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Harmless Pranks or Foul Play?
Oct 12th, 2009 by Liza Wiemer

Harmless Pranks or Foul Play?

Six POM cases of toilet paper covered this property.  Photo taken by Liza Wiemer

Six POM cases of toilet paper covered this property. Photo by Liza Wiemer

Six empty cases of toilet paper flipped upside down garnished roadside posts.  The toilet paper formed a snowy cascade over home, trees, and bushes.  Homecoming!   Harmless prank?  A rite of passage or foul play?   Some say no big deal – the toilet paper dissolves eventually.  Others claim it’s a mess, disrespectful – money down the toilet, and the culprits should be held accountable and clean it up.

 A friend shared the following story of something his stepson did.  “When he was in high school, my stepson was caught after he and some friends egged a house on Halloween. I took him to the house with a bucket of water, soap, and ladder to remove the eggs and clean the windows. He also took a damaged windowscreen to the hardware store to have it repaired, and paid for it with his own money.  The rest of the kids never made restitution.  He never egged again.  Maybe he saw it was unkind–or just too much work!” 

So what’s fun, and what’s foul?  I believe the line is drawn when damage is done.  Who defines when there’s damage?  That’s definitely tricky business.

dam·age (n)

1. physical harm or injury that makes something less useful, valuable, or able to function 2. a harmful effect on somebody or something 3. the cost or price of something (informal)

(v)    1. vt to cause damage to something or somebody 2. vi to suffer damage

Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Here are a few clever pranks I heard over the weekend, but even these had consequences:

The entire class of junior girls from two private high schools switched schools for a day.  It took a lot of work and coordination, but they pulled it off.  The organizers received suspensions.

Seniors at a public high school let three pigs into their high school.  Each had a number painted on it – 1, 2, and 4.  Everyone was looking for pig #3.

Kids set alarm clocks to go off at various intervals during a class period.  The teacher laughed, but it was one period on one day.  The prank would have lost its humor if it had been repeated.  It also wouldn’t have been funny if others had been done to the same teacher.

Here are a few not so clever and definitely destructive pranks.  (Don’t ever try these.)

Pouring bleach on grass to write:  Class of 2010!  Caused property damage, harmed the environment, destroyed the grass.

A bunch of boys peed in a glass jar and placed it in rafters.  After a few hours in the sweltering heat it stunk.  When an a

dult searched for the smell, he knocked the jar over, broke it, and everything the urine touched – carpeting, woodwork, grout – had to be replaced, because the smell wouldn’t come out.

 On April Fools Day kids dumped out garbage cans over desks, chairs, and floors.  The instigators had a major clean up and plenty of germs to wipe away.  And the smell!!

There are plenty of pranks that fall in between – TPing homes might be one. 

*A note from Liza Wiemer – This post does not in any way advocate this behavior – please be responsible.

What do I think?  It’s best to think before one acts.  Rarely are pranks spontaneous.  And they’re almost never harmless.  One should be held accountable for his or her actions.  Do not do onto others what you would not want done to you.  Do they still teach the GOLDEN RULE in kindergarten???

Please share your prank story – harmful, harmless, helpful (please see comment below), or somewhere in between.

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