SUPER COLLECTION OF PRACTIAL JOKES
(NOTE: This contains all 4 parts, concatenated.)
From davidv@sco.COM Sat Dec 2 09:53:06 1989
From: davidv@sco.COM (David Vangerov)
Subject: Super Collection of Practical Jokes (part 1 of 4)
here it is, as promised (and requested), 3500 lines of practical
(and not so practical) jokes that folks have played. my thanks
to firstname.lastname@example.org for editing the thing oh so long ago. due to
the fact that it got edited, attributions have been lost in this
file, but somwhere in the depths of my account i have the orginal
headers and what not (360K or so, compared to 170K for this file).
One joke that we did in residence was the Chinese Fire Drill,
I don't quite know why it is called that. Anyway..
The victim is on the pot in the dorm washroom. Everyone grabs a bucket
(we used the waste baskets from our rooms) and fills the buckets with
water. Take a paper bag and set it on fire, toss it under the door into the
stall. Yell fire as everyone tosses the water into the stall. Needless to say
the fire as well as the victim get very wet.
This one fellow in the house was hit a number of times and took to relieving
himself in other locals. We followed him a couple of times and nailed him
in many parts of the residence.
Later of course we conspired with our victim to get back at the
original instigator of the drill. The guy in the stall had a bucket of water,
and when the the instigator tossed the bag in we all hit him.
It is common for draftsmen to sprinkle SCUMEX (powdered rubber
eraser) on tracings prior to doing any drawing on it. This reduces
smearing of the pencil marks and such and results in a cleaner
At a former employers we had replaced the Scumex at one draftsmans
desk with dried parmesian cheese. It looked about the same. It was
extremely interesting watching him draw for a while and then begin
to smell the paper. Took the poor dude almost 10 minutes to guess
that he had been gigged!
I just pulled one on somebody -- I slipped some of those anti-
shoplifting strips into the lining of the victim's favorite
jacket. I was set to pull another one, but didn't get the chance
- to cut out a silhouette of a gun from metal and hide it in a
piece of carry-on luggage.
Two teachers at my high school started a practical joke war
that culminated in a junk mail war of huge proportions. They
finally called a truce and got it cleared up and the mail stopped,
EXCEPT for the military mail that one had signed the other one up
for. He wrote (honestly) that he had graduated from a fine college
and was interested in the Marines, Air Force, etc. etc.
When I left, about two years after this, he was still
getting PHONE CALLS from 2-4 times a month.... they were VERY
persistant even over he (loud) objections that he was 45 and not
interested in a career change...
New secretary (second day on the job) answers telephone as is told in
official tones: "This is the phone company. We are testing a new
circuit wiring scheme in your offices. Please keep everyone off the
phones for the next 10 minutes. We will be verifying the correct wiring
of your system by passing HOT STEAM through the wires. Instruct your
employees to place their phones on the floor, or, better yet, wrap them
in towels to avoid scalding themselves. We will advise you when the
tests are complete *click*" After momentary panic, the secretary begins
a frenzied "Paul Revere" routine, running from desk to desk while
glancing frequently at her watch. Just as the 10 minutes are about up,
she bursts into her boss's office (while he is in the midst of an
important long-distance call) and, screaming, grabs the receiver from
his hand and flings the whole phone under his desk...
Tell someone you can pin a glass of water to the wall --
a real glass, not a paper cup, using an ordinary straight
pin. Naturally they won't believe, so you set out to
Get a glass of water and a pin. Hold the glass up to the
wall and start to pin it up. And then drop the pin.
You've got the glass in position just right, so you ask
your victim real nice to get the pin for you. When they
bend down to pick it up, dump the water on their head.
This works especially well when there's a crowd of people watching.
It can also be very dangerous for the joker, so be careful if you
one time in my undergrad days, it was snowing like mad
out. someone decided it was time a make a snowball. then
someone else suggested that we should put this snowball in
this one guy's room-- nobody liked this guy-- so when the
word got around, half the people in our dorm section came
out and help! we got this sucker so BIG that it must be
at least 4 feet in diameter. it took about 6 person to haul
the darn thing up 3 flights of stairs. we got the snowball
into this guy's room while he was out, turn off the heat in
the room and left all the windows open, so the snowball
won't melt too fast. well... the turkey came back 3 hours
later and found a HUGH snowball sitting in the middle of his
room, and started melting! I still have the picture of the
snowball. (if you really wonder how big the snowball is,
just imagine a snowball the size of a normal dinning room
This reminds me of a similar stunt we used to enjoy at the dining hall
in my undergrad days. The food service used opaque plastic salt and
pepper shakers with pop-off tops that could be pried off with a knife
blade if you were persistent enough.
PREPARATION (in a restroom nearby): (1) Empty salt ( or pepper) from a
previously 'acquired' container and fill about 1/3 full with
concentrated lemon juice. (2) Place a thin tissue across the opening,
poke it down a bit to form a depression, and fill the depression with
about a teaspoon of baking soda. (3) Cover (from the inside) the
holes of the top with tape of the appropriate color. (4) Replace top
on container and trim visible tissue from around the top.
Carry the device to dining hall (upright and as stable as is
possible... for your own sake).
After discretely placing the shaker on your table (only place it near
to you... see caveat #1 below), observe the next person to use the
salt (pepper). (S)He will shake lightly at first, then harder as
nothing comes out. Due to the breakdown of the tissue and the pressure
resulting from the classic acid/base reaction, the top will pop off
(quite spectacularly) amidst a shower of foam. Your victim (as will as
everyone around) should have quite a reaction, since one does not
usually observe this type of behavior in a salt (pepper) shaker!
CAVEATS: 1. The top will come off with some force. If the holes are
sealed well, this will happen on about the second or third shake.
Once, though, due to poor sealing, it took about 5 seconds, during
which time our victim started looking at the shaker to examine the
"foamy stuff coming out" of the holes... we quickly grabbed the shaker
>from her to direct the top towards the ceiling before it went off. So,
2. The "foam shower" (lemon juice & soda) may ruin you victim meal...
be prepared to pop for another one.
3. Don't do this if your victim or anyone near ground zero is dressed
up (this joke will flop at board meetings and the like).
This joke has been done 50 (yes, 50) years ago by my father-in-law.
First, a little background:
He lived in a small village, north-west of Quebec City along the St-Laurent
river. In those days, toilets were located outside the house in what
we call in good ol' french canadian 'becosse', from 'back house' I think.
These are a little wood shack with no floor over a hole in the ground
where you ... You can guess.
Now, for the joke:
He and a friend were thrown out of a party by the doorman.
When it was really dark,, the doorman went to investigate what was
knocking at the window. They had suspended a rock to the window
frame so it hung right it the middle and tied another string
to the rock and hid behind the 'becosse' where they pulled
that second string to make the rock knock in the window.
That's an old trick. The doorman wouldn't fall for that one. So
he followed the second string in the dark
and soon concluded that they were hidding behind the 'becosse'.
He ran toward the merely visible wood structure...
But my father-in-law and his friend had taken care of moving the
shack six feet ... Boy he fell in the sh*t !!
This one hasn't come up despite the presence of UCLA on the net. I'm
led to the sad conclusion that the tradition has died.
In the mid '70s, just before it was overrun by fanatic Dungeons &
Dragons (tm) players, the UCLA Computer Club was host to a long series
of "glitter traps." Example: joke subject sits at a desk, pulls out a
drawer. A string runs from the back of the drawer, up the wall, into
the false ceiling, over to a spot directly over the subject's head,
where it triggers the trap: a mousetrap whose action snaps a card away
>from its position covering a funnel, releasing a handful of glitter,
which flows down the funnel, through its spout, through a hole in the
ceiling acoustic tile, onto the subject. It was wonderful to watch: a
muffled snapping noise, a quiet "chuff," and the slow, glittery descent
of a cloud of brightly colored dust, to settle over the head and
shoulders of a club member who by now has assumed an expression of
Another, more short-lived ploy was to suspend a wooden horseshoe by a
string from the ceiling in the corridor, such that the horseshow
dangles a couple of inches above the top of an upright broom. Most
conventional brooms will stand on their straws with a little coaxing.
We attached a sign labeling the horseshow "wood magnet." Quite a few
people took it at face value.
Another Cow joke I attribute to my 'Ol chemestry prof was the placement of
a cow onto the roof. I would presume a fairly storng roof, but once up
there it would be hard to hide the fact to the cow that any direction would
Another pratical joke involved the use of outhouses. Once the target has
established himself you take up the slack on the attached rope which has
been measured to set up tremendious harmonics in the structure. When the
rope transfers your strumming to the outhouse, it usually falls apart with
a most revieling nature..
I was once in a nice family-style restaurant when I observed
some kids supergluing the dishes to the table. They also attached
the silverware, napkins, salt, pepper, etc. If it wasn't already nailed down,
it was now. They stayed long enough to let the glue set, and then paid and
left. They watched as the poor busboy tried to get the stuff off of the table.
Also funny is supergluing a quarter to the sidewalk. I know its old,
but in the city, with the diverse types of people around, it gets really
amusing. I watched this old lady whack at it with her cane for about 10 min.
A few months ago I saw a newspaper clipping which told of a newspaper in
Illinois (I think...) which ran a story warning consumers that, on such-and-
such day, Illinois Bell would be "blowing the dust out of the phone lines" and
that all phone owners should cover the earpiece of their phones with a bag to
catch the dust.
Bell made them print a retraction, after receiving numerous calls asking
what sort of bag to use ...
People, they is amazing.
When I was in college our RA told us of a good one that (supposedly)
some friends had pulled a couple of years earlier. These two guys made
up a concoction of all kinds of left overs, semi-pureed it in a blender,
and filled a hot water bottle with it. One of them took the hot water
bottle, taped it to his stomach inside of his shirt and put a short
piece of hose into the top so that it came up to the front of his shirt
collar, but not visible. They both went to a local pub and sat at the
bar, acting already slightly intoxicated. After having a couple of beers
the guy with the hot water bottle says that he is feeling sick a couple
of times and "barfs" VERY loudly all over the bar to attract attention.
