I was making something and I needed a piece of smooth plastic about four inches square and about one eight inch thick. I had been through all the stuff in the garage and hadn’t found anything, so I was looking in the house. In Phyllis’ dish cupboard I found a good plastic dish that had a nice smooth bottom that would exactly fill my need.
I considered, “should I ask?” What if she says, “No?” Can I talk her into it? Maybe I should just go ahead and use it and explain later. I decided on this option so I took the plate out to the garage. Ordinarily I would have extracted the piece that I wanted by starting at the rim with my saber saw and cutting in to and around the desired piece, but before I started the cut, I had what I thought was a better idea. I would make a plunge cut just inside the protruding rim on the bottom of the plate and cut around inside that rim and get my piece out while leaving the outside of the plate intact.
At that time the thought came to me, “I can just put the remains of the plate back in the stack in the cupboard and it will look just like all the other plates in the stack!” And then another more bold thought came. I could leave it like that until Phyllis finds it! Wow! I’d like to see the expression on her face when she first sees it!”
So I cut and the plate and put the remnants back in the stack, and I watched as Phyllis would get plates out of the cupboard for dinner. It finally happened. She was carrying several plates, walking around the table putting them in place. She came to one that felt different and lifted it up and looked at it. I got to see her face just as I had said I wanted to. At first it was an expression of dismay and disbelief as she thought, “how can this be?” This expression quickly turned to an expression of anger and accusation, as she thought “HE DID IT!” She looked right at me and said: “How could you? My good dishes.”
I tried to explain. I said: “But I needed a piece of plastic just like that and it’s just a dish. I’ll buy you a new dish.” Then she said “But it’s a set.” So I said, “I’ll buy you a whole set.” All the time knowing that I couldn’t buy her a set or even one dish. I didn’t have any money! “WE” had some money but “I” didn’t have any money. If I buy her a dish, it will be with OUR money.
I don’t remember how we finally resolved it at the time, but I do remember that it took a while before she was able to see the humorous side of it and laugh about it.
I had seen the expression on her face as I had wanted to. The most pertinent description of what I saw was: Her face was still pretty even with that expression on it.
Over the years she became more lenient in allowing me to cut up her stuff for my projects. Like the plastic glasses that I would cut down to make ducts to go from the Dune Buggy carburetor to the air cleaner. The plastic glasses were just the right size and taper, and it was OK if I used them.
The moral to this story is: Regarding practical jokes: They probably won’t seem as funny to the victim as hey do to the perpetrator. At least not right at first.
Regarding the moral: Do I regret doing it? NO! It was a really neat trick! Even Phyllis finally admitted it.