Idle hands are, as they say, often tools for the devil.
When I was in High School my friends and I frequently did things out of sheer boredom that, while really harmless, were often disturbing and sometimes of questionable legality. But they were funny… at least to us. I guess they could be considered pranks. Things on the scale of toilet-papering someone’s house, although usually less messy.
One type of activity that we used to entertain ourselves when we had clearly had too much caffeine was something we called a “Drop-off”. It was named thus because we would think up something, almost random, and drop it off on the doorsteps of people we knew.
Our very first drop-off involved goldfish.
Warning: If you are a member of PETA, you may want to stop reading this now.
We were going for the typical “Baby on the doorstep” thing here.
But, with fish.
It was wintertime, and our plan was to freeze goldfish into blocks of ice, and put them into tiny wicker baby baskets. We would then drop these baskets off on the doorsteps of our friends with a note like this:
Please take care of my pet goldfish Nippy. I have fallen on hard times and can no longer care for him. He deserves a better home than I can provide.
PS – Please take him in soon. It’s awfully cold out here!
Alas, by the time they got to Nippy, it would be too late. Damn them!
We found little wicker baskets and paper in a craft store.
Then, we got goldfish from the pet store.
Another Warning: For all the PETA members that didn’t heed my first warning. Please reconsider.
Now all we had to do was to freeze the goldfish.
The slippery little buggers were not being very cooperative though. You see, we were picky, and really wanted them to be in the center of the blocks of ice, but they kept moving. I am sure that today we could have figured out something a bit more clever but back then, to our adolescent brains, the answer was obvious…
The goldfish would actually need to be dead for this to work.
We had reached our first logistical problem. What’s the best way to quickly kill a dozen goldfish without damaging them?
Final Warning: Seriously now… Shouldn’t you be out pouring red paint on someone?
Our first idea was electrocution.
We dumped all the goldfish into a 5-gallon bucket and then dropped both leads of a car battery into the water. I don’t know what we were expecting. I suppose I was picturing sparks dancing across the surface of the water while all the goldfish were shaking violently in the throes of their deaths. But what really happened was… nothing.
We sat there for a while, staring at the bucketful of fish. Each one of them staring back defiantly; a few of them sticking up their middle-fins at us.
Not exactly what we were hoping for.
Not ones to be easily deterred, we moved onto Plan B which, if I remember correctly, was poison. The details are a bit fuzzy, but I think we may have used bleach, or perhaps ammonia. I am almost certain it was a cleaning product. But, even in reasonably high concentrations, it didn’t seem to be doing the job.
There were the goldfish, quite alive, tossing out gurgly insults about our mothers. It’s like they were taunting us. Saying “I was going to be eaten alive and slowly digested by a snake! You think household chemicals are going to kill me? Bring it, bitches!”
I don’t remember what else we tried. I think maybe they all eventually died from laughter.
But die they did.
And we got them frozen into little blocks of ice, pretty close to the center.
We tucked them into their baskets with the note attached.
And, finally, we dropped them off
After all that work, the drop-off itself was fairly anti-climactic. I wish there was something more exciting to report as the outcome of this endeavor. But, all we had really done was to secure our positions as “the weird kids” in the school.
I suppose we could have done worse.