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112. When your prank ends up making you feel like a jerk

Have your friends ever played a prank on you? How did you react?

Sometimes, a prank just turns out perfect even though most of it is impromptu… you know, one of those times when minds come together magically to embarrass the crap out of someone in perfect harmony, one improvisation after another. It all works out fine, until

  • Someone starts crying.
  • Something breaks.
  • Somebody gets hurt.

But there’s another thing that can completely ruin the mood: When the person you’re playing the prank on does not react the way you were expecting them to and he or she gets mad at you, walks away, and hates you for the next half hour.

A group of us were at an engineering conference in Washington D.C. a while back, and met a friend of a friend who happened to have just seen the first Paranormal Activity movie (it confused people for a while, making us wonder if it was actual footage, or acted out) and we figured it was a good idea to pretend there was a ghost in our hotel room, and scare her.

Someone’s job was to hide in a little storage closet, and open the door suddenly to freak her out. That was it. Another friend decided to hide by the bed near the window and shake the curtains. My job was to freak out with her –hey, it’s a lot easier to get scared when someone is doing it with you.

Nallely walks into the room.

“Hey guys, are we gonna go downstairs later or what?” she asked.

“We’ve been hearing some noises around here… let’s check it out,” I responded.

“No guys, come on, I just watched that movie I was telling you about, it really scared me… like seriously please stop,” she replied.

Another one of us was by the lamp, ready to turn it off on cue (which we didn’t plan out). We still weren’t sure how the thing was going to work out. Suddenly, the lights went off and it was show time. The door opened and closed. We heard screams. Yes, screams… I guess I might have actually freaked out a little. The lights turned back on and I pointed out the curtains which were shaking violently, and watched her step toward the back wall in disbelief.

“Alright, let me check it out… I’m sure someone is hiding in here or something,” I said, walking toward the closet door.

“No don’t! Why would there be anyone in there? Edwin, please,” Nallely said to me.

I walked toward the door and opened it and stepped inside, and it shut behind me! Just kidding, I shut it behind me for dramatic effect, and pretended to not be able to open it; I shook the knob for about five seconds and then stayed dead silent. I heard George, the guy in charge of the lamp, say something about trying to help me out. He stepped toward the closet and opened the door. I ducked down, and he pretended not to see me as I crawled out into the open door of the bathroom to my left (Nallely’s vision blocked by the bed).

“You guys are not gonna believe this. Edwin’s gone!”

“What?” said Crystal, one of the people involved with the prank, “OK guys, we shouldn’t be messing with this, let’s call it off,”

“Where did he go?” Nallely asked, completely ignoring the “call it off” part Crystal had said.

While I was hiding in the bathroom, which had someone else in there (not using the toilet, thankfully) who was also hiding proposed to slam the bathroom door shut. So we did.

We heard screams, and then silence. They had stepped outside. We waited a while, secretly hoping that the prank hadn’t turned on us, until finally they came back in. I ran out, pretending to have no idea of how I ended up in the bathroom. Once outside of our room, I nervously said that I was not going to go back in there, and looked around for reactions. Yeah, things got very confusing.

Nallely’s reaction caught me a little off-guard. She was about to cry.

We called it off, apologized and felt like jerks. How could we do such a thing? Ugh.

But then someone said, “You should’ve seen the look on your face!” and she laughed, and we all cracked up about it and let it become one of the highlights of our trip. Pheew!

That was close.

More awkward:

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4 Comments
  1. TBM #

    A few pranks have backfired on me. But I get more pranks pulled on me. I guess I’m gullible and jumpy. People love to pick on my jumpiness, but it is in good fun–most of the time.

    March 5, 2012
  2. I startle way too easily and NEVER liked pranks or “practical” jokes (neither practical nor jokes in my book). I’ve ended up on the crying end of other people’s idea of “fun.” The weird thing is that I was always the person who felt the worst about it (I was the “kill joy”). Lose-lose situation for the Highly Sensitive Person… 😐

    March 5, 2012
  3. I don’t like being scared at all, and have never been to any of the mainstream horror films because of that. I warned my kids as they got older to never attempt to jump out from behind a door because I didn’t know what I would do. One of them did it anyway and I instinctively punched him very hard in the stomach. That was the last time any of them did that.

    March 5, 2012
  4. Oh no! I usually break something when I try to pull off a prank, and then I feel like I should change my name to M.C. Jerkface.

    March 5, 2012

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