Caller ID Ruined Everything

My friend Spencer was the youngest of seven or eight kids, and even though his older brothers were mostly married with children, they were always popping in and out of Spencer’s house, which was where we hung out a lot of the time.  Spencer’s brothers were the funniest people I had ever met, and we aped their sense of humor pretty shamelessly. But they passed something else on to us that was even more influential than their sense of humor, and that was their incurable affection for pranks.

Spencer’s brothers’ love of pulling pranks was exceeded only by the skill and ingenuity with which they pulled them.  We were eager to learn this dark art that they had mastered, and they saw us as willing apprentices capable of carrying on their legacy.  Although they were capable of giving expression to their genius through a variety of forms, their preferred medium was the prank call.  And we’re not talking “Is your refrigerator running” prank calls.  I’ll give you two examples:

One Saturday night at 9 or 10 PM a few of us were hanging out at Spencer’s house with two of his brothers.  We were a little bored and started talking over a few prank calls we could make.  I don’t remember whose idea it was, but I know that it involved calling DDDT’s own Christian, who at this point was around 13 or 14.  The following is my best recollection of that conversation:

Spencer’s Brother:  Hello, may I speak to Christian?

Christian:  This is him.

Spencer’s Brother:  Hello, Christian, this is Brother Jorgensen, the stake executive clerk.  How are you?

Christian:  Um, fine.

Spencer’s Brother:  Wonderful.  Christian, I’m calling on behalf of the Stake Presidency.  They’ve asked me to request that you give a talk in Stake Conference.

Christian:  Um, ok.

Spencer’s Brother:  It shouldn’t be too difficult, just a talk on the oath and covenant of the priesthood.

Christian:  Ok.  How long?

Spencer’s Brother:  Between 40 and 45 minutes.

Christian:  40 to 45 minutes?

Spencer’s Brother:  Yes.

Christian:  Wow.  Ok.

Spencer’s Brother:  Great, we really appreciate it.

Christian:  Oh, by the way, when is Stake Conference?

Spencer’s Brother:  Oh, I apologize, I assumed you knew that it was tomorrow.

Christian:  Tomorrow?  (At this point the panic in Kook’s voice is audible.)

Spencer’s Brother:  Yes, tomorrow at 10 AM.  We’d need you there at 9 AM.  Will that be a problem?

Christian:  . . . . . . . . . . No.  I can do that.

Spencer’s Brother:  Wonderful.  We really appreciate it.

It took us about 10 minutes to collect ourselves, at which point we began trying out this amazing new bit on everyone we could think to call.  After an hour or so minutes I realized that Kook still had no idea that the whole thing was a prank and was at home laboring away on a 45 minute talk.  I called home and he picked up, but before I could even say anything I burst out laughing, causing him to realize he’d been pranked.  He exclaimed in anger – and this part is word for word, because I remember it so vividly – “Davis!!!!!  I’ve been crying!!!!!!”  I had been, too.

This prank mutated and evolved into something truly beautiful, the highest expression of which I am about to share with you.  Frequent DDDT commenter Jeff is the older brother of my childhood friend Matt.  Jeff was one of Ryan’s best friends, and the four of us were in the same ward growing up.  I can’t for the life of me remember why Spencer, Matt, and I decided to prank Jeff that night.  It was just his turn, I guess.  And so one Saturday evening we had one of Spencer’s brothers give Jeff a phone call, a paraphrased transcript of which you will find below:

Spencer’s Brother:  Hi, Jeff, it’s Brother Stephenson, executive secretary to the bishop.  How are you?

Jeff:  Good, thanks, how are you?

Spencer’s Brother:  Great, thanks for asking.  Jeff, I’m not sure if you’re aware of this or not, but the bishop is quite concerned about the youth in our ward.

Jeff:  Oh, I didn’t know that.

Spencer’s Brother:  Well, he is.  Very concerned.  He believes many of the youth are falling prey to a lot of different temptations, and he believes there is a common thread running among them.  Do you know what that is, Jeff?

Jeff:  . . . . I don’t.