Naturally this causes the patrons to move away from him, all except his
buddy, who calmy pulls a fork out of his coat pocket and begins EATING
the stuff. ;-) I don't know how true it is, but I'd love to have been
there watching faces if it was...
I can't resist a few:
1. Once you have stolen a dormmate's room keys, the room is yours to
plunder. As a variation, steal the dorm keys but reverse the lock
(so the keyhole faces INTO the room); we had a mechanical engineer
who got this down to about 20 seconds. Then loudly announce to the
victim you own the keys, but "let" them win the race back to their
room. PRESTO! Locked inside their own room (with no keys). If
you've fixed the phone to continually ring, they get very pliable
after about 10 minutes.
2. We connected our secretary's electric typewriter to a variac (can
vary the line voltage). At about 40-50 volts (out of the 110)
the little ball makes three or four jerky attempts before finally
striking a faint imprint. Fairly pathetic looking, actually.
3. Reverse the horizontal yoke leads on terminals (so the text comes
out backwards from right to left). This works best on a software
team who thinks they have just released the firmware for screen
drivers. Besides, hardware people figure it out too quickly.
4. Hand lotion inside of an air hose on the final assembly line is
effective, but very vindictive. Use with caution (now, I'm not
saying I ever did this, but I "saw" it done once :-)
And the standard saran wrap across women's toilets, Karo syrup, flour in
the shower, water-filled surgical tubing jammed in a drawer....ah, for
the good old days!!
One night when you have a few friends around, take turns calling the
same phone number, a really obnoxious acquaintance that won't
recognize your voices is always a good choice. When the person
answers, try to leave a message for John Smith (or any name that
sounds real). Insist that you have the right number and even read
their number to them. Have a bit of fun here, and stretch this on as
long as possible. Repeat several times, once or twice an hour. Let
everybody have a turn at calling. Just as the party is breaking up,
call one last time. Tell the poor soul answering the phone that you
are John Smith, and ask "Are there any messages for me?" This is sure
to get a groan.
Seven friends once pulled this at my college cafeteria.
One put a hot water bottle filled with pea soup down his chest;
he sat at the head of a table, with the other six friends
sitting along the sides.
When the cafeteria was pretty full of people,
he made a loud noise (to attract attention),
stood up, bent over and squeezed his chest.
This caused a huge gush of green liquid to spew all over the table;
the other six immediately began to eat this green liquid.
I think a lot of food went uneaten that night.
Here's one that my roommate and myself did to a residence buddy. One
morning (early) we taped together a bunch of sheets of newspaper to cover
the victims doorframe. Then taped this big sheet over the doorframe which
left a gap of about two or three inches between the sheet and the door.
Then we filled the gap with paper balls right to the top of the doorway.
When he opened the door he was showered with a barrage of paper balls (makes
a nice mess too!) Of course, the door has to swing in for this to work!
My roommate was (and is) rather inventive and can be quite nasty. He buttered
all of the toilet seats in our wing of the residence (fortunately told me
first). He also buttered doorknobs at one point. We wrapped celophane over
the toilet bowl then replaced the seat: this one can be really messy!
Try this: hang a shower curtain out a window. When the person below reaches
out and pulls it in, pour a bucket of water onto the shower curtain. Listen
to hear the results. Requires a nosy neighbor below you.
Six friends of mine and myself tried a less complicated version of the classic
dismantling of a car and putting it back together somewhere strange. We lifted
a friends car that was parked between two other cars and turned it so that the
front and back end were facing the neighboring cars. This posed quite a problem
for our friend when he decided to go home. Requires either a small car or a lot
of very strong people! :-) I take no responsibility for any back injuries that
result from this. Of course I take no responsibility for any of my actions. :-)
There are, of course, some fairly standard pranks that are pulled in residence.
Typically, people are shafted on their birthday which is therefore a hazardous
date to reveal. Total demolition of a room is quite common, but lacks any real
humor. A common shaft is to remove everything from the victims room and set it
up somewhere else exactly as it was. The best examples I saw of this were: a
room moved to the roof of a science building, a room moved to the front
courtyard of the residence (really funny when it started to snow!) and a room
moved to the dining hall.
When I was younger, I had a practical joke genius for a working companion. We
both worked in the same computer store for a while. He left and became manager
of another store. I remember receiving an envelope with his firms return address
on it. Inside was a very silly brochure. I said aloud "There has to be something
else in this envelope". So I looked and of course there was a sheet of paper.
It read "No there is nothing else in this envelope!" I could never get him back
for anything that he pulled but he was an inspiration. The last practical joke
that I will relate was one that he taught me and it requires a bit of time to
prepare. First you need: iodine cristals and some amonium hydroxide. Mix the
two together and a brown sludge will form. Drain off the excess liquid and let
the sludge dry. The result? Snap powder, a pressure sensitive explosive. Just
sprinkle this on the floor and watch people's reactions. Its quite amusing.
I have lived in several different houses with a bunch of guys. Needless
to say things got pretty rowdy sometimes and many were victims of some
pretty funny jokes. One of the favorites as I recall (and still is) is
to go into the bathroom while the victim is taking a shower, and pour
a bucket of extreeeemmmlly cold water on them over the top of the
shower curtain. This is quite a shocking experience, and if you are
fast enough you can get away before the victim finds out you did it.
I remember one guy I lived with getting this all the time. One time
he got sick of putting up with it and jumped out of the shower into
the hall squirting shampoo at everyone in sight. The next time this
happened the guys were ready with a camera to take pictures of him as
he ran out of the bathroom. These pictures were later shown at his
1) Got a neighbor that's a real pain in the ass? Do they have a
lawn? Do they have a garden that's accessible? Yes to all the
above? Great! Go out and get yourself some grass-killer and fill
the suckers hose with the stuff. Then sit back and wait for them
water their lawn! Nuff said?
2) Does the person that you want to get even with drink red wine? If
so, have I got one for you! Get yourself some Neutral Red, a water
soluble, crystalline, red dye. Mix some into the persons wine and
wait for them to take a leak. (Nuetral Red comes out as red as it
goes in, and people have a tendancy to get really nervous when they
start pissing what they think is blood!
3) (I'm surprised nobody mentioned this one yet.) Go to a pet shop and
buy a fancy looking pet collar and leash. Then, the next time you
see a dead animal in the road, attach the leash and collar setup
to its neck. Attach the whole thing to revengees rear bumper, making
sure to toss dead animal under the car so it won't be seen. When
revengee drives away, chances are he/she will be stopped by either a cop
or a member of some animal lovers group for draggin some poor defenseless
pet down the road. Either way, they are gonna have some awful quick
explaining to do!
4) Last, but certainly not least, is a great stink bomb. This one takes
a bit of time for preparation, so it's not too good for spontaneous
revenge. (But it's worth the time!) Get a quart jar with a rubber seal.
(Mason jars work quite well.) Pour about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of crystal Drano
along with about an inch or so of warm water into the jar. Place the
lid on the jar and allow the mixture to sit in a warm place for about an
hour. Take the lid off and add six egg whites, (no yokes). Add a quarter
cup of Methylene Blue, then fill the jar to within an inch of the top
with water. Seal the jar tightly and allow to sit for four to six weeks.
(I warned you it takes a while!) When the 'bomb' is ready to use, you
can either throw it like a molitov(sp?) cocktail, or shake it up and
pour the contents out, making damn sure you don't get any on yourself.
The results have to be seen, or is that smelled, to be beleived!
Is everyone out in net land familiar with Sensormatic? They are the company
that make the large plastic clips that set off alarms when you exit a
department store. I used to work for a department store and the is what
Open up the clip and remove the shiny piece of paper. It is about an inch
long and about half an inch wide. This is the "thingy" (that is the technical
word for it) that sets off the alarm. This "thingy" is easy to insert into
a pen case, lining of a jacket ...
We did this to a co worker and needless to say, he had problems wearing a
particular jacket to work.
We have various local spots where the teenagers park, cruise, hold drag
races, drink beer etc. We happen to own a white 1983 Dodge Diplomat,
the exact kind of car used by the State Patrol around here as well as
many law enforcement agencies nationwide. (Actually our car WAS a
state patrol car, but that's another story). Anyway, my brother in
law, who is a cruiser, would occasionally borrow this car and drive it
down to the cruising spots. Needless to say, when they saw him coming
there was brief but furious activity. He finally had to stop doing
this because it made his friends so mad.
People hate to pass us on the freeway too. It is not unusual to see
some Camaro or Porche come zipping along through traffic until he is
about 2 car lengths behind us, then decelerate to a perfect 55.00 miles
per hour. It takes him about 10 seconds to look us over, decide we
aren't in uniform, notice that we don't have state license plates, and
make up his mind. He will then typiclaly test how fast his car will
accelerate to about 90 mph.
They had a 'witchy' old lady next door that was constantly complaining
about everything and everyone in the neighborhood. After one really good
round about kids and pets messing up her spotless front yard, my buddies
planned what turned out to be a better joke than they originally thought.
Juvenile as we all were, they planned to write some dirty words in her
meticulously-groomed front lawn with some kind of powder that would stand
out. The only thing they could find was some Ortho Super-Gro Lawn Food
(white powdery stuff). They wrote the message in the dead of night, and
next morning it was bold and white for the world to see.
The 'kicker' came after. She came out, saw the graffiti, and immediately
grabbed a hose and WATERED IT OFF!
To this day, those sections of grass are just a little bit greener than
everything around them, and the words can STILL be read!
This reminds me of a story that a former roommate related to me. In college
he and a group of friends got revenge on complete strangers. ....Well, let
me set up the situation.
Y'know how sometimes you gotta park real far away from your destination
because certain types of people like to take up two parking spaces...?
