The Practical Joker
We had a patient in the facility, Lucille Cox, who had a prosthetic leg. Thinking about her now, I think I used her leg more than she did. I would take it and position it inside of another patient’s doorway, place a gown over the leg and then just sit back and wait for it.
The amazing thing was, many times I would walk by my intended victim carrying this fake leg. It wasn’t a partial leg, either; it was the whole limb from toe to thigh. Yet, even though she saw me with the prop, she would fall for my devious, but hilarious, dirty deed. Maybe it was because I was strolling down the hall as if it were normal for anyone to be carrying a prosthetic limb around in a nursing home.
The other amazing thing was, when other staff members or the residents saw me with the prop, they all stopped what they were doing and scurried into rooms hiding behind doors and peeking through the cracks. I remember one time I was crouched down in one doorway with two residents above me looking like the Marx brothers, Groucho, Harpo and Chico. When I looked across the hallway, there were two more staff members and a resident doing the same, lined up at the door like Larry, Curly, and Moe.
“Why do you do that?” One of my co-workers asked.
“For one, it’s funny to watch their reactions (my victims),” I answered. “For another, the residents seem to really enjoy it. They have so much fun when I pull pranks and are so willing to help me set them up.”
To prove my point, the next time I went to prank someone I thought Lucille was going to ruin it for me. She and her roommate, Mrs. Bozeman, were sitting in their room when I walked in.
“Hello, Ladies,” I said addressing them as I strolled to Lucille’s closet and extracted one of her fake legs. The new nurse was in another room at the time and had no idea I was even on the floor yet.
Lucille was an old biker lady. She was a tough cookie and could cuss a blue streak when she wanted to. Lucille didn’t mind laying it out there, either, and voicing her thoughts. If you didn’t like it, then don’t speak to her; she was fine with that. Mrs. Bozeman was a sweet gingerly old lady who catered to her family her whole life. She probably had no idea what the words “Harley Davidson” meant to Lucille no more than Lucille knew what “homemade apple pie” meant to Mrs. Bozeman. What an odd couple to have room together.
“Oh shit,” Lucille squealed in delight.
“What? What is going on?” Mrs. Bozeman asked excitedly unbeknownst as to what I was doing. She was a fairly new patient.
“She’s going to use my leg and trick someone,” Lucille said between gasps of laughter.
Both women wheeled their chairs behind me as I left the room carrying the thigh-high leg. Lucille was cackling away while Mrs. Bozeman was doing her best to wrap her head around what I was up to. I positioned the leg a few doors away from their room, placed the gown over it and went to sit at the nurse‘s station.
Cindy Johnson, one of the CNA’s saw what I was doing and came to sit with me at the desk. We would know the prank worked when the new nurse, Avis, took off running down the hall to check on the “fallen patient in the doorway.”
Several minutes later, Avis walked by and then walked by again going back to where she was. Cindy and I looked at one another, not a word between us, and shrugged our shoulders. We both figured she just didn’t see it. Avis wasn’t the most observant of nurses (that is another story).
Lucille rolled to the desk. “That dumb ass woman didn’t see it,” she amazed.
“Go tell her someone fell,” Cindy suggested.
Cindy and I could only shake our heads because we could hear Lucille laughing all the way down the hall. We heard her as she beat on the door of the room Avis was in and try her best, with a straight voice, tell her a patient had fallen. We couldn’t hear Avis’ response but it was obvious Lucille didn’t like it.
“That dumb woman said she’d be right there. I told her a patient was on the floor and she acted like she didn’t care!” Lucille snapped in hoarse whispers in case Avis could somehow overhear us behind closed doors thus ruining the practical joke.
A few minutes later, Avis walked by the desk again. She only got a few feet away when she said, “Someone put Lucille’s leg in the doorway.” Walking back to us, she added, “Was it one of you?”
Cindy and I looked at one another and shook our heads. “Maybe someone dropped it?” Cindy offered.
With her hands on her hips as she studied the “crime scene,” she answered, “No. No, I don’t think so.”
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’m sure,” she said thoughtfully still staring at the leg. “It looks like someone put it there on purpose and I can’t figure out why.”
Lucille, thoroughly disgusted that Avis could not grasp it was a practical joke yelled at her, “That’s because you’re a dumb ass!”
I thought she was going to run Avis over with her wheelchair when she stormed off to her room. I swear some people: they ruin all the fun.
Yeah. Those were the days.