Me and Joe and cigarette loads!

by Larry Craddock -
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Me and Joe and cigarette loads …

I’m sure I’ve already explained my chronological handicap so I’m now officially invoking that as a waiver concerning the accuracy of all dates used in this story. Having said that I believe this took place sometime between 1962 and 1964.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a condition that a doctor compared to calluses on my vocal cords. It causes my voice to sound raspy and unpleasant. My mom, knowing it bothered me, tried numerous times to find someone who could correct it. That didn’t happen but lots of other stuff did … including this.

For a year or so, mom regularly took me to Children’s Hospital in OKC. On the walk back to the parking lot we usually stopped in a little corner drug store that had lots of other stuff like comic books, candy, and of all things prank items! On one occasion Joe (my 1 ½ year younger brother) and I managed to persuade mom to let us buy some so we each bought a box of cigarette loads; the exploding type.

We couldn’t wait to get home and as soon as we did started carefully poking loads down into cigarettes wherever we found an open pack laying unguarded. At one point, I stumbled across a cigar still wrapped in cellophane and couldn’t resist the challenge. After several minutes of patiently working at it I finally managed to push a cigarette load a good ½ an inch down into the cigar using a toothpick and leaving very little evidence it had been tampered with. We were having so much fun watching our victims’ (mostly dad) reactions to a cigarette exploding in their face that we were always on the lookout for another opportunity.

Meanwhile, dad was beginning to lose patience with us and finally after having tobacco blown up his nose for the umpteenth time announced “OK boys! That’s enough of that.” And just as we were about to leave, disappointed that our fun was finally over we stopped, turned around, and sat quietly on the couch after he said “I’ll just smoke this cigar … I know you haven’t messed with this.” :)

If you’ve ever seen a cigar blow up in the face of a cartoon character then you know exactly what this looked like. We laughed uncontrollably as we ran out the door and I’m pretty sure what I heard was … “you little shits!”

Dad was a good-hearted man and I have no doubt that he got a bigger kick out of seeing us laugh about our never ending pranks than we did doing them. It didn’t really matter how serious he tried to look … he couldn’t hide the laughter in his eyes.

Larry Craddock