As freshman Mike Bush discovered during Christmas vacation, practical jokes are funny to everyone but the victim.
Bush was falsely charged for blowing up an airport toilet in Pago Pago, located in American Samoa, a U.S. territory in the South Pacific. The explosion was apparently the result of a practical joke.
During vacation, Bush and his family traveled to the Kingdom of Tonga, stopping in Hawaii for a day and Pago Pago for a 12-hour layover stop. Said Bush, “We waited in the airport, and while we were waiting I needed to use the bathroom. I went in there, sat down, looked behind me, and noticed the toilet was smoking.
“So I stood up, and the toilet exploded from from underneath me! I fell down and couldn’t hear myself speak. I stood up, pulled my pants on and tried to get my hearing back. I heard knocking and opened the door.
“The police grabbed me and threw me up against the wall. They dragged me to the airport police station. I didn’t know what was going on. He (a policeman) asked me if I did it and I said no. He said I better say yes, but I had the same answer and he said the same things several times. I asked for my father and they brought him in and asked me many more question – they even asked me if I was employed.
“I started getting my hearing back but everyone sounded like they were on helium. I had a bad headache and earache.”
Bush has not had any medical test to determine if his partially impaired hearing was a serious matter, but he said his ears “hurt pretty bad every once in a while.”
He continued, “They had me empty my pockets and they frisked me. They didn’t find anything incriminating.”
Bush was informed about three hours later on the plane home that the fishing bomb was probably planted by a prankster. The practical joker had apparently occupied the stall just before Bush, intending to scare the next person to use that stall.
Said Bush jokingly, “I heard the governor of Pago Pago was in the airport at that time. Maybe he had something to do with it.”
However, the incident’s effect on Bush was more frightening than funny. “It ruined the whole trip for me,” said Bush. “I hate every memory about the explosion. I was in shock the whole way home: I was scared to death.”
—By Shalini Chatterjee
Want more retro-Octagon? Read the stories below to discover what SCDS students were writing about decades ago.
“Fake ID’s purchase what only age can buy,” by Steve Lesher in a 1992 issue of the Octagon.
“Emphasis on popularity at Jesuit,” by James Chapman in a 1989 issue of the Octagon.
“Alumnus apprehended for $470,000 art heist,” by Dalya Wardany in a 1986 issue of the Octagon.
“2 SCDS grads get married early,” by Marc Paoletti in a 1983 issue of the Octagon.