The fine line between prank and problem

While pranks can be a great source of amusement and fun, they can actually be a nuisance to everyone when not prepared properly. There’s a lot to consider before executing a prank, and executing one without realizing that fact can result in disaster. Pranks won’t be enjoyable if they’re extremely common, repetitive or aren’t thought out. Genuinely good pranks are few and far between and certain considerations must be made beforehand  Before I execute one of my artful pranks, I consider what I like to call the Three P’s of Pranking: Pain, Purpose and Passing. These three points are what can make the difference between a hilarious prank and a tragic mistake.

Pain

Pranks that hurt people are not funny. For example, I once had an extremely sensitive friend to whom I gave a boiled egg dipped in chocolate, having her believe it was a regular Easter egg. She cried for half an hour. Since I knew that she was so sensitive, I am fully to blame for the result. Unless one is sure that their victim(s) can handle it beyond a reasonable doubt, the prank should be avoided.

Purpose

The most common question I get after a prank is “why?” While shock and laughter are great rewards, I almost always have a reason as to why I pull a prank. In most cases, I prank people to show I care. The girl in the previous example is one of my favorite people in the world, and she loves Easter eggs. Another example would be me covering my former co-editor-in-chiefs’ desks in ketchup and salt packets to show them that I missed and appreciated them after winter break. A sure way to know your prank is a bad one is if you either can’t think of why you’re doing it, or if your reason is out of malice. Even if the prank is as small as hiding something from someone or a pie to the face, or as big as Saran wrapping someone’s car (sorry Jasmine), a prank done with malice isn’t a prank–  it’s an attack.

Passing

All good things must come to an end. If your prank doesn’t, it’s trash. All of my pranks end or are fixable well within an hour. Mariachi bands can leave, disgusting eggs can be spat out and ketchup packets can be removed. Afterwards we can all laugh, return to normal life and some day down the road say “remember that time?” A good prank shouldn’t have lasting effects on people or the environment. Nothing should be permanently broken, no one should be permanently scarred, nothing should be permanently changed. So when I jumped out of the ceiling dressed as a goblin and shattered the desk I landed on and a rule against kids being in the ceiling had to be made, I violated all three of those guidelines. It goes without saying that prank was a bad one.

There’s nothing wrong with a good prank as long as you take the time to think about it and plan it out properly. Make sure you have good sports and that your prank is in good taste. The most important thing to remember is that the purpose of a prank is to make people happy. With that in mind– be the best fool you can be this April.

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