Old trickster

By IAN SANDS  |  October 9, 2008

“Some stranger knocks on your door,” says Abel. “It’s Sunday, you’ve got your feet up, you don’t want to see anyone. You put on your coat before you answer the door, that way you’re either on your way out or you just came in, depending you know, who’s there.”

Does he ever teach hoaxing?

“I don’t want to do that — I don’t want anyone else to do hoaxes,” he says. “I want to be the one to do them.”

That’s right, at 78, Abel remains an active prankster. And to prove it, he rattles off a few he’s been considering, one of them to do with Homeland Security’s color-coded terrorism-threat scale. Abel points out that the colorblind go unprotected with such a system.

“So I’d ask them to go back to Paul Revere. . . . in other words, do it like Pony Express. In every town we’d have a horse and a guy ringing a bell saying, ‘Al Qaeda are coming, Al Qaeda are coming.’ ”

“These are just smaller things,” says Abel, his dark eyes growing large. “I’d like to do one really big one if I could.”

Alan Abel will give his talk “Using Your Wits To Win,” on Tuesday, October 14, at 6:30 pm, in room N52-390 in the MIT Museum building, 265 Mass Ave, Cambridge. Call 617.253.4415.

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  | 
Related: Biz-school widows lament, Scientific slowdown, Worlds collide, More more >
  Topics: Lifestyle Features , John Hargrave, 10-14-2008, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY IAN SANDS
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   POWER TO THE PEOPLE  |  November 04, 2009
    Painted portraits are, as evidenced by the many on display inside Boston’s world-famous art galleries, a window into the world of royalty, politicos, and other spectacularly coiffed assholes from centuries ago.
  •   LESS THAN ZERO  |  October 10, 2009
    Three years ago, Russell Freeland had what most would consider a settled life. Just two years later, though, Freeland was hungry, exhausted, and homeless, trying to survive in Austin, Texas.
  •   WHEELS IN MOTION  |  September 02, 2009
    David Branigan, who recently returned to town after more than a year in Koforidua, in Eastern Ghana, says what he missed most about Boston is the "efficiency." That might come as a shocker for those of us here who have ever waited for the Number 66 bus in the thick of winter.
  •   APARTMENT AID  |  August 31, 2009
    Back from an arduous vacation full of nail-biting beer-pong battles and vigorous Wii tennis matches, you enter the dilapidated dorm or apartment where you'll be spending the next year doing much the same.
  •   FOR THOSE ABOUT TO LOCK  |  August 05, 2009
    It's too bad Skip Gates didn't have Schuyler Towne's cell number on that fateful day last month. If he did, the Somerville-based lockpicking champ likely could have gotten in to the good professor's home in no time at all, and a national controversy (and international beer summit) might have been averted.

 See all articles by: IAN SANDS