Spencer’s Brother:  Peer pressure, Jeff.  Peer pressure.

Jeff:  Ok.

Spencer’s Brother:  The bishop is trying to figure out how to help the youth withstand peer pressure, and felt like you may have some thoughts to share on that topic.  Everyone in the ward knows that you’re a popular young man who does well in school, excels athletically, and is the recipient of plenty of attention from the young ladies.  He knows how much the youth of the ward look up to you, and he feels that if you were to share your thoughts on how to avoid temptation and peer pressure that it could really have quite an impact.

Jeff:  Oh, I’d be happy to.

Spencer’s Brother:  Wonderful.  We know it’s short notice, but we’re hoping you could do that tomorrow.

Jeff:  Tomorrow?

Spencer’s Brother:  Yes, for about 30 to 40 minutes, give or take.

Jeff:  . . . Um, yes, I think I could do that.

Spencer’s Brother:  Fantastic.  Oh, and Jeff, the bishop wants this to be a surprise for the youth, so if you could, please don’t come up to the stand until the sacrament has been served.  Once the deacons are sitting down just walk up to the podium and join the bishop on the stand.

Jeff:  Ok, will do.

Well, needless to say that I tossed and turned that entire night, debating whether what we had done was excessively cruel.  Just kidding.  I just couldn’t sleep because I was so excited for the next day.  Morning finally came, and I headed to church, where Spencer and Matt joined me.  Each minute of the first part of sacrament meeting lasted a decade.  Finally, the sacrament ended, and the deacons and priests spread out to join their families in the pews.  The moment of truth arrived, and it did not disappoint.  Jeff popped up like a gopher and walked quickly to to the stand, ascending the steps and taking his seat next to the bishopric just as one of the counselors walked up to the podium to conduct the meeting.

Jeff gave the bishop a knowing smile, which the bishop met with a quizzical gaze.  Jeff leaned over and said something to the effect of, “Just let me know when you want me to speak.”  The bishop responded by saying, “But you’re not supposed to speak.”  Jeff then said, “But Brother Stephenson called me and asked me to speak for 30 minutes about peer pressure.”  The bishop smiled and said, “Jeff, I think you’ve been spoofed.”  Gracious in humiliation, Jeff smiled and walked back down to his seat, noting that the entire congregation was staring at him, with the exception of three young men who had buried their faces in their hands and seemed to be crying.

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30 Responses to Caller ID Ruined Everything

  1. Ashley says:

    I’m going to make sure my boys don’t read this blog…that is so mean! Poor little Jeff!

  2. Eliza says:

    Oh my word. Those are so so mean and so so funny. The image of 14 year old knucklehead chris crying is heartbreaking, and yet so funny I can’t even stand it. This needs to be a series, I’m sure you have a lot more.

  3. Schmeff says:

    Geez at least you told Kook before he made a horses butt of himself. I wish I could’ve seen my face, I mean Jeff’s face. It must have been a face of total confusion and total relief all at the same time.

    Funny you should bring that up because I got a call from one of Spencer’s brothers just a couple of weeks ago trying to get me again. Didn’t work this time. Spence recorded it so if you want to listen to it give him a call.

    The benefit of all of this is that whenever I get asked to speak in church I just say “Um, yes, I think I could do that.” Then I don’t go to church because I just know you guys are pranking me again.

  4. Landon says:

    That is so awesome! i love good pranks, and that is by far one of the best i’ve ever heard. i love the line “Davis, I’ve been crying”. i love it because if someone used that prank on me today I would start crying. Using one’s faithfulness against them for a prank, brilliant!

  5. Macy Bell says:

    hilarious. I am now taken back to so many of you and your friends pranks. Weren’t they called year book calls or something? I remember a Quinney Gardner one specifically.

  6. Lindsay says:

    Davis seriously all I can think of is……AMC Pacer!

  7. Ben Pratt says:

    Heartlessly hilarious!