Well, he and his friends got a little ticked about this, especially during
weekends at the school. One day, they decided to get even with every
"#@@#$#@$&&*" that took up "their" space. They turned the car sideways.
As he said, "He wanted that space so bad, now he can have it for a loooong
In a similar vein, tell your victim that you have a test of coordination
you would like him to try with you. Find a door with a fairly large crack
between the door and the wall when the door is open. (You know, over by
the hinges; across the width of the door from the doorknob...) You need an
egg (NOT hard-boiled), and a wood floor (you don't want the egg cracking on
carpeting, do you??). Now, have your victim get on the opposite side of
the door from you, and put 2 fingers through the door. Hand him the egg,
in those two fingers. Working with him, trade the egg back and forth a
couple of times, moving UP the door frame. After you have his confidence,
leave. He will be trapped there, holding this egg by two fingers through
the door. If he lets go and nobody takes the egg, it will crash to the
floor. Best to do in the person's own room.
A few years ago some members of the infamous Dartmouth Outing Club pushed
an occupied one-seat outhouse off its foundations, onto its door. The
victim tried in vain for a few minutes to roll the entire building onto a
different side, but soon gave up, as it was too heavy. She then was forced
to climb out through the seat, and over the pit near the bottom (now side)
of the outhouse.
The followup to this episode was that some `friends' seized me in the
middle of the night and tied my feet in a noose suspended in a tree. But
that's another story.
This practical joke is hearsay. A fellow student some years ago
related the following. Apparently another student was a bit of
a braggar. His favourite topic was his car, and one sub-topic
was the terrific gas milage (pre-metric) it got.
So it began one evening. Fill up a one-gallon container of gas
each night and pour it into the victim's gas tank. Wait for the
story each day to get better and better. Repeat until it cannot
be taken any more. I believe 2 weeks was sufficient.
Finally the moment (days) of truth. Each night for 2 weeks,
the effect was reversed, and one gallon of gas was REMOVED from
the victim's tank. It was amazingly effective at reducing some
of the stories. I suspect the truth was never revealed to the
Another harmless practical joke to be played on people living in multiple story
apartment buildings is as follows:
Knock on victim's door. Say, "I've got to use your window, someone's about to
jump from an apartment above yours." Run to window and look outside, but don't
let victim look.
At this point your accomplice dumps a rag-filled dummy either from the window
above or from the roof. The dummy should be fully closed; for added realism put
some plastic bags of fake blood inside the clothes.
On the sidewalk below, a third accomplice puts down a plastic sheet, then
covers it with a sheet painted to resemble the sidewalk. After the body hits,
let the victim see the gore, then convince him to run down and help while you
stay and call the ambulance. As soon as the victim has left, signal your
accomplice to remove the sheets and the dummy and head for some prearranged
hiding place. Then you leave the apartment and disappear somewhere in the
building; later, you make your way downstairs and leave.
The victim will race downstairs expecting to find a dead bloody body and
will instead see only clean, empty pavement. Of course, it is best done late
at night since the joke would be spoiled by a passer-by who informed the
victim of the "body's" fate.
The fun comes imagining the victim trying to convince the police or anyone
else of what happened!
In our residence the lounge door can be locked (or unlocked) by any room
key from the floor. You can also remove the handles from a door (ie the lock
comes too) and switch the handles.
We did this to one guy, he was the only one who could lock the door to the
lounge (we never locked anyway) but everyone could get into his room.
Every night for a week (at about 3:30 am) someone would go in and do something
to him while he was asleep (nothing really nasty). As he was a sound sleeper, it
actually took him a week to figure out what was going on.
Disclaimer: Kids at home, Don't try this.
This one reminded me of a joke some of the guys on our floor pulled on another
guy while he was in the shower. While he was in the shower, they took all his
clothes and even his towel and hung them outside in the hall (over water
pipes in the ceiling - we were in the basement). I don't know how long he
stayed in there and/or whether or not someone ever gave him back his clothes.
The worst part of this one was that there were 2 shower stalls in the bathroom -
and I happened to be in the other one; it could of happened to me!!
In my younger days, while employed at a warehouse, I was the butt
of the usual practical jokes directed at newcomers.(Fetch me a light-bulb
repair kit, son;etc) As days passed, I noticed that one of my antagonists
was actually afraid of his terminal. This was at the time when the press
was full of accounts of the dangers of X-rays from color TV's, and this
guy was deathly afraid of the noise made by the high-voltage section of the
CRT as it warmed up. Each morning he sat in his swivel chair, coffee in his
left hand, and with the chair as far as possible away from the terminal, used
his right hand to quickly flick the ON switch, and then jerked it away from
THE CERTAIN DEATH THAT AWAITED. After the racket settled down, he would wheel
up to the terminal and commence operations.
This situation was too good for yours truly to pass up. I went upstairs
and pulled out a stock item, a stadium buzzer, used by high schools on the
football fields to announce the end of a quarter. I came in early the next
morning and installed it in one of his file boxes, near the terminal. I ran the
wires out to the next office via a pass-thru, and alerted all of the staff
(but him) of what was about to transpire.
He entered the room, coffee in hand, and sat in his chair. All others
were heads-down in work. He adjusted his chair to the proper distance, reached
way out for the switch, and as soon as he pulled, I plugged in the cord. As the
buzzer sounded, he assumed the facial expressions of one who has seen death
reaching it's skeltal fingers to snatch him from the land of the living.
Coffee flew to the ceiling, and for a few brief seconds before hitting the
opposite wall, a new world land speed record for backward swivel-chair
operation was established!
Preface: The person that this is played on must be someone who really
deserves it because it takes several people to pull off. He must
also live on the first floor of his dorm. It must also occur in the winter
in a suitably cold and barren area like Dartmouth.
We did this trick to someone we found very difficult to live with.
When the victim was away from his room we began to pile up a large amount of
snow outside of his window. The conditions were perfect. His window was
divided into two sections. One didn't open, the other (in theory) swung
outward like a door. The snow was wet and packed heavily and easily.
(On colder days a hose may be used to harden the snow.) We built a huge
pile of snow which reached six or eight feet back from the part of his
window that swung. We then, as a demoralizing factor, put a cosmetic layer
of snow which completely covered the section which didn't open.
When we had finished the outside work we went into his room and closed his
shade and curtain so that he would not notice what we had done until it was
We then waited for him to come home. Luckily his room was on a side of the
dorm away from the entrance so that our work wasn't visible from the approach.
He arrived and entered his room. We listened outside his door until we
heard his shade go up and a sudden "What the F--K?" as only pure, white
snow was visible through the window. At this point we wedged a paperback
book between his door and the frame. (Similar to using pennies, but more
We then sat back and listened as he started towards the door. "Allright, who
put all the snow outside my...what the F--K? OPEN THIS DOOR!"
The show got more exciting as he, thinking that he could still just go out the
window, walked over, opened his curtain, tried to open the window, and became
aware of the magnitude of the problem facing him. He had no phone, and so
could not call the campus police to come help him. His neighbors would
not heed his cries, because most of them had assisted us with the trick.
We eventually released him, but only after he had come to the realization that
he needed to be more considerate of those living around him, or else face
living out the rest of a prematurely shortened life in a small, snow
covered dorm room.
My favorite dorm practical joke involved collecting newspapers for about 3
months by everyone. When a guy on my floor had a three hour lab we crumpled
up newspapers and completely filled his room from floor to ceiling.
When he returned, he had to go in through in the bathroom, and wasn't even able
to get the door open far enough to get through.
Want some fun times! Heres the way:
1. While your friend is sleeping, carefully water down his mattress.
(If he sleeps in a waterbed, just give it a few punctures)
2. Take an extension cord, clip off the cube-tap, seperate the wires,
and strip the two ends, exposing about two inches of bare wire.
3. Wrap one end around his left big toe, the other on his right.
4. Stand near an electrical outlet, plug the poor unsuspecting soul in!
This is a great ice breaker for your new roommate, etc. Cleanup is
a bit, er, messy, but well worth the gag. You can be guarenteed that
the victim will be impressed! And think of it: No retaliation! It's
the perfect practical joke! And to think that nobody's posted it yet.
About nine years ago the book "The Adolescense of P1" was very popular at
the computer shop where I was employed. In case you don't know, this is
about a hacker named Gregory and a computer program he wrote which is self-
perpetuating. Years later he is employed as an honest Systems Analyst and has
almost forgotten about his "child." Then the system downstairs prints out
"CALL GREGORY" and locks up ... followed by a thickening plot, some
humorous, some frightening.
I worked nights. It wasn't hard to replace the boot file on our system disks
with another that typed out "CALL GREGORY" before replacing itself with the
It's funny that there haven't been more computer practical jokes posted
here. What a marvelous opportunity the computer affords the practical joker!
I designed and wrote a point-of-sale system which was first installed in
1976, after which I left the company. At midnight, December 31, 1977 every
system in the country stopped whatever it was doing, flashed every light and
sounded every beeper on every cash register, printed "Happy New Year" on
every printer, and went back to whatever it was doing. I wonder how that
Some of the least elaborate practical jokes are the most effective. Go with
a couple of friends, stand near some busy street corner, and take a great
interest in some point near the top of a tall building, or maybe just up in
the sky. Watch the reactions of people around you.
Take an old windowshade, go to a gymnastics show or anywhere else where people
wear leotards, wait for someone to do a split, and tear the windowshade
briskly, making a very loud ripping sound ...
Go to any gag store and get a fake plastic vomit. Put it in a drinking
fountain. Wet it is amazingly realistic ...
Back around 1969 at another university, we had just gotten time sharing
facilities and because of the unrest (this was about Kent State) we had
armed guards protecting the computer and the few terminals. It being
around midnight, I got the guards playing an interactive monopoly game.
The next evening i was confronted by a VERY upset computer operator.
Apparently at about 4:00AM one guard landed on Boardwalk and the game
ended when he didn't have enough money to pay the rent. The guards
DEMANDED the operator restart the game and bcame more and more upset
when he couldn't.
