April Fool’s Day is the one time of the year where people get to pull the ultimate prank. People have the greatest time being goofballs and laughing so hard their stomachs hurt or they have tears in our eyes. However, today’s pranksters are starting to go far beyond the traditional whoopee cushion on a office chair making some people ask, how far is too far?
Google, a highly trusted source for emailing and researching, even got in on the April Fool’s Day pranks with its “Send Mic drop” button. It inserted a GIF featuring a Minion into Gmails, but after it was sent, it accidently deleted email conversations within the sender’s and receiver’s accounts. The company apologized to its users, but for some people it was too late, because the “prank” caused problems with employers and whole companies.
Taking tricks too far hit home when a colleague of mine, Mike Longenecker, 27, was part of the April Fool’s prank. Late that night, Longenecker was kept busy while co-workers sprayed his truck with shaving cream, wrapped it in streamers and toilet paper and taped balloons to it. It was messy, made his car very greasy, but all-in-all he figured it was a typical prank that had caused no damage.
However, from the time the Kmart associates had TP’d his truck, to the next morning when he had to report for work, he noticed his car was leaking coolant. When he looked under the car he saw a stick shoved into his radiator hose. Later he realized someone had sliced his radiator hose with a knife and put a stick in the hole to make it look like an accident. This “prank” would soon cost him almost $1,200.
He didn’t want his car to overheat, so he left his truck at work where it seemed April Fool’s Day turned into a Fool’s Weekend. He returned to find his front and rear passenger side windows blown out. Longenecker later found out that someone who holds a grudge against him was shooting marbles into his windows. The marbles didn’t do much damage, so they may have used their fists, elbow or a baseball bat to make an even bigger hole, which was large enough to fit someone’s head through.
Extensive pranks of this kind are not just popular with adults, however. The Disney Channel, famous for its innocent characters such as Hannah Montana and Mickey Mouse, has a new show where kids pull pranks on adults and other kids. Walk the Prank is similar to PUNK’D or CANDID CAMERA We all know that on these shows some things often get out of hand and while this may be good for a few laughs, the kids on this new Disney version are shown basking in the limelight of online views and reposts. The goal it seems is for the characters to get the most online miles out of other people’s fear or pain. Is this the only thing producers can come up with is 11-15 year old kids playing jokes on people?
But in the back of my mind, I am reminded of a Facebook video where a guy got so scared he had a seizure. I would be worried that this kind of show would influence the Disney audience to mimic the pranks, and they could potentially hurt someone with health risks or cause serious property damage as a result.
Pranks can be serious business and go far beyond a healthy laugh. The desire to see a person’s reaction (and those encouraging retweets or shares) could be tempting but to what extent and at what cost? April Fool’s or not, keep calm and prank on (just proceed with caution).