Saturday, June 27, 2009

Meet Emily (or Is It Max?)

I'm beginning to get my Facebook quiz addiction under control. Like all addictions seem to, it's getting a bit boring. However, some of them are still just too much fun to resist. Most recently, I took the "Which Classic Children's Literature Character Are You?" one and, worrying that I might end up being Pollyanna or some Struwwelpeter character who falls down a well and dies because she's too curious or something, I discovered (and was very gratified to find) that I am Max from Where the Wild Things Are. Well, as I said in my comments there, "Who wouldn't want to be Max?" Here's the description of what this apparently says about me:

You're adventurous and mischievous with a penchant for dressing up funny and dancing. You're a dreamer with your tendency to live in your own imaginary world...with your imaginary friends. Not that there's anything wrong with that! Now hurry home before your dinner gets cold.

I like it. No one can deny that I'm either adventurous or that I live in my own imaginary world. However, am I really such a mischievous person? I do love a good practical joke (even when played against me. In fact, especially when played against me), but I'm not sure "mischievous" is the best adjective for me. As I pondered this, though, I decided that, well, yes I can be quite mischievous. I thought I'd share a few examples.

1. My mother, being the sweet kind person that she is, has always been the sort to praise her children to the hilt. One day, she asked my sister Lindsay and me if we would make her a cup of tea. We knew when we presented it to her, she would proclaim it to be "delicious," so we decided to conduct a little experiment and proceeded to put about ten teaspoons of sugar in it. As predicted, she took her first sip, and when we asked how it was, she said, "delicious."

"Are you sure? You don't think it's maybe a bit sweet?" we wanted to know, but she assured us it was "delicious." Our giggles gave us away in the end, and we had to confess what we'd done. Luckily, my mother also has a very good sense of humor, and yes, we did go back and make her a "real" cup of tea, one that I am pretty sure really was "delicious."

2. I'm not the only one in my family who loved "all things horror" when we were growing up. My brother Ian was also a fan of "things that go bump in the night." One of my favorite primal fears is "something or someone under the bed." By the time Ian and I were teenagers, we of course, did not believe in the big, hairy monsters under our beds that I'm sure (wonderful big sister that I was) I'd described in great detail to him at just the right age to instill an awesome fear. However, the year we lived in England, we were feeding ourselves on a diet that consisted of such things as Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected (a BBC television production) and James Herbert's The Fog. So, one day, I got the bright idea of crawling under his bed and lying in wait (oh for those days when one had all the time in the world). Eventually, he came in and lay down to read. I waited a little while longer and then just slowly reached up a hand and rested it right beside him. The reaction I got when he looked down and saw the hand was exactly the one for which I had hoped, but he was, later, able to laugh about it.

3. During the first couple of years when I worked at the library, we were open until 9:00 p.m. on Friday nights. These were ridiculous hours, because we rarely saw a soul (except the poor homeless trying to keep warm in the winter) after 7:00. We had high school and college students we called "pages" who were hired to do things like retrieve and re-shelve periodicals. One Friday night, I was working the periodicals desk in the basement with one of these pages Alfred. We basically had nothing to do, having re-shelved all the books and magazines. We decided to make a bet as to how many periodical requests we'd get that night. I gave him my guess and then decided to up the ante a little, "And if we get more than that, I'll ride the dumbwaiter up to the fourth floor and back." We had a dumbwaiter used to send books, etc. back and forth among the five floors of the library. It was tall and wide enough to hold a couple of book carts but certainly wasn't big enough for an adult who was standing.

Needless to say, I lost the bet, which was fine by me. I'd always wanted an excuse to ride that dumbwaiter. Ten minutes before closing, I climbed into it, and Alfred pushed the buttons to send me up to the fourth floor and back. Boy, did that thing move slowly! Good thing it didn't break down. Good thing nobody tried to use it during those ten minutes. Good thing Alfred let me off when I got back to the basement. I still wonder how many other employees, if any, has ever ridden that thing.

4. At one of my other jobs, I had a boss who was of the "sky is falling" sort, often running around in a panic, ready to deliver bad news. He was an excellent problem-solver, always able to come out ahead, even when the sky really was falling, but this did not keep him from momentary tizzies when people did things that rocked the world he'd worked so hard to create, like announcing they were retiring or taking a job at another company.

Our department was in the habit of playing tricks on people when they went away on vacation, and he was not immune. One time, he'd come back from vacation to find we'd decorated his office to resemble a 1960s drug den -- beads hanging in the doorway, lava lamps, pillows on the floor instead of the table where he usually conducted meetings, etc. The next time he was away, our human resources director (who was often in on our fun and games) and I were contemplating what sort of trick we ought to play, and I said, "You know, I should pretend I've quit." She looked at me and said "Let's do it!" She then helped me compose a very vague email to her that wasn't exactly a letter of resignation but that said something about thinking it was probably best, after our little talk, for me to leave the company. She then forwarded it on to him, and I proceeded not to be in the office the day he came back from vacation.

There were some who thought this was an absolutely horrible thing to do. Needless to say, I would not have played such a trick on those people. His response when I told him about those people? "They have no sense of humor." To this day, he teases me about my "fake letter of resignation." Most recently, it was something like this, "I am sure if anyone calls me for a job reference for you what I have to say will be quite enlightening, especially when I show them that old letter of resignation."

Now, having verified that, yes, I can be quite mischievous, you'll have to excuse me. It's time to go dress up funny and dance.


ZoesMom said...

You are definitely Max. I love those kinds of "pranks" -- all stuff I would definitely happily participate in or be the good-humored victim of.

litlove said...

Such funny stories - I particularly like the one about leaving your hand beside Ian - whyever didn't I think of that to do to my own brother? Oh, right, he had a full set of drawers under his bed...

stefanie said...

I'm pretty sure if I tried to pull that hand from under the bed trick on my younger sister, I would be missing a hand!

Yes, you are definitely Max. I'm going to be laughing all day.