At the beginning of the autumn right before his freshman year of college, my brother (who is four years younger than I) and a few of his friends decided they would play a prank on the high school we’d both gone to. They would buy an inflatable sex doll, inflate it, and attach it to a tree in the student parking lot so that kids would see it as they came to school. They planned to put the doll high up in the tree so that only attentive students would see it; this would also mean, more importantly, that school administrators wouldn’t find out about it right away and take it down.
The day appointed for their doings arrived. They went to the local dirty bookstore in the dark of night to make their purchase. (The local bookstore was called, if memory serves, C&C Video; one hesitates to ask what the two Cs stand for.) When they got there, they found a curious gap in the prices of inflatable sex dolls. The cheapest white inflatable sex doll was $100; prices went up from there. The cheapest black inflatable sex doll was $20. (This was South Carolina, after all.) They being unemployed kids about to leave for college, they naturally went for the cheaper option.
They drove over to school–it was about 2:00 a.m. by now–and got to work. Everything was fine until they’d finished inflating the inflatable sex doll and realized they didn’t have anything with which to attach it to the tree. (I believe they’d planned to use Crazy Glue, but whoever was assigned to bring it had failed to do so.) Unwilling to abandon their plan, however, they cast about for a substitute; somebody found a sufficient length of rope in his car trunk, and they were good to go. They finished the task they had set themselves and went to their respective homes, looking forward to the sleep granted those who have done their jobs well.
The observant among you will have noticed that what they did was tie a naked black woman up in a tree with a rope.
My brother realized this on his way home and started to freak out. He woke me and our father up–it was about 3:30 by this time–and asked us, with a tinge of panic in his voice, to tell him what to do about the fact that he’d just lynched a black woman in effigy. I am not at my sharpest at such an hour, and so I suggested, voice blurry with sleep, that it would be a shame to destroy such hard and ingenious work, but that he should go back and leave an anonymous note explaining that there was no racist intent behind the prank. Our father vetoed this plan, pointing out that South Carolinians sensitive to matters of race were few and far between and that anybody who read such a note would know instantly that it was from someone in our family. In the end, I think we all decided–I could be wrong about this–that most of the people who went to our school would be neither culturally aware enough nor bright enough to make the association, and that he should just leave well enough alone.
In any event, school administrators found out about it right away and took it down.