Passing on my love for a practical joke

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Here’s a question for you. What’s the oldest trick in the book?

I ask because I grew up in a household where gags, jokes and general skulduggery were enjoyed at most opportunities.

At some stage since mankind’s creation, there had to be a single moment when the first jape was cracked.

One of my favourites that will always stay with me was my granddad offering some sweets in the pocket of his threadbare cardigan.

Like any self-respecting five-year old, it was an offer too good to turn down.

In went the hand, out came a shriek, as a pair of slightly yellowed and clammy false teeth had been lying in wait.

At the time it was shocking but looking back, it was a moment of pure gold that set me on the path to being a goon – in fact, I’d go as far to say, it’s made me the man I am today.

My granddad made people laugh and that’s what I wanted to do (I admit, it’s going to take some work).

I also feel that it is my responsibility to pass this on to my children, mainly for fun, but also to learn about humility and self deprecation.

There are way too many practical jokes to write about but there a few that make the hall of fame.

The ‘smell this cream cake, does it smell a bit off to you’ line before you shove an unsuspecting face into the sugary delight is an absolute treat.

But, I’ve just stumbled across a timeless classic that has gold medal potential.

On one of the sweltering evenings we’ve recently enjoyed, I threw down the gauntlet of a water fight to little Molly.

At five, she’s up for stuff like this – big time.

Within moments, the garden became a battleground of water-bombs, buckets and watering cans. It ended up looking like a damp day at Glastonbury.

Even the dog got drawn in to the high jinks and ended up scuttling away with his frizzy, eighties, wet-look perm.

Then, the spark that launched a thousand laughs, the hose-pipe.

Stretched out across the garden, I told Molly to grab hold of the end and try and spray me with it.

‘But Daddy, there isn’t any water coming out!’ she screamed down the garden.

Being the caring parent I am, I told her to look down the hose-pipe.

‘No, closer, no closer than that, anything yet? FRWOOOSH!’

Bullseye, straight up her nose and in her mouth too.

She then proceeded to crack the same joke on me for 20 minutes, both of us howling with laughter.

Here’s hoping there isn’t a hose-pipe ban this year, or I’ll be spending a fortune on cream cakes.