  8. Danica says:

    Oh my gosh, I haven’t laughed that hard in a while. Heartlessly hilarious is right. “Davis, I’ve been crying” is so sad and so funny at the same time. Landon is right – using one’s faithfulness against them is a brilliant way to succeed. And I thought I was cool calling 1-800 Flowers from a pay phone, asking for a bouquet of black roses.

  9. InkMom says:

    Okay, I don’t usually do this . . . but I wrote a post about my husband’s pranking exploits up at the BYU. Read it here if you’re interested:

    http://imnotcrazymommy.blogspot.com/2009/10/terror-of-chipman-hall-or-why-my.html

    When he was at BYU, hiis younger (twin) brothers once filled out tons of little mail-in cards with his address and phone number on them. Shortly thereafter, he began receiving information and free samples from Rogaine, pre-Viagra male enhancement products, and feminine hygiene items, not to mention frequent calls from armed forces recruiters. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving.

    There’s definitely something to be said for pranks that you can pull off well from a distance — as though the miles separating you from your victim somehow makes your hands a little less dirty.

  10. Charlotte says:

    Too funny. I remember my husband calling his sister to tell her she didn’t get the right shots for their dog and were going to get this huge fine. We were rolling on the floor. I don’t remember how old we were, but we had at least 2 kids at the time.

  11. Rebecca Bell says:

    oh my gosh, that’s awesome. and, we thought we were cool calling 1-800 flowers and ordering 16 dozen water lilies. wow, i haven’t laughed that hard in a looong time. christian crying… wow. thank you.

  12. Andrea W. says:

    As sad as I feel for Christian and Jeff, I almost choked on my laughter this morning. “Davis, I’ve been crying!” is just a classic and gets funnier everytime I hear this story. Jeff, you are a good man to still be talking to these guys! So, so, so funny. I agree you need to do several posts on more of these and the Matthews’ pranks. Great stuff.

  13. Davis says:

    Ashley, I’m going to make sure my boys don’t read this blog, too, so you’re in good company.

    Eliza, I’m with you on the funny, not as much on the heartbreaking.

    Jeff, I’d be curious to know if my version of the events matches your own. And honestly, it made my day knowing the Spencer’s brothers are still pranking people.

    Landon, I’d never thought of it as using someone’s faithfulness against them, but I guess that’s exactly what we did. That reminds me of a story about my Mom and fasting and our dog Glory . . .

    Macy, ah, yearbook calls. I need to write something up about those. And yes, there was one to Quinn, though I can’t remember who made it.

    Lindsay, hi! I almost wrote about the shocker in the back of the Pacer!

    Ben, is there any other kind of hilarity? Yes, I guess there is. But the heartless kind is the most hilarious.

    Danica, your story about calling 1-800-Flowers (which Rebecca seems to have been doing as a kid as well) reminded me of my freshman year, when I knew a bunch of guys who had a pay phone outside their window. They’d go out, cover the ear piece in Vaseline, go back to their apartment, call the number of the pay phone, and watch some schmuck pick it up and put it against his ear. Good times.

    Charlotte, having kids is no reason to stop pulling pranks. Well, maybe it is, but I don’t intend to let it affect me.

    Rebecca, note Christian’s absence in the comments here. Pretty obvious he’s still a little tender.

  14. Amber says:

    Oh my goodness! I sent this to my husband so he could have a good laugh for the day. Too much.

  15. Jeff says:

    I remember it a little differenlty Davis. I thought you did the prank the same night you got Kook. It’s just that you told Kook and then Matt failed to mention it to me as I stayed up until 2 or 3 in the morning working on my talk. I didn’t remember the topic I was given, I also thought it was Stake Conference and that I went up to President Ostler before it started. I also don’t remember my inflated ego being stroked like you wrote it. I must have eaten that up. That is what I remember but my memory on that is a little foggy. I may have had a minor stroke from the utter confusion caused by the prank.

  16. Ryan says:

    I do know that classic line “I think you’ve been spoofed,” is the way it was told for the last couple decades. One of my favorite lines ever.

    Sad to be spoofed in Sacrament meeting.