Recipe for LARGE quantities of soapsuds:
1. Fill a large bucket with hot water.
2. Empty contents of one bottle of dishwashing detergent into bucket (Ivory,
Joy, Dawn, or equivalent).
3. Drop in a few pounds of dry ice that has been crushed to small pieces.
4. STAND BACK!
Recipe will fill a phone booth, or a small room (or even a big one).
A friend and I once did this in the bed of his truck. While stopped at
traffic signals the whole bed would fill up to the rim with suds. Then,
as we would accelerate away from the light, large "chunks" would break loose
and waft lazily through the air, causing much consternation to the traffic
behind. On the freeway the result was much smaller pieces of suds billowing
out of the back of the truck. It looked like a snowstorm! It's funnier to
see than the description sounds. We were hysterical.
Also, the soap can be omitted from the above to obtain fog. A phone booth
that is opaque with dense fog looks pretty strange too.
Okay, this is something me and my best friend did to our Comp. Sci.
teacher senior year of high school.
We started this joke by getting into heated arguments for a
week before the actual event and of course everything was building up
a big head of steam. By this time the other kids knew something was
up and we let them in on the joke, so now we have about 30 people
helping in our cause.
Anyway, on the day of the crime we went to the school's
dressing room and, since we were both active in the drama club, no one
asked what we were there for. So, I get ready for the fun by making
myself a nice layer of plasti-skin and filled it with stage blood.
Danny, my friend, obtained the services of a prop knife, you know one
of the ones that retract and we tested the depth of the cut with the
thickness of the skin, it was right, so now we are set.
We walk into class seperated by about a minute and we start
right where we had left off, teh name calling, the pushing and all the
other aspects of high schoolers that don't like each other. So Danny
pulls the knife out of his pocket and yells, "That's it Ray, you're
dead." So he swings at my neck and the knife cuts the plasti-skin and
the stage blood goes everywhere, I crumple in a gurgling heap and lay
prone under the table of trash80's. Mr. Waddington comes up and sees
Danny standing over me with a blood covered knife and sees me
apparently dead starts to roll me over. I flop over like any good
corpse and he dabs at the blood now covering my neck and says the line
I was waiting for, "My God you killed him!" At that moment, I opened
my eyes and asked him what he was doing. I have heard of peoples
faces going white and now I saw it.
After he relised what we had done, he congradulated us on a
job well done.
Where I used to work, one of the group leaders used to have a
Playboy calender. One of the young ladies who objected to the posting
did a mastectomy & placed the paper in the phone between the pickup
and the connection. The phone seemed to be complete, but did not work.
One prank I haven't seen listed yet is the one I used to do at summer
camp and the college dorm. Take the top off the toilet tank. Inside,
there is usually a vertical plastic pipe about 1 inch in diameter.
Going into the top of this pipe is a little plastic tube. Turn the
tube outward and, if it is long enough, then put it toward the toilet
bowl with the end just sticking out. Replace the tank cover, making
sure that the little plastic tube is just sticking out. When someone
flushes, the tube will squirt water.
One time in Colorado I did this at 3:00am. The guy that got caught
must have flushed with his elbow while still seated. His back was
sprayed with ice cold water. His language was abominable, and made
funnier since this was a Christian camp. Oh well, we're all human.
These are computer-related practical jokes played by an old
acquaintence years ago at a nameless university in Northern
California. He wisened up and stopped playing them when the
various administrations of the computer centers found out who
it was. Sometimes I simply could not believe that he would do
things like this.
The first one was probably the worst. The undergraduate computer
center was being connected to a large terminal lab across campus via
a long line across campus. This had taken the technical folks who
worked at the computer center months of planning, pulling cables,
attaching lines, reconfiguring the system, and so forth.
It was at about this time that Jack (not his real name), wrote a
program called "GARB" (short for "Garbage") This program sat in the
background running at low priority. It would choose a random interval,
sometimes seconds, sometimes minutes, sleep for that interval, and
then wakeup. At that point, it would choose a random ASCII character
and then choose a random terminal on that computer and send the character
to the terminal. Then it would loop back into its sleep mode until the
next time it woke up.
The administration and technical people spent weeks wondering why
their attempts at connecting cross-campus cables were causing spurious
data across existing lines, as well as the lines that had been connected.
They had people out there with the elaborate technical equipment trying
to trace down the source of the "noise" that was polluting the terminal
lines with stray characters.
Quite a while later, they did indeed discover the problem and confronted
Jack. I'm not sure what happened after that.
Another thing Jack did, before that, was write a program called "GOD".
It would patch the running monitor and actually insert a jump into the
code that performed the logout-job function within the monitor. The
jump simply took control of the monitor to a patch-area elsewhere
within memory where a simple comparison took place to see if the
logout being requested was of any jobs belonging to Jack. If so, it
simply did a no-op, with an appropriate return-condition indicating
success (so that the calling program which initiated the system call
would not know the job had not been logged out). This program, "GOD"
most came in handy to Jack during the wee morning hours when few
people used the system but the proverbial "wheel wars" occurred, in
which enabled superusers with privileges attempted to conquer each other
in various ways.
Needless to say, none of the above behavior is tolerated by the
administration any more, with good reason.
Propose to the victim a co-ordination test, and tell him that it has been
taken by the brightest people around you (quote some scores!). You sit in
front of the victim and put your palms about twelve inches apart. The victims
task is very simple. With eyes closed, his palms clasped together, he should
cautiously take his palms between your palms, remove them, and repeat the
process. Of course he must not touch your palms otherwise he "looses". Each
cycle counts as one point and "any average person can get 100 points". As I
said, tell him the scores of some other people you know.
Let him paractice a little with his eyes open. Then blindfold him (to avoid
the "natural" temptation of cheating) and say START. After a while leave. it
is a hilarious sight to see a person rock his clasped palms back annd forth
for no obvious reason.
Be sure to invite many of your friends to witness this sight. You will find
that this co-ordination test really sounds sincere, and many innocent people
who listen to you explaining to the chosen victim, actually volunteer to take
the test before the victim. This gives you a choice of victims to choose from.
OK, OK... I insisted on taking this test too and made a fool of myself !!
1. This one happened impromptu. A group of us were novice UNIX hacks working
for our department of computer science, all on similar terminals. I had
written a small program that would transmit a single character at a time to
another terminal. (No big deal, but no one else had tried it.) One guy was
typing away, and I was making his cursor "wiggle" by pressing the forward and
reverse arrow keys. He exclaimed that something was wrong with his cursor.
Another guy picked up on this, and explained that the cursor beam must be loose.
He gave the right side of the first guy's (John's) terminal a good hard whack,
I transmitted a carriage return. John laughed, but actually sat there typing
in (some text), and whacking the side of the terminal every time he needed a
carriage return, FOR SEVERAL MINUTES. Needless to say, we were hysterical.
The second guy, (Tim), says "John, watch this!" and put his hand under John's
desk and gave the underside of the desk another whack: I transmitted a "HOME"
character, moving the cursor to the top of the screen, again as if the whack
had moved the cursor. John continues typing, whacking the bottom and side of
the terminal whenever he needs cursor motion. Tim smacks the top of the
terminal and I transmit a CLEAR key: it looked as if the characters have been
"knocked off" the screen. John is just about the get the lab manager when
we clue him in.
2. I once had a job as a COBOL programmer. A particular program was to
input no more than 20 items from an operator, and them produce the appropriate
report from them. I asked my boss what the program should do if the
operator wanted more than 20 items to appear in the report. He said, oh,
that will never happen. But what if it does, I asked. Gruffly, he said,
have it notify the operator.
This particular machine had a seriously loud bell (control G) that sounded
like a real bell, plus it was fairly easy to make the screen flash off and on.
I coded it to flash and ring the alarm for a minute. I tried it once and
it was truly alarming. I never heard if anybody tried to enter more than
twenty items, but it is something I think about from time to time ...
on the subject of practical jokes on the computer, i pulled the following
one. when i was in college at new mexico tech (located in socorro, which
is spanish for help!), i was a programmer for several departments. as a
result, i was setting up some user interfaces. the machine was a dec 20
(with tops20) and there was a central terminal room with about thirty adm 3s
(now, there is a terminal) in it. anyway, when this 20 went down in a
controled manner it would send out a warning "dec 20 going down", then
three dots at one second intervals, then a "p", then go down. when it came
up, it would send out a message "dec 20 coming up", then three dots at
one second intervals, then a "p", then the login header. anyway, the
victum sat down to use a statistical package (it is so much fun to play with
people whose use canned stat packages). after he had been on for ten
minutes, he received the dec 20 going down sequence and then his terminal
went dead. so he waited (about five minutes). however, all during this
time, everyone around him was typing away merrily. finally he asked if
the system had gone down. everyone said no. then he asked the operator.
again no. then the system manager. he finally brought back the user
servant (someone paid to answer user's questions) back to the terminal.
they played with the switches, then the user servant scratched his head
and said "beats me". about this time, the message "dec system 20
reengaged" appeared on his terminal, then the three dots, then the "p",
then the message "automatic login in effect, status at crash resumed"
and he was right where he left off! the program that caused this then
deleted (and expunged) itself. to this day, i don't think he knows what
happened to him.
Another practical joke under the guise of a co-ordination test is the
following. Ask your victim to take a quarter and place it on a piece of
paper. Then ask him to take a pencil, and without removing his finger off
the quarter, to draw a circle around the quarter. Have him repeat the same
exercise with each of his fingers pressing on top of the quarter. Afterwards,
have him pick up the quarter and rub it along the bridge of his nose. It'll
then be really funny to watch him walk around with a black line on his face.
I also have heard of a practical joke that can be done to a person while
he/she is sleeping. If the person's hand is dipped in warm water, this
causes a subconscious relaxation of the bladder and causes the person to
wet his/her bed. I have never tried this, nor have I seen it tried, but I've
heard it from quite a few people. Has anyone out there ever tried it?
