Here’s a confession; I turned 47 last week and I still delight in making a good prank phone call. I know it’s illegal, and that there are probably a million ways to get past *67 and wind up in jail. I do have a healthy respect for the law and admit that I am a little afraid of my local paper displaying a headline that reads: Former Teacher Jailed for Crank Calling Wal-Mart, but that doesn’t stop me. It’s a sickness.
My obsession with phone play began at the ripe old age of eight, the year my mother began to work outside of the home. Instead of coming home to cookies and milk at my own house, my new after school plan was to have a snack at my friend Laura’s house and hang out there until my mom or dad arrived home. I was delighted! Laura’s mom was a very cool psychotherapist who dressed in hippie clothes and didn’t make us do our homework the minute we finished our snack like my mom did. One day, after growing bored with roller skating in Laura’s driveway, we ended up in her mother’s downstairs sewing room. It was just a small, musty room with stacks of folded cloth, a rack filled with multi-colored thread, jars filled with buttons and an old Singer sewing machine. It seemed stuffy and boring until Laura showed me the green push button phone mounted elegantly on the wall. She informed me that it was a private line and asked me if I wanted to make some prank calls. Although it was my first time, Laura had an older brother and was a seasoned pro at cranking. In mere minutes we were scanning the skinny phonebook of our small town looking for our first victims. If your last name was Assweiner, Grossman, or Butts we called you. Once we ran out of interesting last names we started on the ‘A’s and went through nearly the entire phonebook. There were no lame classics in our repertoire like, “Do you have Prince Albert in a can?” we were much more creative than that, or so we thought. We had three main cranking themes. They were: “I’m Dating your Husband,” “ Radio Station WASS Giving you a Chance to Win a Date with Charlie’s Angels,” and “Little Girl Trapped at Pizza Hut Needs you to find Her Mommy.” I’ll use “I’m Dating Your Husband as an example of how our cranks usually went down:
Unwitting Victim: Hello
Me: (In my sexiest 8 year-old voice) Hi, I’m Natasha (a name I thought sounded super classy at the time) and I’m sorry to tell you that I’m dating your husband. (At this point Laura and I are snorting back giggles and nearly peeing our pants.)
Unwitting Victim: You G.D. kids stop playing on the phone! (Click)
Sometimes the victim was funnier than we were:
Unwitting Victim: Hello
Me: (trying even harder to sound sexy with my limited knowledge of sex) Hi, I’m Misty, (not a classy name, but it has its allure) I have big, big breasts (I only knew the proper names for body parts.) and I’m really, really sorry to inform you that I’ve been dating your husband.
Unwitting Victim: Well good for you, Misty. He’s an old asshole! You can have him! (Tons of honking laughter after that one!)
Our pranking went on for nearly an entire school year until I came up with the bright idea of calling Andy Gibb, the pop star that Laura and I were madly in love with. Tiger Beat magazine had long ago informed us that he had spent his childhood in Australia, so we decided there would be the perfect place to begin our quest. Little did we know that there was a charge for international directory assistance, as well as a very large fee for calling five people in Sydney with the surname Gibb. When the phone bill arrived, our after school game soon became doing yard work to pay Laura’s parents back.
After my punishment was complete, I soon found myself in a rigorous after-school tennis program. Yet despite my mother’s warnings of jail time and other wicked punishments for cranking, I still couldn’t quell the desire to hear those first few rings, to hear that innocent “hello” and to experience the first stifled snickers of my friends as they listened in. The phone was my drug, and I was its slave. As soon as I turned 13 and was old enough to watch my little brother after school, the cranking began again. Like any good addict, I taught my brother to make calls with me, that way I was assured in his not tattling to the parental units. My evil plot worked and we cranked our way through high school without getting caught. The summer after graduation, I left for my state’s university, tearfully handing our tattered phonebook over to my brother, making him promise to continue our sordid legacy.
You might think that the advent of college would mature me, and make pranking less enticing, but you would be thinking incorrectly. I was blessed with a roommate who was just as silly as I was, and one night while having a few friends over for drinks, we decided to make some prank calls. It was free to call any phone on campus so we each took turns calling different dorms. When it was my turn, my friend Kevin suggested I call a neighboring guys dorm and tell them I was a phone sex operator calling to see if I could provide any services. With four Pabst Blue Ribbons in my system, Kevin’s suggestion seemed the logical thing to do. Here’s my fuzzy recollection of that call:
Unwitting Dorm Guy: Hello
Me: (doing my fairly decent Marilyn Monroe imitation) Hello, this is Trixie. (Yes, I got the name from Speedracer.) I’m calling from the campus sex line to see if there’s anything at all that I can do for you, if you know what I mean. (Mind you, I’m still a gigantic virgin at the time of this call!)
Unwitting Dorm Guy: Our campus has a sex line?
Kevin: (butting in) Tell him you’ll toss his salad!
Me: Yes we have a really hot sex line, and (having NO idea what this means) I make a really, really good salad!
Unwitting Dorm Guy: You do?
Kevin: (butting in again) Tell him you want a Dirty Sanchez!
Me: (to Kevin) What’s that?
Unwitting Dorm Guy: Kevin? Is that you? Hey, is that Kevin Peters? Hey Kevin!
Me: Oh, Shit! (Click!)
Long story short: “Unwitting Dorm Guy” was, by a stroke of fate, one of Kevin’s friends. He, of course, wanted to meet the girl with the sexy voice. After Kevin assured him that I was basically a very good girl and not at all like my alter ego, Trixie, Kevin introduced us. “Unwitting Dorm Guy” eventually became my college boyfriend, my first husband and the father of my two daughters. Glean from my experience with prank calling any advice or cautioning that you wish. But, I will warn you, cranking is like heroin and I have an itchy dialing finger.
**Readers, I invite you to share your prank phone call stories in the comments section. (Yes, I do realize it’s my addiction asking you to do this!)