Keeping Life Interesting For Others

Back in the 1990s, I read an article about a person who had died in a very interesting way. He or She had walked across a bridge (they had the footage), walked up to the top of a parking structure (they had that footage as well), and then jumped. The person had no identification. Because the person had not driven there, they had no vehicle to investigate. An autopsy was performed, hoping to find clues to the person’s identity. The major finding was that the person was a tourist, a fact deduced by the fact that the person’s “lungs were too clean” to have been a permanent resident. (This happened in a smoggy city in California.)

I was pretty amazed that someone would go to all of that trouble.

I thought it was amazing how much time & energy had been invested in solving a mystery that the central person didn’t want solved.

Part of my job always seemed to involve cleaning up after my coworkers. The only alternative was working in deep filth. This is not to complain, just to explain that I started leaving notes that say, “This area last cleaned on (date)” under equipment or on top of cabinets or notes that say, “(DrForrester) is an (expletive)” taped under drawers. The thought being that they wouldn’t be found for years after my departure. And, then, possibly decades from now, they will serve as little mysteries whenever they do appear.

Now, you might think that it’s a pretty passive-aggressive prank. And, hey, I’m not going to deny that. But, what I was shooting for, and what I honestly hope will happen is that they serve as a mini mystery. And, really, the only victim in it all is myself - and it allowed me to get through the day without being really angry at being treated like crap by my coworkers.

What I am wondering is if anyone else here has gone out of his or her way to make someone else’s life interesting? To create a mystery for someone else to solve?

I saw this, as a child, in a house built in 1915 and copied it.

After stripping off the 5-6 layers of old wallpaper (remember wallpaper?), I signed my name and wrote the date.
Then I covered it with new wallpaper.

I’d like to suggest this to everybody who adds something ‘permanent’ to a structure - that stud? the back of the wallboard? Underside of a plumbing fixture? esp. a bathtub.

To make it real interesting, make up names to sign.
Hey! If you do a significant remodel, you can record the user names of your favorite Dopers!

I would have to thank the person who wrote on the underside of the seat of our antique Windsor chair: “[NAME] died on this chair 1793.”

I don’t want to divulge the name, but it is an ancestor of my husband, and the chair is indeed that old.

When the landlady was remodeling the apartment next door (it’s an old house), the workers pulled out a section of board that said something like, “Today is February 20, 1962, and at this moment John Glenn is orbiting the earth.” I wanted to keep it, but so did the landlady.

I ran a project where I made little mannequins our of bamboo and beads, then left them in public places for people to find (with the help of dopers and friends, they went all over the world). I did label the with a URL so the finders could comment on them.

I also make reed corn dollies when I am out walking, and leave them for people to find.

In a recent remodeling job I found a receipt for some lumber but I think the find was accidental. However it did give me an additional clue to when the house was built.

Its common among electricians to sign a new breaker box.

I was on the 90th floor of One World Trade Center last May. The building was finished but the floor wasn’t, meaning it was just concrete & windows. There were a few sharpies that a lot of us used to sign our names/date on the concrete wall.

Screenwriter: “Another season of True Detective? Great idea!”

That seems like a cool sort of casual time capsule to do any time a renovation job is being done, i.e. just scrawl the date and whatever news tidbit you happen to think might be of historical significance years from now.

DrForrester, I think you’d enjoy a novel by the late Jack Finney called Marion’s Wall. It’s about a young married couple who discover a message from the past scrawled in lipstick on a wall in their San Francisco apartment. The message provides the impetus that sends them on a wild, haunted, time-traveling adventure.

The novel was made into a movie starring, IIRC, Glenn Close, but give it a miss; it was dismal. The book, however, is a lot of fun. :slight_smile:

Next time I have to replace carpeting I want to write “Get out of this house!” in red paint with drag marks out the door so the next person who pulls up the carpeting gets a little surprise.

In building cabins and barns we’ve always put a coin from the current year somewhere in the logs/joints.

While renovating my 135 yr old house, as I took down the last strip of wallpaper in the livingroom, was revealed the signatures of a young girl and her (so designated) best friend!

The two names were, my own and my best friend. An identical match. What are the odds?

When I’m staying at a hotel/motel I always write “GET OUT JOHN” on the bathroom mirror with my finger. Unless housekeeping cleans the mirror, the next time it steams up you can read the message.

I also leave random notes in the bible.

We did a remodel of one house that required the removal of all the sheetrock on one dining room wall. Our daughter was about 5 or 6 at the time, and we let her draw all over the inside of the wall. I think we may have dated it also, but I don’t remember. In any event, whoever removes that sheetrock in the future has a little surprise waiting!

Unfortunately, we didn’t think to do the same in this house, and we replaced a lot of sheetrock in 5 rooms. Oh well…

Decades ago my dad was a US Navy pilot, flying a multi-engine VIP transport around the world. He told a story of killing time during one long-haul flight, just looking around the cockpit and checking out every little detail. He found a rubber stopper stuffed into a hole in the instrument panel, and when he took it out and looked at it, the bottom of the plug had a note that said “PUT IT BACK”. Yes, whoever installed that plug just knew that someday, someone would pull that plug out just to have a look.

When I laid out some sidewalks at my kids’ school I laid out the borders as conic sections and drove stakes into the ground at the focal points, just in case a teacher wanted to give a real life example.
A minor thing, when I find change on the ground, I keep it if it’s heads, and if it’s tails, then I turn it over to heads and leave it for the next person.

Six months after my dad died, my mom found the words “Clean me” written in the dust on the top of her refrigerator. Mom loved it; Dad was a smart-aleck like that and simply meant it as a joke.

When we replaced our kitchen flooring years ago, we gave the kids a bunch of magic markers and let them go hog wild on the old linoleum before we covered it with laminate.

Anyone else reminded of Amelie’s box?

Years ago, I was at a baseball game, waiting to pick someone up. I’m not a baseball fan, so I was quite bored. It happened that there were a lot of bored kids there, mostly younger siblings of players, and a nearby stand of reeds, so I taught them all how to make reed whistles. By the end of the game, nearly 20 kids had whistles, and we had managed to cooperatively produce a tune or two with them. So, a twofer–whoever happened to be watching saw a guy with a flute leading a bunch of kids Pied-Piperlike down to the pond, and a bunch of parents got kids who knew how to make noisemakers. :smiley:

I’ve been thinking about secretly setting up a treasure hunt for kids in my neighborhood–planting a series of clues they have to work out to find a location and caching some sort of prize there.

In the mid-'70s I worked in a cabinet shop one summer in the deep south. We had a project where we had to make a couple dozen or so of these wooden boxes, maybe 16" per side. Of the 4 or five I was involved with, I wrote “these boxes made by J. Carter in Plains, GA” on the inside. Jimmy was running for president at the time. Other workers saw what I was doing and began to put other names in the rest.

Last I knew, these went to Texas for a store display in a mall outside of Houston.