Do you like pranks?

The workplace prank thread got me thinking…

I was having a conversation with a coworker today, and he mentioned all the major pranks he’d pulled on people in his lab. Once, he switched microscope slides on someone, and for a half-hour he allowed her to think that there was contamination in her samples. Another time he repeatedly prank-called a coworker, disturbing her so much that she threatened to call security.

He thought these were all very funny moments, but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the targets. People know that I’m gullible and often play similar tricks on me. Sometimes they work, but sometimes, they just leave me feeling tired and embarrassed. I’m not a serious person at all and I love to laugh and tell jokes, but I prefer humor that doesn’t occur at the expense of others (that’s why I cringe at Sacha Cohen’s stuff). I hate that feeling that people are laughing at me, watching me struggle or act a fool when I don’t even know it. I use self-deprecatory humor to cope with my own self-esteem issues, but when people poke fun at me (even in a light-hearted way), I often have to pretend to be amused.

Worse, I start losing trust in people when they continually play jokes on me. If every other thing someone tells me is a “gotcha”, I’m going to stop believing them…even when they tell me the truth. Which means I’m bound to look like a fool when they find out.

I’ve always had a hard time participating in pranks. I remember in the eighth grade, on April Fool’s Day, one of the kids rallied everyone together to fool the teacher into thinking that we’d all forgotten to do our weekly presentations. Everyone was able to go along with the plan except for me, because the idea of making a fool out of the teacher (and lying to her) was too overwhelming. My class hated me for it (especially since she gave the pranksters “F” for the missing assignment,even after she found out what was going on). I guess I’m a goodie-two-shoes.

Are there other people like me? Humorous people* who just cannot handle pranks? And for those Dopers who prank people, do you ever worry that you’re taking a huge risk when you pull a stunt? Or are you usually certain that people will understand they’re being laughed with and not at?

*I really do have a sense of humor. Despite being a goodie-two-shoes, I was voted Most Humorous in high school.

I think pranks can be great. But they should be easily reversible, not going to hurt anyone’s feelings (rather a good prank should be a gesture of friendship), and you should choose your mark very, very carefully.

If in doubt, don’t.

Here’s a prank that can be good if you live in an apartment building or a residence.

When you know someone’s not home, fill a garbage bag with shaving cream and slip the open end under their door. Then, making sure the opening stays under the door, you can stomp on the bag and shaving cream will be spewed over a fairly large area inside. Chances are the person won’t even be able to figure out how it happened.

I guess you could potentially mix something else nasty with the shaving cream, but I personally wouldn’t be THAT mean.

And if you get caught, at best you’ll pay for the damages. At worst, you’ll get your skull caved in.

No, I don’t like pranks, I would never forgive someone who pulled one on me, and back when I was young and stupid I’d likely assault you if I caught you. These days, I’d just prosecute. And for something like that, I’d be your enemy for the rest of your life.

And when I say never, I mean never.

I’m not a big fan of pranks. The worst one that’s ever been played on me (I think) was having my bed short-sheeted while on a retreat, but I’ve been a part of a few–never my idea. In fact one I didn’t object to as much as I should have really hurt people’s feelings–no objects were hurt, and the victems got over it, but I don’t think it qualifies as easily reversable.

I know people who really like them, and I can enjoy a clever prank in the abstract, but I don’t entirely approve, and I don’t know that I’d participate in one now.

I think the point is that you do it when they’re not there, so they don’t know who did it.

I can’t imagine shaving cream actually damaging anything anyway, since in my experience what doesn’t disintegrate can just be washed off.

This doesn’t sound remotely funny. Are you supposed to wait in the bushes for this person to come home so you can see their reaction? Is the person suppose to find it funny that they have to cleaned up the mess?

I usually have to pee real bad when I get home. Discovering a floorfull of shaving cream would make me piss on myself in anger and confusion.

Not to say shaving cream pranks can’t be funny. When I was in high school, my orchestra took a field trip to New Orleans. The group visited a cemetary and stumbled across an open grave. A friend pushed me into the pile of dirt and mass hysteria ensued because I had disturbed the “ghosts”. The next morning, I awoke to find a scary message (that I’ve forgotten) written on the window of my hotel room, in shaving cream. My friend was clever enough to make the letters backwards, so that I could read it from the inside. I love pranks like that because it doesn’t involve embarrassment or inconvenience. On the other hand, shaving cream on the floor is more like vandalism than humor, IMHO.

