I knocked on the door of a house in Soulard, a neighborhood in south St. Louis. A tough, biker-looking guy answered the door. “Tom’s not here,” he said.
“Oh, we know,” I said. “That’s why we’re here. We’d like to turn Tom’s computer into a multimedia tribute to M.C. Hammer.”
“Ah,” he roared, opening the door wider to let us in. “Go on upstairs. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.”
So the three of us charged upstairs, and fired up Gatermann’s computer. First, we changed the Windows startup screen. In bright letters on an annoyingly brighter background, we wrote the word, “Proper.” In reference to M.C. Hammer’s Pepsi commercial, if you don’t remember. (I didn’t. One of my co-perpetrators did.)
And then we took an M.C. Hammer CD, belonging to my other co-perpetrator, and made MP3s out of it. Gatermann only had 3 or 4 uses left on the trial version of whatever MP3 ripping software he was using at the time, so he appreciated us using them up for him. I know because he told us that. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We visited www.mchammer.com (now a joint selling cellular phones, which I don’t get–who would go to that address looking for a cell phone?), which was, at the time, still dedicated to the one-time pop star of the same name, and we downloaded every picture from the site. And we downloaded all the sounds we could find too. So we set sounds to system events, we gave him some nice wallpaper, we set his Netscape homepage to www.mchammer.com, we put a couple of tunes in his startup group, and we put Netscape in his startup group as well. Then we left, because he was going to be getting off work within the next 15 minutes and we definitely didn’t want to be there when he turned his computer on.
The phone rang. One of the other guys picked it up. Silence. Well, except for some breathing. And even the breathing sounded angry. Finally, the voice on the other end broke the harsh silence.
“Alright, which of you [deleted] am I gonna [deleted] kill first?”
Wanna take a guess who that was? Besides someone who didn’t appreciate our attempt at art, I mean.
Not that his opinion is too important. I appreciated it, and still recognize that as one of my finest moments.
But unfortunately, it would be a lot harder to pull that prank on someone today, since www.mchammer.com has apparently fallen victim to a domain squatter.
There’s always Alien Sex Fiend, but somehow that doesn’t quite have the same effect.