Click here for Video of Jack’s prank!
It will surprise precisely no one who knows us that the heat went out of the truck en route to Mimi’s in Houston for Christmas. Luckily we had the three dogs with us so it was literally a three-dog-night. On wheels. Christmas Day. We stopped in Nacogdoches for coffee and further orchestrated the Fed Ex charade (sha-rrodd) we were playing on Mimi with our surprise early arrival.
None of the gifts I sent my Mom via Fed Ex actually made it to Mullins. NO doubt this woman was kicking her restless leg in the air on the sofa by 6:57 the Saturday our delivery man supposedly rang the doorbell. (Personally, I envision the guy who drops the TV over the 5 foot fence and scurries off) Subsequently my Mother had NOTHING to open from me on Christmas Day. Jesus’ Birthday, no less and the woman who bore ME was gift less. As a daughter the thought of your widow Mother not opening a gift from you on December 25th is anathema. So after our Shreveport Christmas gift openings and dinner we packed up Ramstein and hatched our plan.
Because I never learned how to let upended plans, knocked-over wedding cake or undelivered gifts to the woman who plans for months what the 16 of her offspring will receive get the last word, something radically fabulous was in order. And oh yea, Jack delivered a grand slam performance. If the highest form of flattery is imitation, there is a heroically awkward Fed Ex guy with scruffy goatee and a speech impediment whose buttons should be busting. Jack nailed you awkward Fed Ex guy.
Since there is no costume shop open on December 25th, (go figure) I improvised. Poverty teaches you to be resourceful and you don’t have two babies on a missionaries’ salary and not learn a thing or two. I scoured the house for Halloween wigs but they were long since donated and probably hanging in some third-world market I had seen on 60 minutes by now. After cranking out the Christmas ham, the faux fur of a Christmas stocking caught my peripheral vision. I knew instantly in my soul depths that this trim married with a healthy wad of double-sided tape was just the eyebrow/ sideburn/ goatee of my dreams and of my 16-year-old’s nightmares.
He went full boar on it. Armed with the actual Fed Ex receipt from the defunct delivery attempt, clip board and BIZARRE questions we arrived at Mimi’s with nothing to lose. John, God love this man, parked a block away as not to give away our true identity. I left a message at 9:30 that the new delivery had been delayed but they promised to be there by 10 p.m. with something from me but she would have to sign. I roped Brother Brink into my ruse and he told her she needed to sign for the gift.
I was hidden around the corner with phone at the perfect angle to video Mimi in her post-bath, disoriented glory. Jack rang the doorbell and I let out a muffled laugh of absurdity as often pops out right before a hysterical plan unfolds. Mimi hesitantly opened the door and immediately was taken aback by the hunched-over appearance of the “Fed Ex Employee.” After teaching non-verbal communication on an adjunct basis for DBU, i knew how important the props were. I ironed-on FED EX letters on an old ski cap and sweatshirt and knew that those would temporarily trick Mimi into buying the weirdo’s story.
Jack secured Mimi’s signature for the poinsettia and proceeded to ask a battery of questions, each one more bizarre than the next. He began with your son “Jimmy Henson” who sent a package from Albuquerque and addressed the package to “Mim” Richardson. Which she corrected to Mimi then finally for safety sake let it go with the wave of the hand. He proceeded to butcher my name, calling me Jimmy and Janie before snickering. Mimi reacted by inching backward and drawing the front door to more of a closed position. Then she asked him if he was ok after he snickered. He responded with some story about his buddy “Joe,” being in a “predicament.” Oh my… the improv! Eventually Mimi through furrowed brow asked, “Jack. Is that you?” and the gig was up.
But the gig of punking my poor Mother was enough to be watched 18.7K times on Facebook. How crazy is that? If only we would’ve foisted the unedited version out there in cyber space! So, frozen or not, we arrived to surprise my poor, unsuspecting Mother on Christmas Night, It was a BLAST. So even an epic Fed Ex fail does not have to mean an epic Christmas fail. It may just be the perfect set up for a hilarious stunt. And clearly we do all our own.