LG's favorite entry in the book, however, isn't strictly speaking a "trick," since it isn't intended to win anyone a drink. It can, however, produce great humiliation - and possibly some physical pain - for the victim. And, even better, howls of laughter for the trickster and anyone else who may be watching.
Here's how it works:
|A smiling, pre-concussion victim.|
Next, say to the victim (who, ideally, will have thrown down at least a few drinks by now), "I'll bet you can't knock a quarter off your head in ten hits or less. It's done like this." Then, you gently knock the side of your head against the top of the nearest table. Emphasis on gently!
After about two or three light hits, furrow your brow and the quarter will fall harmlessly onto the table. It will all look pretty simple.
Now here's the rub. After you place the quarter against your victim's forehead, press it very firmly for about seven or eight seconds. Then, maintain your grip and lift the quarter away, moving it straight up above his forehead so it's out of his line of sight. The firm pressure that you used will leave the victim feeling as if the quarter is still there. Now Bob's your uncle!
If all goes according to plan, the victim/soon-to-be former friend will hit his head gently at first, mimicking you, but then, when the non-existent quarter fails to fall, he'll ratchet up the force little by little, until, in the ideal situation, he's slamming his head on the table in frustration and everyone in the vicinity is laughing uncontrollably. This, of course, will make the victim more frustrated, and cause him to hit his head even harder, with more determination. It's quite amusing!
LG has pulled off this trick many times, but perhaps never more successfully then a number of years ago on his friend Peter. At the time, Peter was working as an insurance underwriter in the Lloyd's of London headquarters building. LG, who worked for the same company as Peter at the time, was in town on business.
The Lloyd's building is a fairly staid place, where men must wear a jacket and tie at all times. Here's a photo of the inside (none of these people are dead, although they may look that way):
On the ground level of the Lloyd's building, there used to be a pub (since closed), called the Corney & Barrow. Here's what it looked like inside:
On a Friday afternoon at about 4 pm, just when the place was starting to fill up with Lloyd's underwriters and brokers, LG pulled The Quarter Trick on Peter. The two were standing at one of the high-topped tables on the left side of this photo. Peter, being fun-loving, but also competitive, slammed his head harder and harder against the table, until, in ultimate frustration, he began jumping off the floor a few inches and hitting his head even harder as he came down. The other patrons in the immediate area were howling with delight. When he was just shy of passing out and/or inflicting permanent brain damage, Peter reached up to touch his forehead and realized that he'd been had.
Now, you might think that Peter would be bitter about this incident, but he's not. In fact, he's used the trick many times himself since that day. Once, while at the home of "the Martha Stewart of England" for a dinner party, he had her banging her head so hard on the table that guests were holding their drinking glasses down while the leaf in the table popped up with each successive hit. The guests were roaring with laughter.
Peter has since left the insurance industry (we assume that the brain damage from this trick had nothing to do with his departure), and has opened a successful antiques and interior design business, BG Galleries. By clicking on that link, you'll be transported to the company's impressive website.
Here's a picture of Peter relaxing with his dog, Bonsai (8-year old miniature dachshund) in the gallery showroom in Hingham, MA (there's also a NYC location, BG Big Apple @ 200 Lexington Ave.) Peter is the one in the bright yellow pants, and Bonsai is in the black fur. Note to PETA: It's a real fur, but no animals were hurt in its production.
LG played another mean practical joke on Peter, perhaps worse than this one, but the recounting of that tale will have to wait for another day.
There is, by the way, a more humane way to play this trick on someone. You merely have them contort their face and wrinkle their brow in an attempt to get the (phantom) quarter off their forehead, rather than have them hit it on a table.
This can be funny too, but, to LG, not as funny as seeing them bang their head violently on a table or bar. Here's a link to a video that will show you how to perform the KINDER, GENTLER VERSION of the trick.
Finally, we leave you with a photo of Peter relaxing in a special recumbent chair, available at BG Galleries (or at least it was when this photo was taken.) Peter frequently experiences mysterious headaches (he's been to some of the best hospitals in the world seeking a cure) and has to frequently lie down during the day to let them pass...
Thanks for stopping by, we hope to see you back here again soon!
PS Coming soon: An interview with Bossy Betty!