil before moving back to Texas, I used a slingshot smuggled through the mail system to me by an unscrupulous sibling. There are more tales of usage by the weapon, er. instrument than I have time to tell. But there was one time I sat on the balcony late one night and watched the people meander toward the subway. One individual was about a half a block away when I sent a marble flying down the street. Didn’t hit him, but he stopped to look where it came from. I stood in the shadows of a fourth-floor balcony. Every time he turned toward the subway, I sent another marble. This took place at least four times until he was too far.

1, 2, 3, 4.

Okay. There are many of these stories, but let’s look at others.

I have a good friend whose father was as onery as his son. His name was Orville. Once when he was using a power saw, Orville cut his thumb pretty bad and went to the doctor to have it sutured up. Afterwards he asked, “Doc, will I be able to play the piano?”

Doc said, “Well there will be dexterity issues at first, but within a few months I feel you will be able to play with no problems.”

Orville said, “That’s great Doc. I always wanted to play the piano.”

1, 2, 3, 4.

A little girl I knew lost her first tooth told me she placed it under her pillow and in the morning, there was a quarter! I told her that once when I was a little boy, I had a fist full of quarters that I was afraid my brother would steal when I was asleep, so I put them under my pillow. The next morning, when I woke up, I looked under my pillow and found a bunch of teeth!

1, 2, 3, 4.

My wife is currently learning English. I told her she needs to get into the habit of speaking Texan.

Examples include:

Yeah huh.  Yeah boy! Over yonder.  And it is Colder than a Well Digger’s Butt.

I told her when some kid tells her their goldfish went over the Rainbow Bridge, tell them, “No, your fish just kicked the bucket.”

1, 2, 3, 4.

There are so many shenanigans in life, that if it were not for them I would be in an Insane Asylum.

Speaking of Insane Asylums, shenanigans remind me of one of my favorite games to play when I am with several people in a crowded area. Back in December I was at my sister’s wedding and after everyone was content with good food and drink, I went to the bar where two bartenders were standing at the end talking.

I told them, “I need your help with something.” They both perked up and I told them, “Somewhere in this room is a serial killer. Who is it?” Right away they scanned the crowd and within 5 seconds, they both pointed to a man in a striped shirt. “It’s him.” they said in unison. Before I could find him in the crowd, they said, “He hasn’t been to the bar yet.”

So, if any of you are a serial killer, be sure and get a drink at the bar. That is how I do it.

Thank God for shenanigans and serial killers.