Today is, as he put it, the anniversary of my father's birth ("Everyone only gets one birthday. The rest are anniversaries.") and I had this, or something close written up last year... and then some fool made the Boston Marathon a bit too newsworthy and I decided it would be best not to post this just then, for reasons that will become clear. Thus, delayed, here is a tale of a mid-summer night's smoke:
There are times when a joke or gag is set up and things go wrong. Sometimes they go wrong in ways that make it better than if it had gone right.
This story took place sometime in the 1970s at a place, or perhaps I should say facility, that no longer exists. The details of it are not all that important other than it was a blue collar operation and shifts ran throughout the day and night when things were operating. From the various stories I've heard of the place, it was a somewhat relaxed atmosphere. Still, it was always a bit surprising to me that things didn't go badly when all this happened.
Pa, who as far as I know has never smoked at all (beyond second-hand, which was pretty much unavoidable in times gone by) had somehow wound up with a cigar. Not one to simply pass such a thing along unmodified, and having some 'cigarette loads' the idea of an exploding cigar was too good to pass up. A cigar is bigger than a cigarette, so Pa figured it would need a bigger charge. One load might not be enough. Two might not be enough. Three ought to do it. These were poked in through a tiny hole in the plastic/cellophane wrapper and worked into the cigar.
One night the cigar was passed along to the area foreman. No big deal, some guy had given a non-smoker a cigar and he was just passing it along. Now, this might be a good story right there if the foreman had smoked the thing. That did not happen. For that night there just happened to be a special visitor, who I'm not sure exactly but I'll refer to as the Big Boss. Trying to make a good impression, the foreman offers the Big Boss a cigar. The only one he has on him.
There is, I imagine, the usual talking of this and that and the looking over the operation. Then the Big Boss takes a stroll outside and lights up the cigar. A little time passes.
The Big Boss comes back in, the cigar peeled back as if it were a banana, "...just like in the cartoons." Fortunately the Big Boss had a good humor about it, and was laughing, "I never thought that would happen to me!"
I never did hear what reaction the foreman had when he realized that it was meant for him... but it couldn't have been too bad since Pa was still working there for some time. Since all seemed to have a good humor about it, all three (and the various witnesses) all got a story out of it. Pa got the story of how a gag went better than expected, despite the potential for it being bad. The Big Boss got the story about the time someone gave him an exploding cigar. And the foreman got the the story the cigar that didn't blow up in his face... and didn't cause the Big Boss the blow up either.
I doubt such a thing could happen today. Nowadays, there'd likely be charges filed for there being an "explosive device" and the invoking of a Zero-Intelligence Policy.