The Practical Joke

Red-eyed Tree Frog

Red-eyed Tree Frog

I’m not much of a practical joker, but once in a while someone innocently sets one up and it really seems a shame to waste a ripe opportunity. Just such an opportunity presented itself to me last week.

I have framed photographic prints on the walls at work. In one hallway are a half dozen of them and as part of her Christmas-ification program after Thanksgiving my assistant likes to take them down and gift wrap them and hang them back up in her spare time, which she apparently has way too much of.

These six framed prints have been there longer than I care to admit. Most of them were shot on film and switched to digital in 2006. One is from Laos in 2003. Not that they are bad images, they have just been there for years and everyone is prone to ignore them.

I sensed an opportunity to hang new prints and have a little fun at the same time, so I went in last weekend and carefully unwrapped each print and replaced it with a new one and carefully re-wrapped them. I left a couple of them; one because it is the most discussed image of a pool with an eddy of autumn leaves in front of a waterfall and every body wants to know how I did it (threw everything in the bag in front of the lens that would slow the shutter speed because you could barely notice the eddy with the naked eye). The other was an 8.5 x 11 from France and I didn’t bring an 8.5 x 11 with me.

Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden

This morning I thought I had blown it because I also hung new prints elsewhere and they were noticed right away. Should have waited to change those. But when my assistant unwrapped the first two they were the two old ones so her surprise when she unwrapped the third one was genuine. I told her the rest would be just like Christmas all over again because she didn’t know what to expect.

Truck Full O' Muddy Dogs

Truck Full O’ Muddy Dogs

In the end what saved me was that she couldn’t believe I would actually go to the trouble of re-wrapping all of those prints.

Like I said, these prints are pretty old. The yellow lab above has passed on from congestive heart failure. The golden retriever is looking kind of wary because the yellow lab is the alpha and not above playing a few practical jokes of his own and being trapped in the back of a pickup with him is not the golden retrievers idea of a good time. Actually the black female is the real alpha, she just lets the lab think he is. Any perceived infraction and she will let him have it. Even if he strayed too far out and had to be called back, she would be there waiting to light into him for it. She was my enforcer. She’s mellowed a bit with age. It all just rolls off of her now.

Big Ben_London

Big Ben_London


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