This is true. It seems that a colleague and myself are scheduled to
present a paper next month at an AI conference. We've never heard of
the conference nor did we write a paper.
Also, just today I got a letter that begins "Thank you for agreeing to
serve as chairperson of the following session at ICASSP-87 in Dallas,
texas." I've never met nor spoke to the person sending the letter nor
did I agree to be a chairperson. Either someone is setting me (us) up
or this is a sneaky way to get volunteers.
A computer related practical joke a played in my younger days
(2 years ago...) was to write an unstoppable program (disabled
break, ^C, etc...) that would imitate the login procedure. I
would leave it running on a public terminal and whenever
somebody tried to logon, it would always print the message
'User validation error' (Or whatever message corresponding
to the operating system [that was VAX/VMS.] login error)
and loop back.
Meanwhile, the user ID and the password were written in a file
in my directory...
The only way to get out of the program was to turn off the
David <"I really was just a Theater Arts major, honest!"> Vangerov
Disclaimer: These are my opinions, all mine!!! Not SCO's, got that?
Sysmom of the night: keeping the system safe for the everyday user.
E-mail: davidv@sco.COM || ...!uunet!sco!davidv || ...!attctc!sco!davidv
From davidv@sco.COM Sat Dec 2 09:53:28 1989
From: davidv@sco.COM (David Vangerov)
Subject: Super Collection of Practical Jokes (part 2 of 4)
Back in the good old college days, when pulling all-nighters (sure, you must
have done some of those before!), at about 2 or 3am, try calling someone to
"remind" them to go to the bathroom (or do something). Wait for half-an-hour
or so, call again just to make sure s/he did what you asked them to do earlier!
When I was out at Union College in Schenectady N.Y, we had a great college
radio station that would give away pizzas, movie passes, clothes, etc. for
answering trivia questions throughout the day. One day, my friend and I
recorded a trivia question on our tape deck and kept the tape in the deck.
A little later one of our good friends came over to visit and we were all
listening to the campus station. As soon as one of the songs ended, we turned
on the tape with out our friend noticeing and the D.J asked a trivia question
for a large pizza. Our friend knew the answer and since he was closed to the
phone, he immediatly picked it up and dialed the station. He was really excited
that he got through and started yelling the answer at the mystified D.J. He was
incredibly embarrased, we were trying so hard not to laugh it hurt.
DEC 20 practical jokes were rampant at an undergraduate computer center
I once frequented. One practical joker, call him Jack (yes, the same
Jack mentioned in an earlier message on this list), wrote a program
that was really rather nasty.
This program maintained two tables or arrays of strings. The strings
would be things like:
[FROM TTY NN: HI SWEETIE, JUST CAUGHT YOU LOOKING AT ME]
[FROM TTY NN: HEY YOU GORGEOUS HUNK, COME OVER AND MEET ME]
The program would cycle through the system sending out these messages
occasionally to a random terminal, insuring that the terminal mentioned
in the terminal messages above would have an actual logged-in job.
The person who received the message would either be a) annoyed b)
flattered and want to meet their admirer or c) angry.
I heard that many meetings of users resulted from this program.
Some friends of mine in high school used to turn in assignments from the old
IBM /370 with start of execution at 07:58:00 Dec 7 1941 (apologies about the
time if in error, but history is not my forte).
************ < This batch entered 2/2/87 (or so...) >
The hardest to do/forget practical joke that I know is a variation on
the theme of dismantling something large and then reassembling it in
someone's office/apartment/dorm room.
Locally there was a VP who was a Volkswagen Beetle Fan, so for his
birthday, some of the people who work for him stuck one in his office.
It made the newspaper when the refused to take it apart.
Allow me to be the first to recommend an excellent book of *really*
nasty revenge getters. It's called "Getting Even: the complete book
of Dirty Tricks" (in 2 volumes, I believe) Unfortunately, I don't
have my copy here, so I can't give the author's name, but I think
it (they?) was published by Paladin Press.
It contains real gems for all occasions. (mad at the landlord that
evicted you? seal the apartment after introducing 10-15 cats and
plenty of food/water)
Warning: most of these dirty tricks are *really* nasty, don't use
these on people you might have to deal with in the future.
In 1972 I was working at a very boring job in an aerospace factory.
There were three guys my age (early 20's) in the department and we
werw always playing what we saw as a joke on some poor unsuspecting
soul. I was also in the Navy Reserve at the time and had to take
two weeks off during the Summer to due my training. When I returned
>from two weeks off, not yet bored enough yet to begin playing more
jokes, the other three guys went off their heads pulling any kind of
trivial, dangerous or otherwise obnoxious stunt they could think of.
At the end of the second day the supervisor called me into the office
"Jones, I don't know what's the matter with you but you better knock
it off. I've had two weeks of peace and quiet while you were gone
and now that you're back all hell's breaking loose. You go on back
out there and stop bothering people."
I knew that I hadn't done anything but I didn't bother to protest.
I could recognize a well executed joke when I saw one.
A great trick I have gotten away with many a time requires a little
preparation, simply to go to the grocery and get a few packages of Kool-Aid.
Then while your 'prey' is away, simply spread it nice and liberally into his
bed, best if done in stripes, to leave his body in different colors. This
works best in a warm room where he is sure to sweat during the night to the
If you have access to a two(or more) line phone, this is a great one,
dial the first six numbers of your prey's phone number, and put that line on
hold, then dial the other number; a pizza place, or his girlfriend is good for
starters, then escalate to college offices, activist terrorist organizations
and the CIA are good from then on. After you dial the second number, quickly
put the second number on hold, then dial the last number of the first number
and push BOTH buttons down at the same time to activate both calls at once,
then listen, but don't laugh, or they might hear you and do worse in return.
Try taping a drunk to his bed. Get a large roll of masking tape and
when he passes out wind it around him and the bed.
Another good one to do with a drunk is to put one of those fake bald
heads over his hair. Then when he wakes up ask him if he knows what
he did last night.
I am far too Nice a person to ever have done these, but a friend of mine...:
1. Leave old trash paperbacks around launderettes and other public places.
Write inside the front cover: Property of
for my thesis. If found, please return to for $10.00 reward.
2. Post ads around town for a garage sale (or open house) at Victim's house
starting at 7:00 AM next Sunday.
3. Call lots of people and identify yourself as the victim, and say "I was
walking throught the neighborhood recently and just realized I dropped
my wallet. Could you please check the sidewalk in front of your house
and let me know if you find it? Thanks *so* much. My phone number is...
How about some chocolate Ex-lax in brownies.
Or maybe some ambesol in the mouthwash.
The best practical joke I know of is from MASH. However, you need a reputation
as an incorrigable joker for it to work. Just let the person know you are
going to play a big one on him within 5 days. (Pick your time frame.) And
that he will be powerless to stop you. If you do it right, he'll worry himself
to pieces and make a fool of himself. Then DO NOTHING.
Go to one of those miniature golf courses that has a windmill hole.
Replace the motor with one that can spin the windmill at about 1000 RPM.
Then illuminate it with a strobe light so it looks like its moving at
about the same speed as before.
How `bout those relatives that seem to stay longer than expected....
If you had someone staying at your house, especially if they're traveling
with small children, help them pack up the car. Slip some limburger (sp?)
cheese into their car somewhere where it'll slowly get warm. You can
imagine the consternation when they pull to a rest stop to change junior's
diapers and find nothing there. Or the line, "Did you hit a skunk or ...?"
1) Get a piece of plastic as long as the victims bed and a little over
twice as wide. Remove his mattress from his bed frame and line the frame
with the plastic. Tape the plastic to the bed if necessary. Fill with water
(a hose connected to the tub is helpful). Fold the rest of the plastic
over the water, and make the bed. (Done to my roommate by mutual friend.)
2) If your victim has a roommate, switch all their possesions. Or, turn
all the posters upside down and hang the furniture from the ceiling. (Both
done to me.)
3) If your victim _is_ your roommate, switch the material in your waste
baskets and pull his bed away from the wall a quarter of an inch
4) Wait till your victim is away for a weekend. Dip everything plastic
(pens, phones, etc.) in liquid nitrogen, break it, and stick it together
again. Everything plastic will break when he picks it up.
5) Polish the floor and stick teflon to the legs of select items of
furniture. (The polished floor is a bit of a giveaway, but teflon isn't
dramatically slick if there's much grime.)
Maybe a bit on the "im"-practical side but if REVENGE is what you
I s'pose the keyword (superglue) says it all. The places I've like to hit
are the person's car - namely the dust caps on the tire valve stems,
the gas cap, and the windshield wipers. Pretty nasty, ain't I?
Then there's always putting a paper bag of sh_t on the person's front
step, setting it on fire, knocking on the door, and running like h_ll.
The victim will come to the door, see the fire, and will usually try
to stomp it out with his foot.
I'll be the first that these are rather terrible and childish but...
This was done to me when I was in college and living in a fraternity house;
Take someone's door and hide it for a while. You would really be surprised
how often you want to close the dang thing and it's not there to do it!
A recent favourite in our residence has involved
the kidnapping of some small beloved object (teddy bear,
harp seal, stuffed banana, etc.). Once this object has
disappeared and before its owner has noticed it's gone,
suspend it from a window in the dining hall, tv lounge,
physics building,... If small animals don't work for you,
perhaps mens undergarments stolen from the laundry might?
I think I have one of these books. It is by George Heyduke (Hayduke?). When
I read it, I was practically overcome with mirth. Some of the things he sug-
gests are hilarious! It says right in the book that it is written for enter-
tainment purposes only, and not to try any of the ideas, so I guess he has his
behind covered. Some of the better ideas that I remember are:
1. "Time bombs." This is the phrase he uses to describe chicken parts.
