….of my Chad Shackleford call (to Tom Scharpling’s “The Best Show On WFMU”) by the thorough and thoroughly awesome people at www.recidivism.org
(Earles’ note: The following text is approximately 1,931% larger than my pre-call notes)
“Not a long time listener but first time caller Chad Shackleford checks in from his deck to chat about the upcoming July 4th holiday. Tom tells him that he’ll be spending the day with family, and Chad wishes him the best of luck. Tom says he doesn’t need it, but Chad needs quite a bit of it because of his family’s biggest flaw: they are really, really, really, really irritating. While many people have a family member or two that they butt heads with, all of them irritate Chad to no end. The chief irritant is his Aunt Jackie, whose offenses include being old, incessant nagging, and, especially, constantly worrying. Aunt Jackie elevates the smallest of things to the level of castrophe, a trait common to Chad’s older female relatives. He can’t dance with that and likes to take action. Chad piled his wife and three kids into the car for a 3.5-hour drive to a small Shackleford family reunion over the Memorial Day holiday. One morning, Aunt Jackie wanted to go to one of the area outlet malls. To everyone’s surprise, Chad volunteered to take her. A few others wanted to go, but Chad insisted that it was just the two of them, fooling them into believing that he wanted to spend quality time with her.
Aunt Jackie has a loose grasp on her mental faculties, so she was an easy target for Chad’s ulterior motives for the supposed shopping jaunt. Chad drove 80 miles away and left his aunt in the parking lot of a small, rural convenience store because she was really getting on his nerves. Tom wonders how this will address the core issues, and Chad said it would at least put her out of irritation range. Chad is not sure if she ever made it back home safely and worked up a story to explain why she did not return with him. He claimed that she got carsick en route to the outlets, so he went ahead and took her to her house, which is not far from the family gathering site. Nobody suspected anything until after they got home from the reunion.
Chad explains that he does this stuff all the time to entertain himself and considers it a funny prank that helps him deal with the familial annoyances. He also does “lighthearted pranks” to his wife and kids to get through the day. He has a fairly lax, stress-free corporate job that grants him some free time during the day. For about a week or two, Chad would put pantyhose and a wool cap on his head and return to his house. He’d peek in the windows and spy on his wife as she was doing the dishes or milling about the bedroom. She was understandably convinced it was a Peeping Tom, but it was in fact her merry prankster husband. She’d call the police, who would then call Chad at work. He’d race home and pretend to be surprised, determined to track down (“We’re gonna get this guy!”) the perpetrator.
His wife was freaked out, but Chad thought the whole thing was hilarious. Tom thinks it’s terrible to put fear into his family and thinks he has a twisted sense of humor. Chad insists that he’s just executing harmless pranks, including some aimed specifically at his two youngest kids, ages 3 and 6. They are into children’s programming, so Chad will tell them it’s time to watch their shows. They’ll run in expecting their favorites like The Wiggles and SpongeBob SquarePants, but, unfortunately for them, Chad will have something cued up that is far from kid-friendly. The content includes the dog explosion scene in John Carpenter’s The Thing, a film that deeply disturbed Tom, and the head explosion scene in David Cronenberg’s Scanners. He also once told them that he had rented Babe 2: Pig In The City, but he actually had the ultraviolent, Normandy invasion scene from in Saving Private Ryan cued up.
Tom wants to know what he has against his children that would make him trick them into seeing such graphic violence. Chad claims he has nothing against them and just likes to play jokes on them. Tom wants him to define “joke”. Chad defines it in the form of a story about taking the kids to Chuck E. Cheese. They wanted to listen to Top 40 or some kids music, so Chad played Morbid Angel at full blast the entire way there. Tom doesn?t understand why he finds the stuff funny and disputes his claims that he is simply a prankster. Tom believes he’s a sociopath with a demented sense of humor that is damaging his children. Chad thinks his kids are good sports about it and tries to illuminate this with another tale of his hijinks. He has a company car that he keeps at the office, so his kids have not really seen it. They are on summer break, playing in the neighborhood — the 3- and 6-year-old stay close to the yard, while the 9 year old is granted a bit more range to roam about. When he gets to work, he?ll go into the breakroom and take take every condiment — ketchup, mustard, mayo, vinegar, etc. — out of the refrigerator and mix it into one of those 64-ounce, Big Gulpy cups along with mushed-up lunches of co-workers to create a vile, liquified atrocity. He?ll put the pantyhose over his head, don a ski-mask, put on some different clothes, and get back in the company car to drive where his kids are playing. Once he spots them, he?ll throw the mixture on them. He says it?s really funny and the looks are their faces are hard to believe. The 6-year-old wears glasses, so the goop blinded him.
Tom thinks he?s gross and needs help; Chad thinks Tom lacks a sense of humor and only needs help in the form of new prank ideas. He got a pro massage the other day and when the massuese left the room, he dug $15 out of her purse and left it as a tip. Chad rejects Tom’s accusation that he’s a thief, saying that he’s only guilty of tipping her with her own money. Tom thinks he?s awful, gross, and wants nothing to do with him. Chad doesn’t know why Tom is being so negative, and Tom explains that he?s just not into hurting people and not throwing things at children. Chad laughs thinking about his kids covered in the garbage. Tom says he’s despicable and may be the worst caller he?s ever gotten. Chad says those are strong words and thought Tom would find it funny. For his sake, Tom hopes he gets caught because he’s not doing jokes — he’s attacking people and, to make it even more scary, it’s his own family. Chad says they are irritating, so Tom suggests getting away from them. Chad doesn’t want to because they are a constant source of entertainment. He wants to know if Tom wants him to visit and do a prank on him, such as hitting him with a bag of “dog doo” as he walks down the street. Tom?s responds by hanging up.”