Monday, April 5, 2010

If I May be Perfectly Prank

The Famous Binder Scam is a variation on an old trick.  You may remember they even featured it on an episode of MASH, when Hawkeye and BJ kept switching Winchester’s uniform with one of an incrementally smaller size.  The tightening uniform convinced him he was rapidly gaining weight and the two pranksters took it upon themselves to “train” Winchester so that he may shed the excess “weight.”  After they got him back to his regular uniform, they left the episode with plans to start making him “taller.”

I know this gag predates MASH, because my mom tells me that her father (The Storyteller) did something similar, back when he was an office worker.  Grandpa’s prank was that every day or so, he’s slip a strip of tissue into the inside hat-band of his buddy’s fedora, so that he’d think his head was getting bigger.  (Obviously this was way back when people still dressed up to go to work and wore nice hats.)

I love these kinds of pranks that play out over time.  It must be an inherited trait, I suppose.

Redneck Man (RM) had the same appreciation as I did.  We usually avoided pranking each other… the cost of a pranking war between us would have been way too high, in terms of office destruction, mayhem and collateral damage.  But I did get him once…

I had to fill in on a project for him when he was on vacation.  I had to sit at his desk and use his PC for it because he was the only one that had the appropriate desktop application.  

The thing about this job was that it took forever for the application to process.  You’d type in some data, hit enter, then have to sit and wait like 30 seconds while it processed.

Sitting at someone else’s desk for numerous 30-second increments with nothing to do can tempt even the best of us.

In the weeks leading up to this point, there had been an email circulating the Internet about some guy that dialed a wrong number by accident and the callee was very rude.  The guy then made it his business to call that number back every so often and call him a jackass.  It went on from there, but I bring this up because after reading this email, RM and I started referring to each other as “Jackass.”

So I’m sitting there in RM’s cube, alternately working and enduring forced 30-second intervals of idleness.  I spotted a fresh batch of Post-Its on the desk and in a fit of inspiration, wrote “Jackass” on one of them and stuck it on his wall.

At the next idle interval, I stuck a “Jackass” on one of his binders.  The next thing you know, I was putting a “Jackass” everywhere… on his book covers, his box of cereal, under his phone handpiece… anywhere that wasn’t immediately visible.  I went into his Rolodex, wrote “Jackass” on a card and filed it under “J”.  My favorite one was when I pulled out the tape on his 10-key adding machine, wrote “Jackass” on the paper and rolled it back down.

It took months before RM ever found them all.  Every time he thought he found the last one, another would turn up a week later.  It was a beautiful thing.

I never really get pranked much.  When I sense a prankster in our midst, I usually drop a few stories of some of the things I’ve done as a kind of pre-emptive strike.  I let them know what I’m capable of, in case they ever get the idea that I would make a good target, that retribution would be swift and terrible.

There was one time, though, when someone did pull something.  Someone stole the Super Bowl XL commemorative Terrible Towel that I have up in my cube. 

Losing the towel didn’t bother me so much as losing the “I Was There” SBXL pin that was attached to it.  I could always get another towel.  I could NOT replace that pin.

It didn’t seem like a prank at first.  I just thought someone ripped me off, probably some degenerate criminal Ratbirds fan.  I notified our building security and had them review tapes, but there was no evidence of anything suspicious.  Ray Lewis was no where in sight.

I figured out who took it a couple days later.  One of the guys I ate lunch with, a guy who was more a friend of my other lunch companion than one of mine, grabbed it up just to yank me around.  I always thought he was a douchebag, but put up with him for my friend’s sake.

I knew it was him because he was the only one to ask me, every freakin’ day, if I’d found anything out about my Terrible Towel.  I told my other lunch companion of my suspicions and she confirmed it was him.

Since I couldn’t exercise the main tenet of Bluz Pranking Philosophy (“make the joke look like it worked too well”), because I’d already notified Security and there was nowhere else to go with it.  I opted for the 2nd tenet of Bluz Pranking Philosophy, which states, “The prankster is seeking a reaction.  Don’t give him one.”

I remained passive about the issue whenever Douchebag was around.  I’d answer every one of his queries about the towel with as few words as possible… unless there were others around. 

Sometimes he’d say things like, “Tell so-and-so about what happened to your Terrible Towel.”

And I’d answer “Some needle-dicked little pussy-boy thought it would be funny to steal the towel off my wall… Probably some idiot that thinks that’s the height of creativity.”

I figure he’d probably already told the so-and-so’s about what he’d done so all involved would know who I’m talking about, but none could say anything.

Shortly after that, I found an interoffice envelope on my chair that contained a Xerox copy of my towel.  Oh, hilarious.

If he had any actual style, he should have sent pictures of the towel in various dangerous places, like about to be flushed down the toilet.

Again, I didn’t react, even under more prodding.

Find that towel yet?

Nope.”

Any leads?

Nope.”

Then one day I came back to my cube from my boss’s (adjoining) cube and there it was, tossed over my desk chair.  Douchebag had went to the other cube that abutted mine and tossed it over.  I guess he got bored.

But I got my towel back.

I began using that strategy with all my dealings with him.

He usually had something coarse to say about the Steelers, something you would normally hear on a 4th grade playground.  One day as I sat down to lunch, he made some reference to Hines Ward being Korean by saying something about “Hello Kitty” (which is popular in East Asia.)