Easily gotten at any supermarket, they are innocent little items that
can be carried almost anywhere (in a baggie, if neccessary). But when
stashed in an out-of-the-way place, like under furniture cushions in the
house or under car seats or in the trunk in a car, and given a little
time, YOW! Watch out for the smell! Gotten ripped off by a used-car
dealer? Wait awhile, then take some test drives in some other cars.
With a few strategically placed "bombs" in a car with the windows closed
in the hot sun.... use your imagination. Getting evicted? Remove some
outlet covers or switch covers and stuff some of these babies down inside
the wall. They'll be impossible to find, and won't start to smell until
after you're long gone.
2. Parties. Parties are great fun to plan, especially if you plan them for
someone else to host (as a surprise). Print up a few flyers for a party
at your victim's house and distribute them where undesirables will be
sure to see them. For example, you might put up flyers around biker bars
advertising "all the beer you can drink", and "crowning of Miss Biker", or
something equivalent. Even if the reluctant host doesn't let them in his
house when the horde shows up, he will still wind up with a party on his
lawn. Of course, if you're his neighbor this gives you a good reason to
complain to the cops or to his landlord, etc.
3. Set your victim against a third party, or against another victim. Let
other people do your dirty work for you. Here's an example: Call up
the electric or gas company and impersonate your victim. Request that
service be terminated for a week or two (going on vacation, or whatever).
As soon as that happens, call your victim. Impersonate an officer of the
gas/electric company, and be very nasty and abusive, saying that service
has been discontinued because of non-payment of bills. This should rile up
your victim, asasuming that he HAS paid his bill and knows it. At any rate,
tell him he must come down to the office immediately to discuss the problem
or you will send the police to his house to collect, or something like that.
Then, once you have him mad, and know he is going to the gas/electric
company, call up that company. Impersonate your victim. Be very nasty,
and try to get into an argument with a supervisor. Wind up the conver-
sation by saying that you are coming down there right now with a gun, and
you are going to kill somebody. Then hang up.
Or, if you call enough times so that people associate your voice with his
name, you could call back some time after the argument and make a bomb
threat. They would recognize the voice as being 'him', and knowing that
he was disgruntled would make him a prime suspect.
4. Buy a cheap toy gun. Plant it in your victim's car. Then call the police
and anonomously report that you saw a suspicious armed person in the area,
and give the vehicle's description and location. A variation of this would
be to plant baggies full of phony drugs. He probably won't be arrested,
but he will probably be stopped and harrassed.
5. Enter subscriptions in his name to the most filthy homo/bondage/snuff
magazines you can find, and change his address by one so his NEIGHBOR
receives them. His neighbors will not only be disgusted by his perver-
sions, they will also be irritated by the fact that he is too dumb to
even get his address right on a subscription.
6. If you can get one of his credit cards, or even a charge receipt or
carbon copy of one, use the account to order gifts through the mail.
Order gifts for REAL friends and relatives of the victim, and have
them delivered directly to the recipient. It puts him in an embarras-
sing position to have to explain to his family and friends how his
gift to them must be returned. Also, can you imagine the guy trying
to convince the bank that HE did not make the purchases? Don't use his
charge accounts for your own benefit, or you will very likely be caught.
Another joke which one can easily perpetrate goes like this:
Fill a plastic, or rubber, tube with water. Hold the tube
vertically up into the air and with the thumb of one hand
plug up the bottom hole of the tube and place it next to
your ear (hide the fact that you are plugging the hole).
Next, call a friend, or victim, and tell him that you are
hearing something really strange through the tube and he
should come over and listen in on it. When he gets close
enough to your ear to listen turn the tube towards his ear
and release your thumb.
My favorite was to place a singles' advertisment for the victim.
I'll leave it to you to think of what to say, but my favorite was
(for a heterosexual person) to place an ad looking for someone of the
I believe this is from "The Complete Book of Dirty Tricks."
First, go to the library and find some phone books for large cities.
In one of the phone books you should be able to find a person who has
the same name as the target. Then go down to the post office and file
a change of address for the target, forwarding his mail to himself in
a far away city.
If I remember correctly the book states that this is very illegal and
is only included for amusement.
> Enter subscriptions in his name to the most filthy homo/bondage/snuff
> magazines you can find, and change his address by one so his NEIGHBOR
> receives them. His neighbors will not only be disgusted by his perver-
> sions, they will also be irritated by the fact that he is too dumb to
> even get his address right on a subscription.
An ex-brother-in-law of mine did something like this for revenge on a
downstairs neighbor. He put a very kinky ad in the Berkeley Barb, which
included said neighbor's phone number -- "call any time".
Another person I know told me he once ordered some phony business stationary,
and used it to place an order for a 70,000 pound steel coil to be delivered
to this person's (a high school teacher) address. The coil showed up
and got dumped on the front lawn.
One of the best ones I heard, was to do the following:
During winter time in any part of the country where it gets really
cold, take your victims mattress, soak in water until it has reached
it's saturation level, then hang it outside until it freezes solid.
Once solid, replace on the victim's bed and make the bed up to look
like normal. Boy will they be surprised when they go to bed.
Next time when you are having dinner, keep an empty jug of water on the table.
When somebody asks you to pass the jug, pretend while picking it up that it is
full of water and heavy. Keep the jug on the table near the victim. The
victim will apply what he/she considers is appropriate strength needed to pick
up the jug. This will cause the jug to jerk up to a significant height. The
sight is very funny and so is the victim's face.
Must try to believe. Even the most prude of your aunts will not mind being a
victim of this joke.
AH yes.. ye ole highschool days.... (seems everyone knows of or has done a
VW bug stunt already). We also had a rather unliked teacher, whose VW was
carried up onto the gymnasium stage on the last day of school. Needless to
say, every year after that he arrived on the last day of school driving
the cab of his brother's semi.
This is more of a practical joke WITH a Beetle . . . . MIT has some very wide,
very long corridors that turn out to be VW-accessible. One night a guy I knew
started cruising the corridors. The practical joke came when the campus police
started chasing him. He whipped around a corner, into a freight elevator, and
away. They never found him.
My favourite practical joke involves on of those long line-ups
for tickets to a concert or something. First you go to the front
of the line and then walk the entire length, looking over everyone
as if you were trying to find a friend. When you get to the back you
walk back to the front doing the same thing, but this time even
slower. Then when you reach the front you turn and quickly run
to the back again, machine-gunning everybody as you go. Then you
go up to the ticket office and say "Get it?" This is a classic
joke and as you can see it is also quite practical, since it gets
you to the front of the line very fast.
If you live in a dorm with tiles on the bathroom door, pour rubbing alcohol
in the cracks, wait for your victim to go into the bathroom and seat
himself, and light the alcohol.
If you can get into your victim's house, staple the sides of many paper
cups together so that they are in a ring or matrix configuration (anything
too large to drag out the door), and fill them all with water.
A friend who lived in Durham sent a postcard to his girlfriend in Milwaukee
that said "Here is a check for the twenty dollars I owe you." and had a
blank spot and a piece of tape on it.
Six letters came to him from Milwaukee, some with photos, none from people
he knew, and all expressing interest in a personal to which they alluded.
One was from a male. He assumed that his girlfriend had placed a personal
with his address in the paper there; she had just enlisted help in letter-
One good practical joke that I've seen done to somebody:
1) Take an old record album cover.
2) Fill the insides with shaving cream.
3) Place it halfway under a locked door to the victim's office, home, room,
etc. with the open end inside the room.
4) Jump on it.
Another, if you can get access to the victim's key chain is to switch all
his keys for keys that look exactly the same, but don't fit the locks he's
trying to open. If you can be around for this one, it's much more fun to
watch the person go crazy as he cannot open anything he owns.
This reminds me of something a friend of mine did to get
even with a landlord that evicted him. There was a hole
in one of his walls so he put a couple of dead fish in
in the hole. He then plastered over the hole and repainted
the wall. Can you imagine the smell after a month of summer
heat? Nobody could tell where the odor would be coming from
until the bottom of the wall would start to rot. He did some
other things to the house but this was by far the most
subtle and undetectable until some time later.
One of my favorite practical jokes is to get a somewhat long
spool of rope, and when walking down the street ( acting official..),
get someone to assist you in measuring a distance. Pick a spot near
a corner , go around, and find another person to hold the other end of
the rope. Go across the street and just wait...
Ask somebody what time it is when he/she is holding
a glass of fluid in the hand attached to the wrist where he/she wears
a watch. You'll be surprised how many people pour fluid onto themselves
trying to be helpful to you.
Buy a BIG pile of magazines of every conceivable sort, and clip every
coupon for a catalog, trial product, free brochure, etc. Specialty
magazines have the most, such as hobbies or sports (or computers).
Your victim should be deluged with junk mail (and since most such
lists get sold to other lists, the response will be a geometric
function of the number of clips you send).
A friend of mine and I once almost started a junkmail war, but formed
a truce before, because we knew it would follow us around for years...
It should be noted by people wishing to play practical jokes, that
some people take them dead seriously. Such people tend to escalate
the level of jokes by a couple of magnitudes. My three favorite stories
are from different colleges.
One joker sprinkled finely ground powdered milk underneath his
victim's sheets. It acts like powdered sugar in the sense that, as you
sweat in your sleep, it dissolves and comes up through the sheets onto
your body and into your pores. But your sweat makes it sour, and when it
gets into your pores, it stays there. You smell very strongly of sour
milk for about a week (4 days if you shower and sauna every day). The
next weekend, when the joker was walking back from a party, three guys
jumped him. They were dressed in ski masks and painter's suits (those
light paper/cloth jumpsuits that people wear to paint autobodies). They
stripped, tied, blindfolded and gagged the joker, and spraypainted
him blue. No one was ever caught.
