Thursday, March 31, 2011

April Fools House Rules; Or, "Did You Guys Really Bid On A Yacht?"

While trying to plan a suitable prank for my mom and I to execute upon my dad tomorrow, I got to thinking about my friends (especially the excellent Tom Foss over at the Fortress) and their college house full of pranksters. They developed a set of unwritten rules for pranks perpetrated - unwritten, that is, until now. They're pretty basic, but they guide me to this day in my attempts at mischief-making. Beyond the obvious and intuitive safety precautions, they are as follows:
  • Do not mess with anyone's food or drink. Everyone deserves to know that they can get up to pee and not have to take their plate with them in order to protect it, and that they can eat of the communal pizza without fear.
  • Do not mess with anyone's ability to use the toilet. No plastic wrap on the seat, etc. When you can't pee in safety, you get into bladder/kidney problems or bedwetting, neither of which are funny even when they're not happening to you.
  • Do not mess with anyone's nightly sleep. (Naps are fair game, thanks to Andrew's pre-CPAP ability to doze off mid-sentence.) You can see the common theme here: knowing that you can meet your basic needs in life without interference - because if you can't eat, sleep, and poop in your own house, then life is a daily torment and you might very well have a psychotic break.
  • Finally, don't do anything emotionally damaging or that can't be fixed, and if you're pranking via false information, don't tell them that something happened that is emotionally damaging or can't be fixed (i.e. don't tell them that their dog died, or that someone broke in and stole all their stuff). 
Remember, the goal is to do something that they would find funny after the fact, something that you would laugh at if it happened to you, and above all, something clever, and breaking stuff, crushing their spirit, or giving them a complex is bringing an Uzi to a Nerf gun fight - you may win, but you're going to hurt people, so save it for your actual enemies.

Now, the story about the yacht, which fits the criteria and had Andrew in fits.

We were helping Andrew sell some stuff on eBay, or try to at least, as he wasn't particularly organized or good with computers, and as such we had his eBay account info. In using his computer, we had often changed his screen saver, desktop, or home page to a suitably hilarious picture or website. You would think that between these two things, he would have seen this coming, right? Readers, you see what's going to happen, but Andrew, bless his heart, did not.

We signed in to his account, found an auction for a forty-some-thousand dollar yacht, and took a screen cap of us bidding on it (which of course we didn't actually complete, just filled in enough info so the screenshot would fool him). We then set it as his desktop and turned off the icons, so it looked like an actual webpage, and sent him at it.

"Uh, guys. Why does it look like you bid on a yacht? You didn't actually bid on a yacht, did you? Oh God, it says so right there! You guys bid on a yacht! My dad's going to kill me! Tell me someone else is going to bid on this thing!"

Yes, of course we told him it was faked after a minute or two of watching him flounder, but the fact that he actually thought we would *bid on a yacht* was worth it. You'd think after the day when everything on his computer took him to he would have known better.

Anyway, I'm trying to rig up a device involving water balloons and a garage door opener, or possibly a fog machine. If I pull it off, I'll let you know. Come tell me about your pranks here!

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