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Spring Is the Ultimate Prankster

Allen Delaney takes second place

This is our lucky week. Allen Delaney is back in fine form.
    If you’re a recent Bay Weekly reader, you may not know what you’ve been missing. Delaney’s recent contributions have been brief, semi-serious dispatches. But in his Bay Weekly heyday — 2002 to 2009 — he could make his readers fall from their chairs and burst into tears — all the results of the felonious assault of laughter.
    Delaney’s comic alter-ego was a heavy-handed fellow, bulling around in various china shops and always dipping at least one toe over the edge of propriety. This persona would be downright obnoxious in real life, but in print Delaney kept him at safe distance. He also sweetened him with irony, boomeranging the joke back on its teller. Maybe — or maybe not — he knew he’d been hit. Self-awareness wasn’t a big virtue with him.
    Every year for a while there, Allen Delaney, Block Party Chairman, would report on Another Holiday Block Party. Typically, in the form of public letters of apology, his dispatches began something like this:
    I would like to apologize to the Pine Lake community for the mishap that occurred during the annual block party. As you know, the Block Party Committee’s motto has always been Safety First, Hopefully, which is why we held the Fried Turkey Cook-off near the lakefront.
    Delaney was not the odd man out in his skewed version of life in Chesapeake Country and, occasionally, our nation’s capital.
    In Keep Your Shirt On [www.tinyurl.com/shirton] he advised fellow suburban fellows that topless mowing was a civic offense.
    In Confessions of a Duck Captain [www.tinyurl.com/duckcaptain], he commented on passengers as well as captain.
    Over the years in Bay Weekly, Allen Delaney has given me a boatload of belly laughs, from crab feast antics to domestic hi-jinks, wrote fan M.L. Faunce.
    But his voyage to become a captain of a D.C. Duck tops them all. This man is a sea-faring psychoanalyst of the first order. He may be a good captain, docking skills notwithstanding, but as a humorist and observer of human habits both on land and water, he is unexcelled. I can’t wait for his next career move, which I trust will have a sequel in Bay Weekly.
    Delaney’s multiple new maritime careers — from certified Coast Guard captain to swimming instructor — kept him busier than his old work, sitting at a computer in a converted women’s locker room. You couldn’t even pick up a radio station down there. It was time to get out, he wrote. Over nearly a decade in the same, windowless space, Delaney’s alter-ego had been the escape artist. Freeing the man put the comedian out of business — at least in print.
    Now disturbed Delaney is on the loose again.
    He returns to our pages this week, at the approach of April Fool’s Day, to instruct on practical jokes.
    In case you didn’t know, there are four rules for a funny practical joke. It must be funny to others, not necessarily the victim. (If the victim finds it funny, all the better.) It must be clever. It cannot harm anyone or anything. It does not involve explosives.
    Enjoy Delaney’s full exemplification of the practical joke in this week’s paper. But please do not try it at home.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher
email editor@bayweekly.com, www.sandraolivettimartin.com