I was not pranked on April Fool’s Day. In fact, even though my calendar clearly told me that it was Monday, April 1, I didn’t connect it with this favorite day. Prank-worthy – but true – …
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I was not pranked on April Fool’s Day. In fact, even though my calendar clearly told me that it was Monday, April 1, I didn’t connect it with this favorite day. Prank-worthy – but true – information did cross my desk – entertaining news about a Hamilton-esque rap version play about Alan Greenspan, former Fed chair.
Also, the delightful news that the G Line is scheduled to open later this month. But it wasn’t until my sister asked me if this was a joke that I realized no one pranked me on April Fool’s Day. Worse, I didn’t prank anyone myself.
And that’s a shame.
Pranks – as opposed to teasing, which can be annoying at best and spiteful at worst – are almost always well intended. A gentle ribbing, with affection. An expression of camaraderie, friendship, and warmth.
Of course, pranks can get you into trouble. From my childhood, I remember my father – a consummate prankster – telling the story of how he and some friends, inexplicably, positioned a bucket of water over a door, which then tipped over and doused the principal. I was never quite sure whether the principal was the intended target, but I do know that my dad got a three-day “vacation” from school.
Pranks are cherished in our family, and my sister is a master, pranking her husband that new gas grill was rolling down the hill in the backyard, or pranking her son by moving a car that he had left running while he ran back into the house for something.
In both of these cases, the prankees knew they were well-loved, and just being the recipient of a prank was a part of the family bonding experience. Sometimes, I suppose, pranks can also be gentle reminders … such as not leaving a car running, for example.
I’m a pretty good prankster myself, and have been known to use my sister to prank a colleague, and using a colleague to prank my sister.
But some people are extraordinarily gifted. I once had a coworker who could flawlessly imitate almost anyone over the phone, such as a pizza delivery guy trying to locate whoever ordered three large pepperonis … and a diet coke. Or an IT help desk employee trying to “return” a call to whoever opened a service ticket.
A group of us would gather in his office as he made these prank calls – in the days before caller ID was prevalent – trying to stifle our laughter as one or another of our colleagues was trying to explain that she didn’t order pizza or that he never contacted the help desk.
One of my own favorites is to hide things, say, the mayo someone has just taken out of the fridge for a sandwich. The ensuing search – I know it was just right here! – is, to me, hilarious. The trick for me is to look completely uninterested as the other party scrounges around the kitchen. Now, however, even though everyone in our family does this, I am always the first suspect, even when innocent!
Of course, some people react to pranks better than others. As benign as the move-and-hide game is to me, others have been highly offended, thinking me mean, which is, of course, the opposite of a good prank.
Please remember this if you decide you want to prank me.
Andrea Doray is a writer who laments the days when we didn’t know exactly who was calling, and we were so much less likely to be victims of spoofing calls. Contact Andrea at email@example.com … with only gentle and well-intended pranks.
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