So… do you remember a couple weeks ago, I mentioned the nasty dried salted plums I had purchased one day at lunch? How I was excited because I thought I’d found what my acupuncturist had given me, only to discover that whatever she had given me was vastly different from what I’d ended up buying?
Well, what I did was, I put those things in my desk drawer at work and ignored them. I wasn’t sure what I was gonna do with them, but I thought maybe there was something I could do to save them. I just had to work up my courage. I pulled one out the other day and thought I’d give it another go. My strategy was to rinse the salt off it with water. Should come right off, I thought, and I wouldn’t have wasted the dollar I’d spent on them. You know me and my Money Hump.
It didn’t work. In fact, it fused the salt on it, as if I had used gorilla glue — that salt wasn’t coming off. No way, no how. How on earth do they make those things? On second thought, never mind. Don’t tell me. I’m scared to know. If they can paint a donkey to look like a zebra and stand it on the street corner in Tijuana, then I don’t even want to know how they make shriveled up plums with salt super glued on.
I was just about to drop the bag in the trash can and be done with it and, then, like the proverbial light bulb over the head, an idea dinged into my brain.
I could pull a joke on one of our IT guys! I knew that the particular fellow I wanted to play the joke on would never try those things if I gave them to him directly, but he would if I gave them to the guy whose desk is next to his. So I called up Jason* and asked him to come over to my office. I pulled out the bag of nasty plums and told him the story of how nasty I thought they were and said, “Do you think you could get Ansel* to eat these if you tell him they’re the yummiest things on the planet?” Jason smiled and said, “Sure!”
I handed the bag off to him with the promise that he would call me with the results. Jason called me five minutes later and told me that when he showed the bag to Ansel, he said, “Where’d you get those saladitos? Can I have them?” And nearly snatched them away from him.
A couple hours later, Ansel called me to thank me. I figured the whole thing was a reverse spoof — that they were conspiring to pull a joke on me, that he hated them, but didn’t want me to know. Because, really, how could anyone like those things? So, I walked over to see for myself and he had the bag sitting in a prominent location on his desk with only four of them left in the bag. To prove how happy he was with my “gift”, he took one and popped it in his mouth and leaned back momentarily in his chair with a look of bliss on his face. I shook my head in disbelief.
He said, “I lived in Mexico for a couple years and I love all their candy! Saladitos are one of my favorites… in fact, when I saw the bag I started salivating just a little bit!” he continued by saying, “If you get through the salt to the plum — that’s really good, a little sweet after the salty.” He paused while I gagged at his description, then continued, “And if you get through the plum to the seed, you can break through the outer seed to the inner seed and that’s tasty, too.” He smiled happily as he popped another wrinkled salt pill into his mouth.
All I could think was, they call that “candy”?
Turns out, he actually would have taken them if I had given them directly to him.
I found myself laughing as I walked back to my office… talk about a practical joke backfiring. But… it ended well, because I had wanted to get rid of those things without wasting them. I had also hoped to get entertainment out of it. I accomplished those two things and made someone happy in the process. It was the “happy” part I wasn’t expecting… guess I need to know my target a little better next time.
Have to say, though, I sure do work with an interesting bunch of people.
*Names have been changed to protect the guilty.