Inspired by a story of a stripper who put a potato in a tailpipe while she committed arson.
There’s something about the “banana in the tailpipe” gimmick that always gets me. I think I have a weird preference toward banana-oriented pranks, because I also like the idea of someone slipping on a banana peel. Please refrain from armchair Freudian psychoanalysis on this topic.
This post is, eventually, about antiquated pranks.
But first, it’s a story about the banana in the tailpipe’s lesser-known cousin: The potato in the tailpipe. The story is also about arson, strippers, freemasons, the surprisingly expansive seedy side of Connecticut, DNA evidence and high-fiving at explosions. But I can’t get past the tailpipe.
Willow Martin, 19, is a stripper from Naugatuck, Connecticut. One of her friends at the Hollywood Connecticut Strip Club was another dancer, named Breonna Constantino. But like the documentary Showgirls taught us, it’s awfully hard for strippers to maintain friendships.
They had a falling out last summer after a trip to Wildwood, New Jersey, where Willow lent Breonna $1,200. Breonna never paid her back, so Willow decided to get some disproportionate revenge.
Breonna’s stepfather owns a business called MTM Masonry. On September 15th, in the middle of the night, Willow and her boyfriend, Matthew Garguilo, 28, went to MTM Masonry and set the place on fire. They dumped a bunch of gas, lit it on fire, and watched as there was a huge explosion. “Just like in the movies,” Matthew would say. He also says he and Willow high-fived, and left.
Breonna’s stepdad got a call around 5:00 A.M. that his business was on fire. But when he got in his van to drive there, he couldn’t — because Willow and Matthew had shoved a potato in his tailpipe. Little did they know that would be the key piece of evidence that would unravel their plan.
The police DNA tested the tailpipe potato, and found Matthew’s DNA. Thanks to that info, they were able to connect the dots on the arson. Both Matthew and Willow are now facing charges; Willow was arrested on Tuesday and charged with second-degree arson, third-degree burglary, conspiracy and more.
I suspect this story may just mark the end of anyone putting produce in a tailpipe. Granted, most people wouldn’t do it in conjunction with arson, but even as a standalone prank it’s clearly too fraught with downside in a DNA testing world.
And it’s not the only classic prank that’s lost its viability in modern times. Here are 11 of them.
1 | Prank phone calls
These died with the end of landlines. And, I suppose, phone calls.
2 | Putting a bucket of water on top of a door
Wasting clean water? Not acceptable.
3 | Putting a “Kick Me” sign on someone’s back
Finding paper, a writing instrument and tape? Too tough in an electronic world. It’s why cyberbullying is just so much easier.
4 | Sugar in the gas tank
Adding sugar to anything is far too taboo right now.
5 | Wedgies
A confluence of bullying and sexual harassment? Yikes.
6 | Dangling a dollar bill from a fishing pole
Just makes people depressingly think of all the money that’s been made from overfishing.
7 | Saran wrap over the toilet bowl
At this point, it’s best to steer clear of anything related to bathrooms.
8 | Warm water on the hand while someone sleeps
So antiquated. Taking the sleeping person’s phone and posting a video on their Snapchat is a far more likely scenario.
9 | Change the time on someone’s clocks
Most clocks are automatically synced right now. Even if you get to all the manual clocks, will you also get to their cell phone, tablet, computer, cable box, smart watch and trap phone? WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE TRAP PHONE?
10 | Replacing the Oreo creme with toothpaste
Good luck finding someone who’ll just eat regular Oreos today. They make like 15 new wacky Oreo flavors a week now. Why eat regular ones when you can have Chocolate Chip Tropical Fruit Oreos instead? And I’m not sure you can find toothpaste to match that creme color.
11 | Indian burn
I mean, come on.