In another case, a yuppy practical joker taped a guy's car closed with
strapping and duct tape (the thing apparently looked like a ball of tape
when he got through). For those of you that don't know, the adhesive on
such tapes ruins a car's paint job, and can, if you try to remove it en masse,
even take off chips of paint and door guards (especially in winter). Two days
later, the yuppie's BMW was found with all four of its racing radials slashed
to ribbons. The yuppy of course, called the police on the guy who's car he
taped. The guy did not admit to slashing the tires, as opposed to the yuppie,
who told the police why he thought the other guy was responsible (ie: he
admitted to the police that he taped the other car). Charges were never
pressed about the BMW (lack of evidence), and charges were pressed about the
car taping. Did the guy actually slash the BMW wheels? He always claimed
that he didn't (of course the last time I knew, the statute of limitations
wasn't up yet).
Then of course there's the people who take the direct route to revenge.
Some guy thought he would make a very large, easy going, farm boy feel more
at home. So he got some fresh pig manure and dumped it in the farm boy's room.
The very large farm boy, apparently lacking a cultured sense of humor,
beat the living shit out of the joker. Then he told the joker that if it
happened again, the joker would eat the pigshit. Nobody doubted him.
So be very careful who you decide to pull a practical joke on, because they
may not think it's as funny as you do.
Call a mortuary and report the victim dead. Arrange to have his body picked up
at his house sometime when he is at home.
One of my favorites is to put a couple of ping pong
balls in someones gas tank. The car will start just
fine and will run for a couple of blocks. Then the
balls will get sucked into the gas feed and cause
the car to die. The balls will now float back to the
top of the tank and he will be able to restart the car.
This will be very frustrating to the car owner, espiality
if he works on his own car. First he will replace the
fuel filter then maybe the fuel pump. From there on out
he will be pulling his hair out to figure out what to do
Another door-related practical joke, good in dorm-life scenarios:
1. Locate undesirable LP record w/ jacket. I recommend "Mystic Moods".
2. Fetch cardboard jacket-- should be in good condition, no split sides
or the such. (Save disc for frisbee-- they shatter in fine fashion when
hurled in a room. But I digress.)
3. Fetch can of shaving cream, e.g. Gillette Foamy or the like. Fill
album cover with shaving cream.
4. With accomplice, go to room of victim. Their door should be closed.
5. Fit open edge of cream-filled album cover under bottom of door.
6. Accomplice braces album cover.
7. Jump on album cover, ejecting shaving cream into dorm room.
8. Run like hell.
Note that if the intended victim's door fits the frame very tightly,
leaving little or no room for the escape of the shaving cream, step
number 7 will instead result in a shaving cream explosion in the
faces of the would-be jokers. This suggests an obvious alternate
This was funny when tried. Of course, most things are funny at 4 AM.
My favourite was one I heard that someone at Boston University did to his
roomate, who he hated. Late one night, while the roomate, a very sound
sleeper, was asleep, this chap superglued his...er...male organ...to the
inside of his leg.
The roomate must have been a sound sleeper.
I guess I am too restrained to perpetrade anything that might get
the victim shot by the cops, or committ credit card fraud in
My favorite was always the Saran wrap on toilet bowl one.
Second prize goes to the chubby girl eons ago in high school.
A single teacher had made out of line remarks *during class* about
her size. She got him a paid subscription to a raunchy skin-mag
*delivered to the school*. He got called on the carpet but good,
and the Superintendent would not believe his protests of innocence..
Okay!! Here's one I haven't seen:
Get a list on the free classified throwaways in town
and print the following:
RED 86 Vette: Won on game show, must sell, leaving
country. Steal!! First reasonable offer takes...
ring. Desperate, please hurry...
This should bring the desired results for at least a
We once pulled the reverse trick. The victim's room had a door whose latch
was of the pattern: handle each side; latch mechanism in middle; square rod
passes through latch mechanism and seats in handles (invisible from outside).
We removed the outer handle, took away the rod, and replaced the handle. In
the morning, he couldn't get out of his room. Took the maintenance person
TWO HOURS to figure out what we had done; by which time the victim rather
badly wanted a trip down the corridor!
To be done in warmer climates: break apart oreo cookies so that
white, creamy filling sticks to 1/2 of cookie (the way most kids
eat them). Discard or eat other 1/2 of cookie without filling.
Place cookies (filling side down) on victim's car -- this should
take several bags of cookies. When the warm sun hits the victim's
car, the cookies ooooooooozzzzzzzzzzzzzzeee down the car, leaving
opaque stripes. Really quite a sight! Really!
We did something like this, the night before a friend got married.
To keep him from waking up, we covered his face with a rag soaked
in ether or chloroform (I'm not sure). We proceeded to shave off
*half* his mustache.
His intended was slightly disturbed when she heard the news the next
morning, so she decided to get us back. While we were in the ceremony,
she had someone sew up the pants legs to our clothes.
We got the last laugh though. As the newlyweds were getting into
the car, we pulled up in a truck, kidnapped the groom, and drove away.
We took him a few miles out of town, stripped him, and hand-cuffed
him to a road sign. Taught her.
At one of the dorms here (Techwood) I remember when lots of practical jokes
were played on people. Of course there was the 'penny in the door frame' to
'penny' them in (keep the door from opening). But i always liked the more
original versions. Cover the door with paper, just paper. Let the mark
open the door, find the paper, and break it all down... do this as many times
as you wish. The next time, paper the door and either place a wall of bricks
or cement blocks behind the door (by this time, he just walks thru the paper)
or even prop a trashcan full of water against the door...
These and other jokes became quite popular, but, alas, a new class of students
seems to have moved in (they actually **study**) and these jokes became out-
lawed by the RA's (hall monitors)... (RA's used to help... and were usually
helpful with their pass key)... But these jokes were called a fire hazard (i.e.
would block people in, in a fire...) "so it goes..."
In the afore-quoted book, such a trick is suggested as a way of getting
even with your bank. Rent a safety-deposit box and fill it with fish. I
don't know how you can prevent them tracing it to you, though...
The oft-quoted "Volkswagen-in-the-bedroom" schtick is good. A simpler variant
avoids the hard labor involved here by subtituting a self-propelled obstacle
for the VW. In this case, one or more sheep.
While the animals themselves are easily removed from the abode, they do
leave behind "the gift that keeps on giving" !
I remember a practical that failed -- or I guess you could say
that it succeeded too well. In Philadelphia, 10-15 years ago,
a man decided to play a practical joke on his best friend. He
took out an add in the "help wanted" section of the Bulletin,
advertising job openings for demolishing houses. Applicants
were to meet in front of the site at 6:00 AM Saturday morning.
Naturally, the site was the friend's house. The perpetrator imagined
a couple of hundred men waking up his friend and asking to
demolish his house. Alas, the friend was not home. Another
problem was that this was during a recession, with high
unemployment. About 2,000 men showed up. It was apparent
that only a small percentage would be hired, so a few
decided that if they could present the employer with
an accomplished deed, they would be the ones to get the jobs.
Everybody joined in. A few minutes later, they sat down to await
the coming of the employer.
I can't remember what happened after that, if I ever knew. I imagine
it got pretty unpleasant. It made the evening news.
This is a very simple trick, but you'd be surprised just how effective it is.
When the victim is sleeping, make a shallow paper tray and scotch tape it to
his door AND to the door frame near the knob. Fill it with unpopped popcorn.
When he opens the door (from the inside, obviously) he'll have popcorn flung
all over the place. Not only does it pack quite a little surprise, it also
takes forever to find all of the popcorn afterwards.
It works! Someone tried this on me when I was in first-year of my undergrad
My favorite practical joke was performed back in high school on the director
of our Audio Visual Dept. Upon purchasing a brand new, expensive video
camera, he set it up in the AV lounge so he could watch us hoodlums
on a monitor in his office. While he wasn't looking we taped a clear
piece of plastic over the lens of the camera. Then the designated
provacateur made sure that he was watching while another went up to the
lens with a squeeze bottle of highly caustic liquid, and crusty, grime
laden rag, to "clean the lens". Fred jumped over his desk and knocked
over a couple of onlookers before realizing what was going on.
( All the standard things happened to this guy too! remove all the screws
>from his chair, disconnect ( or reverse ) key components of his phone,
placed packing material in his fan. )
When I was living in the dorms on campus, frequently someone with
a car would offer to drive into town on a rainy day, to save a
wet bike ride. There were always takers. I have a car, so
I took many friends to the store, post office, or Bank. If
someone banked at the same place as I did and I knew they were
going to make a deposit, sometimes I would get a few bucks together and
also make a deposit. BUT, as I was standing at the little table
(you know with the little chained pens) I would take a deposit
slip and write THIS IS A STICK-UP GIVE ME ALL THE MONEY IN YOUR
DRAWER on the back. Then I would casually slide it over to my friend
and hand it to him, face up. After making my deposit I would
leave the bank. The friend would step up and hand the teller
the deposit slip. They always check both sides to see if any
additional checks are listed. Sitting across the street was
a good place to see the cops pull up. Usually things took
about 20 minutes before he convinced them he was not a bank
robber. You have to pick a friend with integrity and
a quick mind though. If he panics and gives your name,
you are history. I only tried it twice.
Practical Joke 1: After making sure that the victim is out or sound
asleep (if the victim is in make sure he can't get out),
put a line of baby powder along the bottom crack of the
door (or on a piece of paper and slide it under the door --
hold onto one end). Then use the blow-dryer to spray the
powder into a fine mist that will cover everything in the
Practical Joke 2: Make a small, off-center hole in a can of shaving
cream and then heave the can into the victims open door.
As the pressure spews the cream out, it will spin the can
and create a real mess all over the place.
A simple yet effective joke for all seasons...
Fill the sugar bowl with salt...
Mmmmm...sure makes them wheaties/coffee/etc taste good !
Do it the Caltech way. Dump water on the victim's bed until it's soaked, and
pour liquid nitrogen on the bed until the water freezes. You're right that
it's heavy -- so heavy that the victim must wait for it to melt before he
can get rid of it.
PS - It destroys the mattress covering, so be prepared to replace the mattress.