  17. ron says:

    This reminds me of the time my friends convinced me that the stake president wanted to hear my thoughts on why the singles ward age limit should be raised. The fairest maiden in all the land couldn’t inspire me to pen more heartfelt words than the page and a half I crafted pleading the cause of hopelessly single 31 year olds. With friends like mine, who needs enemies…

  18. Christian says:

    It was a rude joke then, it’s a rude joke still.

    My favorite part of that story–a part you didn’t tell–was when you also called my childhood friend and pulled the same prank. He hadn’t had the “never turn down a calling from your church leader” ethic pounded into him quite as thoroughly as I. So when his fake stake president asked him to do the talk the next day he simply replied “No, I’m not going to be at Stake Conference tomorrow.”

  19. tyler says:

    that was totally awesome !

  20. Squewtip says:

    And Chris still speaks to you Davis? Ruthless man.

    One prank call that we always favored was to go to my parents office call two different people at the same time then conference the lines.

    Line 1: Hello

    Line 2: Hello

    Line 1: Yea heellloooo

    Line 2: How can I help you?

    Line 1: what? why are you calling?

    Line 2: you called me.

    Line 1: no, my phone was ringing.

    and on and on it would go . . .

    It makes me sad that my kids will never know the joy of prank calls.

  21. bells says:

    Great story Davis. I can imagine in my mind Christian beside himself with fear and worry about talking for 45 minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a 14 year old talk for more than 2 minutes and it is usually something cut out of the friend or some other church mag.

    Thanks for the belly laughs.

    Skew–That sounds fantastic. Maybe I’ll have to try that one sometime.

  22. Serene says:

    I think I would have killed you in your sleep.

    Although, I did laugh heartily upon reading this. =)

  23. Joyce Woolf says:

    Really can’t stop laughing. Had my daughter put the tv on pause just to read it to her. Reminded me of the time a former bishop of mine told me that when he was in high school he had become very skilled at hypnotizing people as an “act” and sometimes they weren’t aware of it. Consequently he decided to hypnotize his older sister so that while she was giving a talk in Sacrament meeting, everytime she looked at him he touched his nose and it made her yawn. Needless to say she couldn’t get through the talk because she was yawning with every other word.
    I love these stories.

  24. Spencer says:

    Davis,

    I enjoyed the stroll down memory lane. However, maybe I am remembering incorrectly, but wasn’t Kook’s topic something about Eternal Marriage? I had forgotten about the line, “I think you’ve been spoofed” and found myself in tears I was laughing so hard.

    Who could also forget the call to Alene Nielson from Matt’s young men’s leader about how he had caught Matt toilet papering his home. He then told Alene that “he was understanding because kids will be kids–every kid goes toilet papering”. “But, when he defecated on my doorstep, Matt went too far!” Alene then got off the phone furious and said, “Matt, you defecated on our neighbor’s doorstep?”

    Those are classics!

  25. Ally says:

    I once called a dear sweet sister who typed the patriarchal blessings for her husband patriarch, pretending to be from the church head quarters, explaining there were just too many errors in her tranuscripts and we couldn’t have that. She was horrified. Her daughter put me up it! It was mean! She never forgave me! It was hilarious!

  26. Braden says:

    Oh Dave, I am with you. Prank calls were so much fun back in the day. That was hilliarious. My heart is breaking for poor Kook and Jeff, but my throat hurts from laughing so hard.

  27. notyourkind says:

    Interesting that so much humor is gained from deception and humiliation.

  28. Clar says:

    Davis, I’m a friend of Danica’s. I could not in good consciousness leave this site without telling you added a few years to my life from laughing so hard. Caller ID really did ruin everything.

  29. Zack says:

    Dude, that is the best prank I’ve ever heard. How embarrassing. “Just let me know when you want to hear my expertise.” Why was prank calling so scary to me? I always thought someone would find out who I was and track me down–like it was the biggest rush. There was a guy in my ward who liked to call people’s cell phones when they were giving the opening/closing prayers just to throw you off a little…very nice moves.

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