April Fool

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Today, we celebrate two groups of people: Those who prank and those who get pranked!

Admittedly, I have fallen into both categories. Here’s my advice…

  • If you don’t want to get pranked, this may be a good time to cash in a vacation or sick day. There’s no shame in hiding. I’ve done it.
  • Even if you love a good prank, keep your guard up. You may have planned the best prank ever, but it might not matter if they get you first.
  • Try not to hurt anyone. Before you go yanking a chair out from under someone or wiping out the back of a knee, please be sure they aren’t suffering from a previous injury or disability. You don’t want to cause permanent physical damage, and you will look like the biggest A-hole on the planet when you find yourself being sued or serving prison time for a poorly planned April Fool’s joke. Remember: it’s not nice to use your friends’ allergies against them! Sure, it’d make a great story but is it really worth it??
  • Consider the consequences. Certain people may not want to play along, and others may not take a prank in the good nature it was (hopefully) intended. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings… especially someone who has serial killer potential. I’m just sayin’. I highly doubt the Dahmers and Bundys of the world are very good sports.
  • Above all else, always remember that whoever you prank will definitely prank you back! And, we all know, payback is a five letter word that rhymes with witch (need another clue? it starts with “B”).

If you still want to play, keep in mind that truly great pranks tend to take time and patience to plan and pull off. And, you get extra credit for originality. You don’t want to be the guy (or girl) who pulls the same old pranks year after year. Whoopy cushions are fine, when used sparingly (say, every 5 yrs).

These days, money is tight for most of us so why not take a peek around your home and get creative. Typical household items make great pranks and they can save you cash. Think of all the fun you could have with any or all of the following: aluminum foil, plastic wrap, flour, duct tape, baby oil, Crisco, diaper rash cream, Jell-o, super glue, food coloring, pickle juice, the possibilities are endless…

Much like theme costumes at Halloween, theme pranks can be fun too. Why not develop a theme or pull the same prank on everyone at your office? Cover all your coworkers’ keyboards in powdered sugar or Saran Wrap their phones. It’s slightly less risky than going to war with one person since people tend to take things better when they’re not alone. On the other hand, you might manage to piss off a whole company, and that has its downsides, too. If you can get involved in a group prank, they’re great because you can share the credit and the blame (the latter being more important obviously).

It’s probably not a great idea to prank your boss or the head of your company (unless he or she is a prankster too, or really deserves it!), especially in this economy. If you decide to do so anyway, take a few extra steps (1. Clean out your desk  2. Draft your companywide goodbye email  3. Consider scheduling a consultation with an employment rights attorney). I wonder how many folks will wind up in the Unemployment Line post April 1?

If you’re still not sure who to prank, I highly suggest pranking friends and relatives, not because they are easy targets necessarily or because they deserve it more than coworkers or complete strangers, but because they are more likely to forgive you. Pranking your mom may not make you look cool to your friends, but part of her job is to love you unconditionally (even if you’re the jerk who super-glued her tush to the toilet!). And, there’s something to be said for that!

If you fall prey to a prank, I hope it’s all in good fun and that you are able to appreciate it. If you are the prankster, I wish you luck! Hopefully, whoever you prank will be a good sport, laugh gracefully and wait until next year to unleash their wrath of revenge. You can always move away or switch jobs between now and then.

Happy April Fool’s Day!

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