"There is nothing better children like laughing at than silly adults slipping on the proverbial banana skin. Likewise, teenagers derive the greatest of smug satisfaction 'getting one over' on their elders who think they are their betters.
I grew up in a household with a strict father and when it came to a matter of dispute with any of his children there was but one rule; you were wrong and he was right! If you asked him why that was so, he'd simply reply, 'Because I'm the adult and you're my child.' While he'd discuss many things with you, he would rarely brook argument and never tolerate the practice of you giving him cheek.
There is a bit of wickedness even in the best of us and nowhere better is this seen than when a teenager manages to tango an adult and they don't even realise they've been had! It is tantamount to committing the perfect crime; the one whose commission isn't noticed by the victim and one which you'll never have to answer for.
I recall at the age of fourteen having an argument once with my father that turned into a heated dispute. When he eventually closed down the argument by essentially telling me he was right and I was wrong and that was an end to it, I left the room angry and was bent on revenge.
I got a stiff piece of card and a soft pencil and went into the lavatory where I proceeded to carefully unroll about two foot of toilet paper in length. Then placing the toilet paper on the stiff card to prevent piercing it, I lightly wrote on the reverse of each sheet the words, 'My dad is a fathead who knows nothing.' I then rolled the toilet paper back onto the roll. This prank gave me a good few secret laughs when I saw dad go to the lavatory.
On another occasion when he angered me I put a dead wasp in the middle of his sandwich that my mother had prepared for his snap box which he took to work. I knew that when lunchtime arrived he'd be so hungry that he'd eat it without ever knowing the full extent of what I'd made him swallow.
A particular favourite of mine was to puncture his rigid practice of 'always being on time.' Being an orderly and efficient man, he hated being late especially when it involved entering church as he always sat near the front. Being a relative poor man with only one good pair of shoes which he wore as best on Sundays, he would put on his polished shoes two minutes before leaving the house to avoid the risk of scuffing if he put them on earlier. Whenever I could get away with it, I would sometimes hide one, delay his orderly progress and make him late attending Sunday Mass.
None of these pranks, I might add, did I carry out on dad because he was a bad man or an unjust or overstrict parent, but simply because he'd dared to cross me with impunity. Nobody crosses Billy Forde and gets away with it! William Forde: May 31st, 2015.