This photo of me with my younger brother, Ricky Tippett, was taken one Christmas. My gift to him that year was his very own Bubba teeth. He was thrilled. He commented on last week's blog that my 2-part story was one of his favorites. Then he reminded me of his own follow-up adventure. So I asked if he'd be my guest blogger today and share that episode with you. He agreed. So enjoy part 3 of my family's redneck impersonations.
I read Kathy’s piece last week and smiled and laughed all the way through it. It brought back a lot of good memories. My sister never lacks for a … let’s say, “creative” idea … when it comes to getting people to smile and laugh.
A few months after my sister’s prank at her church, I awoke one morning and decided to do something similar. Dressing early in worn out jeans, a ratty-looking sweatshirt, a wool work coat, and old work shoes, I headed to Raleigh Christian Academy that morning determined to step out of the administrator’s shoes and into Bubba Two’s shoes.
I arrived before any of the teachers or students got to school and I went to the restroom to finish out my prank. I put on a black baseball cap that had a long, black ponytail coming out of the back. I had a pair of thick rim glasses that used to belong to my Dad. That helped change my appearance quite a lot, but not as much as when I put in my Bubba-teeth.
I planned to be an electrician who was called in to help find some problems with the school's alarm system. I brought an aluminum stepladder so I could remove some tiles in the hallway ceiling and climb up in the ceiling so that people could only see me from the waist down. I strapped on a tool belt and had it fully decked out with professional equipment like a hammer, wire cutters, screw drivers, pliers, etc.
When I heard the students coming in, I got in place and began banging on the pipes and wall above the ceiling so everyone would think some guy from an electrical company was there trying to fix some problem. I saw a few students and teachers pause and look up the ladder, but most of them just walked on by not really paying attention.
When the hallways got more and more people, I began to whistle softly, songs like The Gambler and Stand By Your Man. At last I decided it was time to come down and get some things out of a toolbox I had placed at the foot of my ladder. This did cause students to stop and stare some, but they had no idea it was me. When I stared back at them, they quickly looked away so as not to be rude.
I would take a few tools out of the box and head back up the ladder and bang on a few more pipes.
Evidently some of the kids were talking about the strange guy working up in the ceiling. “Yeah, you ought to see him. Man, he’s crazy looking.” So more did come and try to get a peek. Just before the first bell rang, I came down and began to speak to those who where nearby. Just polite southern talk.
“Hey. How ya’ll this morning?”
Pausing, but trying to be nice they’d say, “Fine.” Then they’d move away. I didn’t know if it was the pony tail or the teeth that was getting them to come take another look. I saw some girls put their hands over their mouth to hide their laughter.
They would walk away whispering, “Who is that guy?”
I was pleased. When the bell rang I decided it was time to see what was going on in the school office. I got a teacher to walk me in there, explaining that this was “Johnny” from Electicon Company and he was trying to fix an alarm problem in the hallway and trace down the source of a power failure. Parents and office workers stared blankly. They tried not to stare, but I wasn’t making it easy.
I was speaking loudly and in a deep southern drawl. I looked at Mrs. Newman, one of our office ladies, and I said, “Ma'am, I need to use yer phone, if I may, to call back to the shop.”
I could tell she didn’t recognize me and she said, “There’s a phone in the hallway.”
“I don’t have a quarter, ma'am.”
“Sorry,” she said and walked away back to the copier room.
I decided to push the envelop a bit so I went back behind the counter and I sat in her chair behind her desk and picked up her phone. I pretended to be talking to someone on the phone when she walked back in and saw me. Her hands immediately went up to her hips and she snapped her fingers at me and motioned for me to get up. I kept talking. “Up, sir! Now.”
“Oh, so sorry, ma'am. Just needed to use yer phone.”
“Out!” she barked.
So I left only to find more teachers and students. Eventually people were taking a hard second look. “I think that’s Mr. Tippett,” I heard one senior whisper. I move away quickly.
I was about to call it a day after an hour or so, but Dwight said, “Let’s go down to the conference room and see if Pastor Rabon recognizes you.”
In a few minutes Pastor walked down and went to his seat in the conference room. He had his back to me and Dwight took me in and said, “Pastor, I have someone I want you to meet. This is Johnny from the electric company, just here to do some work for us. I invited him to church Sunday and I wanted you to meet him.”
Immediately Preacher got up and quickly walked back to where I was standing. “Hey, der, Preacher. Good to meetcha.”
“Hey, there, Johnny. Good to meet you, too.”
“I wuz just here to check on some problems with yer school’s alarm system.”
“Oh?” But now he was really looking me over. He paused and stared real hard at me.
“Ricky? Ricky? …. Is that YOU, Ricky?”
Game over. We all had a good laugh and I began to understand how my crazy sister can rub off on an innocent, impressionable little brother. Sister Bubba lives in
Florence and Brudder Bubba lives in . Raleigh
Life is sweet.
Kathy here. With this other picture of Ricky and me on a cruise, I'll invite you to decide who's truly innocent and impressionable!