Monday, April 1, 2013
Anatomy of a Con
You probably know, on one level or another, what I'm going to say, so I'm going to wait until the end to say it.
And at the risk of boring you with an overabundance of self-congratulation, let me just say that this one was perfect. It had a little bit of everything - shocking news, a voyeuristic peek behind the curtain, hints of salacious details, and over all, a con job worthy of the movies. To say nothing, by the way, of a textbook primer on how improvisation works, and why it's so effective when executed well.
The idea was born last year - a year ago today, in fact. I tried to run a weak-ass gag past you, when I announced to the world that my wife of (at the time) 18 years was asking me for a divorce. The more gullible among you were hooked like mackerel - stupid mackerel, it must be said - but most of you saw through the ruse with ease. I decided right then that next year's effort would be epic.
I talked to Josie and we hatched a plan (history does not record who had the basic idea) to have a very public, very ugly fight on our blogs. I rubbed my hands together with eager anticipation. It was a perfect plan. She would say something catty, I would overreact, and the fun would begin.
Well, life does in fact sometimes intrude upon the pulling off of a prank, and 2012 saw both of us remove ourselves from the ranks of the every day blogger. For my part, 2012 was a year of some pretty big changes - I managed to screw my head on straight, bury my dad, and point myself in a better direction, at least until October 2nd, at about 9:30 pm.
So when last week rolled around, and I remembered the plans we made last year, I called Josie and suggested that we run the con, with a few changes. Integral to the new plan was that it would take place in March, when guards were down.
I didn't really know exactly how things were going to go; I just knew that I would mention that Jo and I were estranged and imply that I didn't want to give out details. And then something wonderful and magical happened.
In improvisational comedy, there are a few rules to follow if you want things to go smoothly. One of them is, whatever you take, add something to it. Neither one of us had the faintest idea of what exactly we'd be fighting about when I wrote my post - my lack of detail wasn't just me pretending to be discrete.
But then Josie, taking what she got and adding to it, said that she called the cops on me - an absolutely brilliant detail. I took that and added the fact that she was drunk, and that she had given me a bruise. She took that and added the fact that she should have kicked me in the balls, which implied some kind of untoward behavior. I added some very specific details, like the peach vodka drinks (here's a rule to live by: if you're gonna lie, be specific), and a drunken misunderstanding of contact. Through my feigned anger I was chortling with glee.
One detail I think sold the whole thing was that I expressed dismay that details were being let out - that instead of being eager to tell the world of our ersatz set-to, I was reluctant to do so.
The only blemish on this prank was the fact that one of you figured it out, however belatedly. The "inch-high private eye" award goes to...........Cranky! She sent me an email basically saying "heyyyy.....wait just a cotton-pickin' minute here," in response to which I basically admitted things and asked for her silence on the matter. Congrats, Crankster, for sussing out the truth. All the rest of you, you can take the hooks out of your mouths now.
And just for the record, Jo and I are fine. The event we alluded to didn't even come close to taking place; in our long association together I've never once gone out drinking with her. She likes an only occasional drink, and I'm not a tippler at all.
Well, that's about it from me. Hope you enjoyed the bread and circus. And now I think it's time to say what you all knew I was going to say: APRIL FOOLS!!