Shaving cream can’t just be washed off certain things - it can damage surfaces and varnishes and that sort of prank really isn’t smart or funny. I’m the same as the OP - I refuse to pull nasty tricks on people, especially teachers. When I was in third grade, a boy thought it would be really funny to put superglue on my chair. I didn’t stick to the chair but I spent the rest of the day in sick bay, with the nurse trying to remove it with turpentine and nail polish remover. It was so embarrassing because I had to lie face down with her trying to scratch the glue off the backs of my thighs.

Pranks like the tin foil bonanza or the hamster cage switcheroo were fun because all involved were not out to be cruel to each other and they were all friends. The stunts didn’t damage any property or hurt anyone’s feelings. They didn’t pick on anyone’s faults or belittle others. A good prank does no permanent damage, causes no ill will and is easily reversed. The mark will be gracious and may get his own back but not with vengeance.

Whether or not pranks are funny is very subjective. It depends on the prank, the person, the timing, everything. I refuse to participate in anything that could possibly destroy property or cause physical pain. It should make the recipient laugh, not cry or become angry.

pssst - that was a really elaborate prank that you never did get.

I love pranks. Its all fun and games until My Eye gets poked out.

I pulled a good one on my sister once, too long and complex to go into the details, but I made her think her car broke down in the middle of the night in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE while on a wild goose chase. Turned out I really took her to a “surprise party” and fun was had by all. She made a big scene before the “reveal” and it was pretty comical.

I used to pick on my sister. I had a spool of fishing line, and I would run it from all the way from the upstairs hall to the downstairs hall, through the dining room, and into the kitchen. I’d stick the the end of the line under a plastic cup sitting on the edge of the kitchen counter. Then I’d wait and when my sis went into the kitchen (this worked best at night) I’d pull the line and the cup would drop off the counter, making a loud noise when it hit the ceramic tile floor.
My friend and I used to mess with each other’s car when we were left alone in the passenger seat. Everything would be turned on, heat full blast, wipers, radio full volume. So when the person driving got back in and turned the key, all hell broke loose.
See, innocent, fun, nobody got hurt.

I like pranks however as I pointed out in the workplace prank thread I’ve got ground rules (must be funny, no permanent damage, clean up after yourself, expect retribution and know the victim well enough to be certain it’ll go over well).

My former boss and I pull pranks on each other all the time and it’s good fun. There are other people who just can’t handle it so there’s no point in zinging them - if you know you’re going to make someone angry/frustrated/embarrassed then that’s just being mean.

I like pranks as long as they aren’t targeted at a specific individual, that just seems too mean. But I love reading about things like the MIT pranks, I always think they are funny and clever. On a slightly smaller scale, our office used to have an ongoing competition with another office, and it involved some pranks that were directed at the entire group – those seemed more okay to me because no one was being singled out.

I like certain types of pranks – pranks that make the target deal with an increasingly improbable and bizarre situation are hysterical to me. Pranks that mess with people’s frame of reference or view of what’s real or possible are endlessly amusing.

Just doing something annoying or upsetting to someone else for your own amusement? Not funny at all. It’s only good if you can be sure that the target of the joke will have a good time with it, on balance.

Yeah, those are fun - the cup one would cause me to lose my shit but I love a good scare - which is why I love Ben Leffler games, even if I have to play them during the day with the sound off and the knowledge that my boyfriend will be in bed with me. Alive. :smiley: I’m such a wimp. The car one is good too because it gives you a start but hey, you can always turn it down/off!

And I love the MIT pranks because they take so much effort and they always look great.

Sometimes they suck. Check out this story (from popbitch):

She’s hot though! Worth a Google.

jjimm, she’s definitely a babe but yeah, I can understand why that wouldn’t be funny. In some cases, giving people a fright like that can be funny but of course, it depends on what they’ve done. 2dayfm, my local radio station has taken to doing Celebrity Scams, where they set up a celeb and freak them out. They told one girl that they couldn’t renovate her house, but had to tear it down. She’d get 70% of the market value back and she went nuts because she’d “just bought the f#%^ing house!!!”

They’ve made some of them cry and the rest really irate, and I can’t imagine ever being entertained by it. I hated “Punk’d” too for the same reason - people were getting upset.

I don’t like personal pranks, but I think some of the Trigger-Happy TV stuff that just confuses people (in the sort of way Larry Mudd describes above) are just great.

Here’s one of my favourites:

And if they unexpectedly return at just the wrong time ? You get arrested or beat on, depending on the temperament of your victim. I think that there are very few people who would find your vandalization of their home funny. Cowardice and vandalism are not funny.