If you believe the axiom “Idle hands are the Devil’s tools,” you’ll understand when I confess that the endless hours I spent in church pews and on the road to Revival with my evangelical father were breeding grounds for many a devilish prank. In honor of Robyn Schneider’s* BETTER THAN YESTERDAY Prank Contest, I’ll tell you one of my favorites.
We drove into Lake Charles, Louisiana on a sweltering summer day – several days beyond our last baths and hundreds of miles past our last meal. Around sundown, my father steered the car into the parking lot of a small, steepled church with a dilapidated sign advertising the Revival services planned for that evening. He went inside to partake of the church fellowship and Southern hospitality, leaving my mother and us six children – restless, grimy, hot and hungry – outside to fend for ourselves.
We took turns poking our heads inside the propped-open windows at the back of the church, hoping someone would notice us and wave us inside. Meanwhile, the pastor and my father took turns at the pulpit, whipping up the congregation with call-and-response admonitions to come to Jesus and denounce the Devil. The organist punctuated the high points of their sermon with her keyboard as the congregants raised their faces and hands to heaven, their voices to God.
Famished and cranky from having spent many long hours cooped up in tight quarters, we struggled mightily to behave. Those of us who were too short to peer over the windowsills swatted mosquitoes and punched each other for the slightest provocation. As sundown turned into twilight, we finally found a diversion: a swarm of frogs, croaking and hopping across the parking lot! With a wicked grin on her face, my mother scooped up a handful, dropping them through the window onto the church floor and motioning us to follow her example.
Soon, several hundred frogs were making a joyful noise unto the Lord, hopping down the aisles and up the skirts of kneeling women. Worshippers, who’d been singing and dancing in the spirit only minutes before, now found themselves shouting and writhing in the aisles for an altogether different reason.
Think you can compete with my story? If so, you should enter the contest yourself! The rules are simple: write a description of the best prank you ever pulled, or the best prank you ever wanted to pull,** post it in your blog along with the rules to this contest and email the link to robynschneider at yahoo dot com with the subject line “prank contest.” The contest is open NOW to US residents only and ends on February 5th at Noon EST. And yes, there are PRIZES!
*Full disclosure: Robyn’s my friend, but I’m confident that each contest entry will be judged on its own merits. Which, of course, means I’ll win.
**For the record: I don’t think you should be eligible unless you actually executed the idea, proving yourself clever and courageous in real life, not just in your own mind. Heh.