Holy Smokes, VA - The first annual Christmas lights de-tangling contest held at the local BPOE lodge was interrupted late in the evening when one of the contestants, Harvey Smith, pulled a gun on fellow contestant, John Houdini, accusing him of having a special knack for untying knots, and thereby giving him an unfair advantage.
Nerves were already jangled when the contest, slated to run two hours, was going into the fifth hour with little less than half the Christmas lights untangled. "The lights were in an awful mess," said Thomas "Tank" Upshaw, Highest Grand Poobah of the Grandest Lodge in Holy Smokes. "We had the wives in last year to help take down all of the town Christmas lights and decorations and true to form, before anyone could stop them, they had just wadded the lights up in a ball and threw them into a bunch of Hefty lawn and leaf garbage bags. We just figured we could untangle them in plenty of time before the next holiday season rolled around. I guess the time just got away from us, so we came up with the plan to hold a de-tangling contest."
First prize was a quarter-side of beef from Holy Smokes Butcher Shop. Needless to say, competition was pretty fierce and the fellas were in rare form, cajoling each other and pulling some pretty nasty pranks to get their fellow Elks from winning that prize.
About a two and a half hours into the de-tangling, a few of the lodge members had to drop out of the contest, showing outward signs of stress such as muttering expletives and developing nervous facial tics. One contestant, Dale Pistoff, was physically shaking and swearing he was gonna kill his wife when he got home. Several lodge members took him over to the bar and gave him a couple of shots of Old Turkey and were able to get him to calm down enough to promise there wouldn't be any killing at his house that night.
Just when they got Dale calmed down, someone yelled "put that gun down!" The Grandest Big Old Grand Poobah, Dickie Smurtz, rushed at Harvey Smith, who was pointing a double-barrel shotgun at Houdini. "He's gonna win this damn contest cause he can get those knots untied quicker than anyone here and we all know it," said Smith, obviously suffering from severe stress brought on by working on the same knot for more than a half hour. Smith had lost control, got up from the tangled mess and went out to his truck to get his shotgun muttering that was the last knot Houdini was gonna untie.
Smurtz got to Smith just as he was pulling the trigger and caught Smiths' arm, aiming the shotgun for the roof. "That buckshot sprayed all over the brand new drop down ceiling tiles we just paid $800 to install," said Smurtz. Luckily, no one was hurt, but the ceiling took a direct hit.
Next thing you know, the cops are hauling Smith off in handcuffs, and the whole Lodge erupted into laughter. Seems when Smith turned around to be led out, his foot got tangled in some lights lying on the floor and he was dragging the whole mess outside with him.
When asked the next day what he thought about all this, the Grandest Big Old Grand Poobah, Dickie, smiled and said, "Well, we now know that a man's breaking point comes after about five and a half hours of de-tangling Christmas lights. We've decided to give up on the whole mess and pass it over to the local Optimists Club, along with the quarter-side of beef. Hopefully, they've got what it takes to get the job done in time for Christmas."