Pam and Jim from "The Office" make pulling pranks on your co-workers look hilarious. We tried to pull some of our own in-office pranks, but there wasn't a lot of laughter. Pranking is hard.
If you want everyone to hate you, April Fools' Day is the holiday for you. One of our pranks ended in tears. It was two minutes of excitement followed by hours of guilt and regret eating away at the pits of our stomachs. Trust us, it hurt to exhale. We learned one important lesson on our quest for the perfect prank: Fake deaths are not as funny as you'd think.
We tried to pay tribute to the classic prank-call genre, but posing as a bereavement counselor and telling a co-worker that someone they know is dead … we don't recommend it.
You got punk'd, fool
It seems impossible to pull off a good prank without breaking the law, ruining someone's life or both. And in this age of big brother, caller ID and Ashton Kutcher, everyone is a skeptic.
"'You've been punk'd' isn't a dated reference at all," said one of our co-workers sarcastically as we were brainstorming in the office. Perhaps elaborate pranks played on celebrities are overdone on MTV, but you have to admit, seeing Justin Timberlake cry a river when he thought his house was being repossessed was pretty funny.
Once we got past "Punk'd," we needed to think of some ideas for pranks that were feasible for two ordinary college students to carry out with limited resources. Our first inspiration was a Skittles commercial where someone planted a Skittles tree and rainbow candy rained from the sky. We thought it would be cool if we could somehow plant a Skittles tree in Dunn Meadow and make it rain candy until we realized that was probably impossible.
They say it's your
Faking a death was a bad idea, but more people got mad about faking a birth. Zack decided to change his birthday on Facebook to March 25 and see if his true friends would remember that his real birthday is in November. Thirty wall posts later, about half of the people who wrote on the wall knew he was faking it. Others posted sincere birthday wishes after they failed to notice that the other wall posts were berating Zack for lying. Joanna tried to write an elaborate acrostic birthday poem on the wall, but Zack thought it might blow his cover.
Some notable responses were, "Nice fake birthday Teibloom, that's just sad." "If it is, happy birthday, if it isn't, I hate you," and "A very merry un-birthday to you. What? Are you bored?" One friend, who shares his real birthday, wrote: "November 7th and I are very upset that you would betray us like that. I wish you weren't a liar..."
Several people stopped to wish him a happy birthday on the street and at parties, sending text messages, and even a drunken friend he hadn't spoken to in years called to tell him it was his birthday, too. The most surprising result was that people who hadn't even contacted him on his real birthday made the effort on the fake one.
"What's up with
There are three main phases to life: birth, death and cookies. We had to cover them all. We wanted to try out one of the pranks from students we interviewed on the street. Since neither of us has an identical twin and we didn't feel like pretending to hook up with a friend's significant other, we toothpasted some cookies. The easiest way to lose your friends is with a package of Oreos and a tube of Pepsodent. Compliments of Joanna's bathroom (the toothpaste, not the Oreos).
Warning: We do not recommend this prank. Toothpaste is not meant to be ingested. The Food and Drug Administration requires that all fluoride toothpaste have a warning label that recommends getting medical assistance if more than the amount of toothpaste used for brushing is swallowed. We only used a little dollop for our prank, but spit, don't swallow.
We carefully engineered the toothpaste-filled cookies. To make the fake Oreo's look more realistic, we cut out a small circle in the crème filling and put a dollop of paste in the middle. Our one downfall was that the middles were too gooey, which could have been prevented with refrigeration.
It isn't hard to get people to eat delicious cookies. As soon as we set out our faux dessert, people helped themselves.
"If you just would've said they were mint Oreos, I would've kept eating them," our first victim said.
But he wasn't a fan of the aftertaste. Once people realized these Oreos were "special," we immediately lost our popularity.
Can you really blame us for caring about dental hygiene? Zack even ate one of the toothpaste cookies. It really wasn't so bad. It was like a minty fresh Oreo, with mild stomach discomfort. Our co-workers were mostly upset that we ruined perfectly good Oreos.
Tears of a clown
Pick your targets carefully. Choose someone slightly gullible with a good sense of humor. Telling a sweet, sensitive co-worker that someone she cares about has died will cause tears and a "What's wrong with me? I hate myself" feeling. It felt even worse when we realized the same co-worker had sent Zack an earnest birthday wish on Facebook. Toying with Oreos makes people never want to eat your food again. That pays off until your next dinner party, when you're left holding a quiche that gets dirtier looks than skateboarding teenagers at the park.
By the end of our day of pranking, we felt like we'd made enemies and lost what was left of our good names by destroying whatever trust and goodwill we had among our friends and co-workers. And it wasn't even April yet.
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