Sunday, June 26, 2011

Acting on my own bungee accord - 6/27/2011

This will be the final installment of the practical joke/prank series. It is not that I don’t have more foolishness to relate to you; it is that I want to move on to another topic that has come to mind. Unfortunately, I have little control over what my fractured and fragmented mind will produce and when. I have to grab an idea when my memory proposes it, or it is gone, sometimes forever. Such as it is with insanity.

Most of my past antics were not the result of meanness or malice, but the consequences of boredom and world-weariness. This is totally the case with the one I am relating in this posting.

In all Air Force maintenance organizations, there is one common necessity; bungee cord. It was as essential as duct tape to a redneck and we had reels of it. Though I am not mechanically inclined, whatsoever, I have created many interesting uses for this magical material. This is the story of one of those uses. When I was working in missile maintenance I was always looking for a release from the tedium. Sometimes these releases were the result of bad judgment. This was one of those times:

One day there was a munitions squadron staff meeting and I volunteered to stay in the shop and “man the phones,” which translated to taking a nap in the break room and/or reading from our stash of magazines that objectify women. I soon tired of relaxing and searched for something to do. That is when I am most prone to mischief.

I decided that it might be fun to rig a booby trap to spring on my returning co-workers. The entrance to the missile bay from the office area was a huge blast door that slides open on rollers. I stretched a bungee cord from the inside handle of the door all the way to the back of the missile bay. I tied the cord to a wet mop head and pulled it as taut as the elasticity of the cord would allow. So essentially I had extended a 75 foot cord to about 100 feet. It was stretched to the max. I don’t recall exactly how I secured the mop head but with all the equipment available, it was not a challenge. There was a hair trigger so that any movement of the door would release the mop head.

I had barely gotten the apparatus rigged up when I got the call that the crew was at the gate. I had to buzz them in. As a result I didn’t get to function test my device, but I was confident it would work as designed.

As the door slid open, I only had a split second to realize that it was not only my co-workers entering the missile bay, but the officer in charge of the munitions storage area and another Captain that I did not know, though would soon enough.

Another instant reality was that I had totally underestimated the velocity that a bungee cord that length would generate. Suddenly, a 45 mile per hour, soaking, mop head was screaming towards my court martial. Luckily, my lack of knowledge of physics caused the mop head to slam into the door handle that it was tethered to, narrowly missing the entourage. Had it hit someone directly, it would have knocked them down like a Nolan Ryan fastball. There was a loud report (never good in an explosive environment) and a significant splash, but no actual casualties. Well, other than my humiliation as I had to explain “just what the fuck was I thinking.”


Jeff Manes said...

Nothing a like a practical joke that make your commanding officers appreciate you're on their side. I could tell some pranks I've pulled as a cop, but there are still a couple guys that haven't retired yet.

Nadja said...

Ya gotta love a good practical joke,!

ladydayton said...

I see you do not do well with idle time. But you do manage to crack me up.

orionsbow said...

Hmmm, that was pure genius, in a potentially career ending way. Do you have any good ones about lit firecrackers in the missile bay? Or bursting paper bags? I can imagine that even sudden head fakes in that tense environment would result in wrecked nerves and frequent trips to the base dispensary. Nonetheless funny stuff!

Chris said...

Oh man! That could have been bad!