Sunday, June 14, 2009

Practically HILARIOUS!

A friend of mine recently related the story of the time she fell victim to a variation on the old “saran wrap across the toilet” practical joke. I’m sure you’re familiar with it – a piece of plastic wrap is stretched across the toilet beneath the seat, so that when someone sits down to do their business, they become soaked with their own urine, being unaware of the barrier below. Ideally, this takes place at an elegant business dinner at a posh restaurant, with the victim emerging from the restroom dripping and reeking of their own waste, and, unable to graciously acknowledge a prank well played, runs crying from the building, and, envisioning the inevitable and shameful arrival at the office the next morning, hurls him/herself off a bridge into the icy waters below.

In my friend's case, the variation involved a beer can, so that the result was merely a confused “why no beer?” moment.

Everyone loves a good practical joke. Properly done, the victim will be so impressed with the ingenuity behind the gag that he/she will laugh loudly along with everyone else, and buy the perpetrator an ale or two! Unfortunately, the perfection required to elicit such a response is rarely achieved, and a far more common result is a serious ass-kickin’. Wear good running shoes when you attempt a practical joke. That’s the “practical” part.

Anyway, my friend’s recollection of the incident brought back some memories for me … fond remembrances of some of my (in my humble opinion, of course) better pranks, any and all of which you are welcome; nay, encouraged, to try:

1) We all know bicyclists. They’re wonderful people, with wonderful intentions, whether they ride for health, environmental reasons, or pure enjoyment. But many have an odd habit at intersections, in which they look not at their traffic signal, waiting for it to become green, but at the cross traffic to slow down as if the car is approaching a red light, to know when it’s their time to cross. So upon seeing such a cyclist, clearly identifiable by a fixed gaze down toward you as you approach, slow down and come to a stop at the crosswalk (even though your light is still green). The cyclist, assuming he/she has a green light, will begin to ride across, only to be crushed by a vehicle coming the other way. Ha ha!

2) This next one takes some dedication, and is really only applicable in mountainous regions. You’ll need a steep pass where there are runaway truck ramps every so often. Pick one that relies on deep gravel to slow the truck down (some are quite lengthy, and simply go up the side of the mountain, stopping the semi using gravity). Buy a whole bunch of cement mix, and sprinkle the mix over the whole ramp. Eventually, a rain will come, and the cement will set in such a way that the safety ramp will appear completely normal, but will be as solid as a driveway. Believe it or not, brakes do fail, and after some period, a semi (hopefully a triple-trailer hauling chemicals!) will use the ramp … I’ll leave it you to imagine the ensuing hilarity!

3) My last offering involves the magic of chemistry. It’s a bit counter intuitive to think of water causing an explosion, but believe it or not, the reaction when water and sodium are mixed is quite violent. Acquire some sodium – maybe 50 grams or so. Not sodium chloride (table salt), but real sodium. Next, buy some headache medicine that uses the little red and white caplets that make it easy to swallow, but that dissolve quickly, once in the stomach. Open the tablets and replace the medicine with the sodium. Then place the joke tablets in the shower head of your victim. He/she will get the water the right temperature via the tub spigot, then redirect the water to the shower, and step in. Approximately 15-20 seconds later, a hellish inferno will take the place of the previously soothing stream of water. Awesome!

Some people like puns, some like bawdy jokes, still others the wry humor of cowboy poetry. I’m an unapologetic fan of the practical joke – I hope you get an opportunity to try these out! Feel free to share your own crazy acts of hijinx in comments.

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