Before I tell this particular story from my vacation, a few bits of context.


First up, in person, I’m rarely like I am when I’m posting. I have a very whimsical, very surreal, very absurd sense of humor. I greatly enjoy making people think through what I just said before they realize just how ridiculous what I just said was. As a commenter once said, “don’t play with people’s heads — unless they bounce real good.”


Second, I have an extremely flexible voice. I can range from a falsetto to a very, very deep baritone where you can almost hear the individual frequencies. Oh, I can’t sing for squat, but I can speak in a very wide range. It also helps when I toss in my knack for accents.


Anyway, last Friday my friend/almost-brother/host and I were walking through the Smithsonian Air And Space Museum. He was about three steps behind me. Just ahead was a group of teenage schoolgirls, acting… well, like teenaged schoolgirls. They were crossing our path, and stopped pretty much dead in front of us, approaching from their right.


One of the girls covered the eyes of another girl and said, in as deep a voice as she could muster (which wasn’t very much — as I said, these were teenaged girls) “Guess who?”


At that point I had almost reached them. I sidestepped slightly to pass behind them, and just before I did pass behind them, I said in my deepest, creepiest, slightly-British-accented voice, “It’s not me.”


And then I kept walking. I didn’t slow down, didn’t change course, didn’t look back, didn’t in any way act like I had done anything.


A moment later my friend caught up with me. “You bastard! You set me up!”


As I said, I spoke just before I passed behind them. And he was behind me. They whipped their heads to the right, to see who had spoken… and I was already behind them to their left. However, standing right there, was my friend — who reported that they gave him looks that were a mix of shock, fear, surprise, and laughter. And he’s trying to tell them “it wasn’t me! It was him! It was that guy walking away, acting perfectly innocent!”


Truth to tell, my only intention was to mess with the girls’ heads a bit, give them a fun little story to tell about the strange guy in the Smithsonian. I never intended to leave it as a “land mine” that my friend would promptly step on.


Which, I think, makes it even better.


People horsing around in public never quite expect complete strangers to invite themselves into their little games. But by doing it in public, they are tacitly inviting us to comment or even participate.


And man, can it be fun to do just that…

"Job prospects for young Americans remain historically grim"
The Carter Parallels are becoming absurd