This is the kind of practical joke I’ll throw my weight behind…

A few months ago our role-playing party was ambushed by a druid who turned most of our non-magical metal items into wood. Among the losses — Tim’s character “Irshad” lost his heirloom pair of matched masterwork scimitars. This became the impetus for us taking a contract to “learn more” about the druid (and eventually Irshad put a few rounds in his ten-ring.)

There’s the back-story.

Today Tim brought cheese. We ate it. He had to leave early, and the only utensil he’d brought for tearing into the gouda and brie was a nice Oneida flatware fork. As he was leaving he said “I’ll be back later — please don’t lose the fork. I need it.”

I said “because it’s a decent fork, or because it’s special?”

“My grandfather bought a matching set for me just before he died.”

“Ah,” I said. “Heirloom fork. We’ll take care of it.”

Indeed. The door had barely shut behind him before I was turning to our GM… “Drew,” I said… “We need to find a wooden fork.”

It turns out that flatware-sized wooden forks are hard to find on short notice. At the grocery store we picked up a box of nice plastic forks. Back at the Keep I gave it a coat of primer, and Drew began picking out colors.

Base-coating (a warm brown) took about three minutes. Another three minutes under a desk lamp and it was dry. Then Drew and I began painting wood-grain on it in “bleached bone” (a warm off-white). The phone rang. Tim was ready to be picked up back at his place (it was raining). Drew said “I’m in the middle of something… I’ll be there in about ten minutes.”

So… the two of us frantically painted wood-grain. Then we washed the whole fork with Chestnut Ink, which is a reddish-brown translucent color that provided common tone for the base-coat and the grain. Total painting time was maybe 15 minutes, start to finish.

Drew went to collect Tim. I gave the fork a coat of matte varnish (Krylon spray). And I have to say, it looked a LOT like a wooden fork.

When Tim arrived he plunked his stuff down and looked at the fork. “What’s THIS?” he asked, picking it up.

“Well,” I said… “We meant to take good care of your fork, but there was this druid…”

I hope Tim keeps the fork. Ten years from now it may be as much of an heirloom as that Oneida set. I mean, how often do your friends speed-paint something for you as part of a practical joke?

22 thoughts on “This is the kind of practical joke I’ll throw my weight behind…”

  1. How often is it that your friends come up with something like that, much less actually go through the trouble to pull it off!?

  2. As another miniatures painter, I salute you. If my friends did this to me, I’d be honored, after the confusion passed about whether to be annoyed or amused.

  3. I don’t understand anything about RPGs (I keep thinking “rocket propelled grenades?”) but this was a wonderful story. Just the perfect sort of practical joke that will live a long time in story and song.

    1. Considering the speed with which we painted the plastic one, and the time that has passed since I last whittled anything, I’m pretty sure our way was easier. Also, it allowed two people to work at once without cutting each other.

  4. Both you and that story are made completely out of awesomeness. And what makes it even better is that unlike most practical jokes no one needed ot be injured or humiliated to make it funny. I would suggest that ti would be entertaining to stretch it out into a running gag over the course of two or three picnic/parties with plastic flatware. Prep a few to look like wood in advance then switch them when he isn’t looking. Cue “Oh No, a druid must have snuck in” comments.

  5. As an FYI, Whole Foods sells disposable bamboo flatware. The painting stunt makes this story true comedy gold, but if you want to dink around with “wooden” utensils some more, that’s about as close as you get barring paying big bucks for hand-made.

  6. As they say in my native country: “Pics or it didn’t happen.” (Yes, I’m from wint’ry Cyberia.)

    The best practical jokes are the ones that have time, care and effort put into them. I reckon the folk up above that don’t really like practical jokes are more familiar with their meaner not-really-a-joke-insomuch-as-thinly-veiled-loathing cousin.

  7. Heh..

    Ya know.. the best stuff happens like that.. spontaneously and perfectly.

    BTW, I’m in SLC until tomorrow evening.. Resetting the logbook. sideband at livejournal dot com if ya have a few and want to visit.

Comments are closed.