The Humorless Twit, Now Serving Misfortune Cookies | January 2010


The Humorless Twit in the Army, circa 1985

The Humorless Twit in the Army, circa 1985

There was a small group of us who were practical jokers when I served in Germany during my time in the Army.

A lot of the other guys in our platoon didn’t like it because they were our victims.

Our ringleader—I’ll call him Bryan—could get nasty with his practical jokes. One of his favorites was to pour ammonia underneath people’s doors in the barracks. He did this once to the wrong guy and almost got into a serious fight.

I was supposed to be the butt—and I do mean, “butt”—of Bryan’s best practical joke ever.

We were out at the CAS site—every other week we rotated duties with other platoons to guard missiles at this remote site—and I had brought some chocolate-covered cookies for a snack. The cookies needed refrigeration and because there was only one community refrigerator at the CAS site, there they went.

I should’ve known better with Bryan around. You couldn’t leave anything unguarded for a second around him. Especially not anything with chocolate in it.

You see, Bryan’s favorite practical joke was to lace food with massive amounts of laxatives. Preferably, chocolate-flavored laxatives that could easily be hidden in something chocolaty and delicious.

After completing a three-hour shift on the guard towers, I came back to the guard shack and made a bee-line for the refrigerator and my chocolate-covered cookies. I opened up the box of cookies, pulled one out, and right before I bit into it I knew something was amiss.

I took a close look at the cookie and saw there was something wrong with the chocolate covering. The chocolate was too dark in spots, and it was clear that those spots had been added on AFTER I had bought the cookies.

My first reaction: I grabbed the box and dashed off to find Bryan to confront him angrily. Before I could find him, though, a second, more devious and sinister thought entered my mind.

“Hey, Bryan,” I said. I gave him my best angry stare but deep down inside I was laughing.

He looked at me with his perpetual grin and just asked “So, how’d you like your cookies?”

We both cracked up and I mockingly held up a fist. “You’re lucky I figured it out before I had one, you dumb SOB,” I said through a chuckle. “But I have an idea,” I added.

We had a tall, lanky guy in our platoon—call him Jefferson—who was often the mark of one of our practical jokes. For a while, I thought he was so easy I actually felt sorry for him and I stopped targeting him. But the situation I had in mind was practically made for Jefferson, who had a bad habit of stealing other people’s snacks (particularly sweets)…

“How about I leave these cookies in the fridge—you know sooner or later, Jefferson’s gonna steal a few,” I said.

Bryan’s face lit up. “Excellent idea!” he said.

I put the cookies back in the refrigerator and waited. It didn’t take long. Jefferson called me on the radio as I was on another three-hour guard shift.

“Hey Caderon,” Jefferson said (he’d always had trouble with the “l” in my last name), “can I have some of your cookies?”

I suppressed a laugh and said, “Sure, in fact, have as many as you want, Jefferson.”

“Okay, great, thanks man!” Jefferson replied.

As soon as my shift was over, I looked for Bryan to tell him the news. We shared a laugh and waited for the inevitable to happen.

It happened when Jefferson’s turn at guard duty came up. He had to be “relieved”—and I mean that in so many different senses of the word—at least four times during his three-hour shift. The Sergeant of the guard wasn’t amused. He suspected Bryan, but with me as the only witness and no other proof…

I saw Jefferson some time after his shift. “Hey Caderon,” he said, “don’t eat those cookies, man. I think someone put some laxative in them.”

I feigned ignorance, which was hard to do because EVERYBODY in our platoon knew about Jefferson’s misfortune. In fact, I started referring to the situation as “Jefferson’s misfortune cookies.”

“Really?” I asked in false wonder. “What happened?”

Jefferson explained how he’d eaten the whole box of cookies and how he’d had to go several times, both during and after his shift. It took every bit of strength I had not to break out into hearty laughter.

“Wow, I can’t believe it,” I said in mock surprise. “I’m glad you warned me, though.”

Jefferson’s misfortune cookies became the stuff of legend and to this day, if I run into someone from that time online, a mention of this practical joke is sure to garner some laughs.

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