Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Neighborhood Hijinks

Over at Cre8buzz, Kelly wrote a post about the pranks she and her kids are doing this summer. This reminded me of similar shenanigans we conduct in my neighborhood.

A couple of summers ago, I found Tony Danza and Judith Light at a garage sale! I'm not kidding, but I should probably add that they were actually cardboard, life-sized cut-outs of Tony and Judith. Here's what Tony looks like today: And here's a closer look. The "bullet hole" will be explained later...I scooped them up for a mere $5 each. Why? Because I got this great idea from my brother-in-law, in whose neighborhood John Wayne, dressed as a gun-slinging cowboy shows up on people's doorsteps unannounced and scares the crap out of them. I found him on-line here:So, of course, I had a plan for Tony (and I put Judith aside for a while). At first, I had a little fun with him at our house (see tomorrow's post), but then I got him ready for a little visit to a neighbor's house.

I have to interject here to tell you that when you first come upon "Tony" when you're not expecting him, you do not recognize him as Tony Danza; you think he is just some strange man with scary body language. And even though he has friendly posture, finding a strange man standing on your deck (day or night) will startle the daylights out of you! He scared the stuffing out of me several times when I knew he was there!

I put the following note in a plastic bag and stapled the bag to Tony's back:
Hi. I'm Tony Danza. I hope I didn't scare you too much! I'm staying at the 4444's this summer and thought I'd make the rounds in the neighborhood, just to say hi. Please use the notebook attached to record the story of how we met, and pass me on to someone else. Please check the weather before dropping me off, and make sure I get back to the 4444 house by the end of September."

I took Tony to Mike and Sandy's house and put him on their deck, facing in, so that when they came home from work, they would find Tony looking in the window. Mike came home, saw him first, and nearly had a heart attack.

The fun thing about getting startled by Tony is doing it to someone else. Mike had the nerve to take Tony to Vicky and Chelle's house, which had an interesting effect, given that Vicky is a State Trooper. I don't remember all the details, but I do remember that Vicky actually ran into the house to get her gun when she came upon Tony, who was standing near her squad car on the driveway in the dark. I also recall that she did NOT find the prank funny (until a few days later, after she calmed down.)

The $5 investment paid off considerably that summer, as we shared stories of Tony's adventures at the block party in September. In October, he was returned to us, and we enjoyed reading more of Tony's exploits. As you can see, he is a little beat up today; he has a bullet hole in his forehead, and his neck is broken, and I've removed some "suggestive" clothing he came home in. (Judith is long gone, unfortunately; someone kidnapped her and never brought her back.) I dug Tony up today (forgot about him until I read Kelly's post).

Off to patch Tony up and find an unsuspecting neighbor....

P.S. I want to warn you that if you do this, it's important to avoid neighbors who have health conditions or really bad senses of humor; it could get ugly, and you might never see your cut-out again. Have a sense of humor, but don't remember that you want to get along with your neighbors (well, most of you do, anyway), so make wise choices :) Here's a great place to start; I can't be sure you'll find any for $5, but you'll sure have fun looking. How about this guy?


  1. OMG!!! This is freaking BRILLIANT! AND FUNNY! And I'm so jealous - I NEED a Tony Danza cut-out.

  2. I super-big-puffy-heart LOVE it!!

    It's like FlatStanley for grownups!! (Deranged grownups, but grownups, nonetheless!!)

    Also HIGHlarious? -- one of the links to this post is "adult diapers could come in handy"!

    (I thought of you this week...I have a student who has adopted "that's what she said" as his current annoy-the-hell-outta-Ms-H catchphrase. Since I threatened with failing him so bad he'd be the class of oh-thirteen, he's now obsessed with finding loopholes in the form of LEGITIMATE ways to use the phrase. grrr. Ilovemyjob Ilovemyjob Ilovemyjob.....)


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