I didn’t even acknowledge he was there.

He must have thought he was being quite clever because he said, “Nothing?  No reaction?

I said, “Obviously you’ve grossly overestimated the degree to which I give a shit about anything you have to say.”

I didn’t hear too much more from Douchebag after that.  My other lunch friend left the company soon after, so Douchebag and I didn’t have much reason to interact any more, which left me to do my crossword puzzles in peace.

15 comments:

  1. Somehow the Douchebags always make themselves easy to spot. They're weird like that!
    This guy sounds like a top notch freakin' loser!
    That wasn't a prank in my mind, that was theft. You don't steal someone's shit, Period!!

    A prank is taking a crap in his cubicle. Now that's funny.

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  2. I love how you responded to the Douchebag about the Terrible Towel and everything afterwards. It's hard for me to stay neutral--I'm the kind of person everyone wants to play poker with--but I've seen others pull it off. Glad you got your Terrible Towel back, anyway.

    I'm also stealing the "jackass" prank one day.

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  3. GUY:
    That's the thing, it wasn't even a good prank. No imagination. And he couldn't have been more obvious that it was him if he'd have worn a sign. Amateurs...

    Lilo:
    It was hard to stay neutral, but I had one thing going for me... I really didn't give a shit about this Douche. Once I knew my Towel wasn't really stolen and in all likelihood I'd get it back, it was easy to dial up the "indifference." Especially because all he sought was a big reaction.

    From that point on, i knew all he was trying to do was get a rise out of me, so that's the one thing I committed to never giving him.

    Regarding the Jackass prank, I just wish I could have seen his face when the adding machine tape rolled out to reveal the message. To me, that was the moment he got owned.

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  4. I am TERRIBLE at thinking up practical jokes and even worse at executing them. So the next time I find myself in a situation in which I need to punk someone, I'm emailing you for a step-by-step instructional guide.

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  5. The best pranks come from the moment. It's hard to script them in advance. But I'm always happy to try. Maybe I can make a side-business out of it...

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  6. I'm so with A Guy's Perspective.

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  7. One for a Winter Day: When office guys wore boots and rubbers (over their shoes) to work, Grandpa D. would partially fill one or two with water, place it outside to freeze, bring them in just before quitting time. Voila'! Instant frustation and rage.
    He always liked his desk to be near the john, "the only place I'm sure of what I'm do'in," he'd say. And years before "Have a nice day" became popular, he'd smile at co-workers as they passed with a newspaper or mag and say, "Have a good poop."

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  8. Me too Cassie,
    It barely qualifies as a prank.

    Or are you in favor of a cube-side deuce-dropping?

    That one may be a problem here. (A good pranker tries not to leave DNA evidence.)

    But I’d like to see them try to collect it.

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  9. Mary Ann,
    Regarding my love of pulling pranks, I obviously come by it honestly.

    I forgot about the galoshes trick. Where does oneeven find rubbers any more?

    Oh and I just bet he said “poop”.

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  11. A PRANK with the towel would have been pinning it up in someone else's cubicle on a different floor... NO fucking imagination.

    I don't know how you kept your cool enough not to fucking rip his ass in two.

    I'd have lost my shit on the dumb fuck, cock sucking bastard.

    I can't even imagine the things I would end up doing if I had 30 sec idle time over and over... RM would have been screwed six ways to Sunday...

    I'd have drawn nasty pictures... stuck gum under the desk, took pictures of myself (NO BLUZ AND GUYS NOT dirty ones!) and hid them! Oh the endless possibilities....

    That was my deleted comment... (I'm a retard and spelled 'different' wrong. I had to start over damnit!)

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  12. I had plenty of fun belittling his manhood in front of his friend, albeit indirectly. The beauty was that he couldn't do anything about it at the time.

    Funny thing... I saw him in the cafeteria today for the first time in about 6 months. Still looks like a douche.

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  13. i once went to paramus ny on a business trip and the guys i worked with there were superb pranksters. in fact, they had to call a truce it got so bad. these were high ranking guys...the ceo and the cio were involved. the one guy lived on a country road and his driveway was a loop right in front of his house. he always bragged about no traffic. the other guy put an add in the paper for a huge moving yard sale with his address that started at 7 AM and early birds were welcome. he even did it on a saturday when he knew the guy and his wife had big plans on friday night. the guy said cars drove around his loop very slowly all morning and woke him up. he had no idea until he finally went outside hours later and somebody asked him where the yardsale was. to get even, the other guy wrote a love note to the dude who planned the yard sale prank. he signed it from a woman and put lipstick kiss on it and sprayed it with perfume. he snail mailed it knowing his wife was stay at home and would most likely get it. well, the wife flipped out because the note contained things like a washington trip and the guy was just in washington for business. even after he had the other guy confess to his wife, there was still a twinge of doubt. they had to call a truce. hilarious stuff.

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  14. I often joke about how I'd love to leave a used bedpan in my boss's office chair. Oooh, one of these days.

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  15. Fan:
    I love the tales of prank wars. Sounds like that one was High Stakes.

    Cassie:
    I don't even want to think about pranks in a hospital setting. So many bodily substances to misuse.

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