Back in the OLD days while in college, a "friend" of mine one day used the
pointed end of his umbrella to knock on our dorm room door. He poked so
hard that the point went all the way through the door (cheap door). A
couple of days later, a janitor noticed the "bullet" hole and called the
police. My room mate and I decided just to play it dumb; "Gee officer,
we didn't notice a hole there", "We never heard a shot", etc. The police
never did find the bullet nor where it hit the wall on the other side.
For a more light-hearted collection of jokes, see the section on
Hugh Troy in _Merry_Gentlemen_and_One_Lady_, by J. Bryan, III.
Troy's jokes did not get people in trouble or stink up innocent people's
apartments; they did cause utter bewilderment worthy of talk.bizarre.
I think Bryan also tells of the time Robert Benchley and a fellow
Harvard undergraduate, dressed in work clothes, went to the door of
a house on a veddy nice square in Boston and said to the maid,
"We're here for the sofa."
"Which one?" she said.
This was a dangerous moment, but Benchley saw a sofa in the
corner of the living room and said, "That one."
They then walked, carrying the sofa, to another house on the
same square, rang the bell, and told a second maid, "We're here with
"Um, I guess you can put it there," she said; and so they did.
Benchley heard, in a roundabout way, that the lady of the
first house visited the lady of the second one some six months later
and recognized her old sofa.
Another good one that I've heard about is to put cherry Kool-aid in
the shower head.
I had this joke played on me and it was quite effective.
A small box was filled with the punch-holes from paper tapes.
The bottom was removed and it was placed on my bookshelf at work, with
no trace of the punch-holes. Seeing the box, the first thing I did was
pick it up. Needless to say, the little things were everywhere for
I have never tried this, but a chemist friend of mine told me of a
practical joke. Get a hold of the victims coffee cup. Make sure its
empty. Put one drop of phenolthalien ( excuse the spelling, I'm refering
to the acid/base indicator) in the cup and fill it with water. Empty the
cup and let it dry. When the victim fills it, their is still residue of
the phenolthalien in the cup. The effect!, the victim will not be able
to make it to the bathroom in time.
A nifty, if difficult, practical joke:
This only really works with friends
(preferably the trusting type). Get the victim to
your house, then talk (or do whatever you normally
do together) for a while. Then mention an
interesting effect you read about recently and
wanted to show him/her. Fill a glass (preferably
a short, squat glass) with water, and have a
baseball bat or a similar long, cylindrical object
handy. Stand on a chair with the glass, and press
the mouth of the glass against the ceiling. Have
your friend/victim press the bat/whatever against
the bottom of the glass hard enough so that the
pressure will hold the glass to the ceiling. The
theory is that if you keep the glass against the
ceiling long enough, it will adhere to the ceiling
without the bat holding it up. Then put the chair
back, and tell your friend that it'll take about
five minutes or so for the bond to form. Take
turns holding the glass up with the bat to avert
suspicion. When the victim is "on duty" once
again, casually mention that you have a few things
to do. Put your jacket on and leave the house.
(Of course, you're going to come back, aren't you?
You just wanted to see the look on his face,
right?) If you can get this to work (which you can,
if you are convincing and the victim is gullible), it's a
marvelous joke. I pulled this on my roommate -
but there was one small problem - when I left our
room, the door was locked and I had forgotten my
keys. My other roommate showed up in about ten
minutes, but it was not a happy scene...
Yet another answer to that silly revenge problem:
Tape down the little white things that spring up when you lift the
receiver. (another alternative would be to open up the phone
and remove two little spring things so that the white things don't
come up at all.) Of course all this should be done in the victims
Now the fun begins...
When he arrives, dial his number from a nearby phone and don't
Good for aracniphobics (check the spelling on that one.)
Get approximately 20 pieces of 1 metre or yard long white string.
Tie a knot at one end and temporarily secure it to the centre of a closed
door. Begin to tape the ends to the door frame being careful not to close
the door itself. It should begin to resemble a large spider's web.
Get the rest of the string and start weaving spirarally just like
Charlotte would. Complete the masterpiece by purchasing plastic
creepy crawlies and attaching them also to the string (eye level,etc.).
Unsecure the centre knot and instant spider web.
You might want to try it with fishing line and smaller creepies if you're
Instead, get a cannister of the foam insulation that is used in
home construction (IT EXPANDS TO SEVERAL HUNDRED TIMES ITS VOLUME IN
THE CANNISTER). Make sure victim is not in his/her office, bedroom, etc...
Then fill room into solid block of foam.
Baby powder inside someone's hair dryer, causing the CASPER THE FRIENDLY
GHOST look is also a cute one.
A friend and I pulled a similar stunt on a co-worker some time back.
After a long series of joke-perpetrating back and forth, we procured
a rather large box and filled it with packing 'peanuts', then proceeded
to cut a large hole in the bottom and invert the box on the victim's
desk. We then took a short length of string and fed it into a tiny hole
in the top of the box, taping the other end to the side of the box.
This 'red herring' was easily mistaken for some type of trip-wire to
be engaged if the box was opened. When the victim saw the parcel, he
immediately knew the source and, wary of opening the box, followed his
initial instincts and quickly grabbed it to move it off his desk ...
the rest is fairly obvious ...
I had a mischevious roommate in college. Fortunately, I was the object
of his machinations only once. It didn't take long to track down my furniture
>from the ten places on campus where he had distributed it over spring break.
His masterpiece, however, was a concerted effort that involved everyone
on my hallway. The victim: our "sponsor" (at Pomona College, an upper-
classperson in charge of a gaggle of fledgling freshpeople).
This one takes some preparation. Wrap very thin filament wire (high
resistance, low flash point) around the fuse of an M80 firecracker. Imbed
this assembly in a box of cornflakes, leading the wires out of the box.
Next, wire several old-fashioned camera flashbulbs in parallel, and put
them in a circuit with the firecracker wire and a 12 V lantern battery. Rig
a solenoid to close the circuit (we used an old clothespin).
Now you're ready. When the victim is out of his/her room, hang the
cornflake box in the middle of the room. Arrange the flashbulbs near the
door. Place the solenoid so that opening the door will close the circuit.
Lounge nearby and watch the fun.
When the victim opens the door, s/he thinks that the room just exploded.
Bright light, loud noise, and the burnt cornflakes feel like a bomb-blast
concussion as they hit your body.
Boy howdy, that woman could run. Caught up with her somewhere around
North Campus. Being dutiful sponsees, we helped clean up the cornflake mess
This sounds suspiciously like one of David Brenner's "Best Practical Jokes
In The World". He claimed to do this and put the slip back, three or four
slips down. The lucky recipient was a kindly-looking little old lady who
had a habit of smiling vacantly and nodding. When the bank teller read the
back of the slip, and saw this little old lady smiling and nodding, he tripped
the silent alarm, the doors slammed shut, the guards all pulled out their guns,
and the only two customers in the bank were the little old lady and David
Brenner in the corner laughing his ass off. Naturally he recommended that
against trying this little stunt.
The other practical joke of his that I remember involved getting a friend with
a car to help you. Pick up about a dozen cheap brooms, and get on a local
(downtown) bus. Of course, the brooms will be impossible to manage as the
bus bounces and sways, and will annoy passangers and driver alike. But, as
you've paid your fair, the driver figures you'll be off the bus soon enough
and he'll be done with you. Get off at the last stop, hop into your friend's
waiting car, and zip back to the stop you got on at, and get on THE SAME BUS.
Back in my graduate days, I used to bring my lunch to school which consisted
of a sandwich and usually a hard boiled egg. I kept a small jar of salt in
my desk for the eggs. One day I dipped my egg in the salt only to discover
it was sugar. It was easy to spot the prankster(s); everyone in the room was
I used to bring my lunches in plastic lined paper bags with bend-over tabs
on the top. The bags were very good and kept my sandwiches fresh. I got
them for free from the pockets of airline seats. One day as I was opening
my "lunch" bag in the lab, the same bunch of pranksters from above gathered
around my table and opened their own barf bag lunches (they had just gotten
back from an out-of-state conference). However, the joke was turned around
on one of them. He was spooning yogurt out of his bag and eating it. After
I told him what it looked like, he lost his appetite.
David <"I really was just a Theater Arts major, honest!"> Vangerov
Disclaimer: These are my opinions, all mine!!! Not SCO's, got that?
Sysmom of the night: keeping the system safe for the everyday user.
E-mail: davidv@sco.COM || ...!uunet!sco!davidv || ...!attctc!sco!davidv
From davidv@sco.COM Sat Dec 2 09:57:31 1989
From: davidv@sco.COM (David Vangerov)
Subject: Super Collection of Practical Jokes (part 3 of 4)
You take the top off the standard sugar dispenser found at restaraunts
around the country. You place a single layer of paper napkin over the
opening in the glass part, then put salt on top of that. Put the top back
on and tear off all the paper showing around the edges. The first victim
gets salt in his coffee, which I suppose is funny to some people. But what
is even funnier is this same guy, or the next, trying to get sugar out of
the thing. They think the sugar may be caked and bang the dispenser on the
table, shake it, hold it up to the light and squint at it, etc. ...
Many years ago, before all the young studs started taking their dates to
motels for, er, recreation, there were always Lover's Lanes around. On a
typical moonlit night there might be a dozen cars at one of these places
with the windows all steamed up from the activities within, and occasional
flashes of red as flailing feet inadvertantly hit brake pedals. Some people
I knew used to get their jollies chaining the bumpers or axles of these cars
to the nearest fence or tree ...
The most elaborate joke along these lines was played by three friends of
mine, whom we'll call Tom, Dick and Harry.
On a moonlit night as described above, Tom came running out of the woods
onto the Lover's Lane screaming, "No! NO! Oh, God, Please NO!"
When Tom had everybody's attention, Dick stepped out of the woods with a
shotgun, yelled "Now I'll get you, you bastard!" and fired the gun over
Tom dropped to the ground and lay there writhing and screaming until Dick
came over and fired a blast into the ground near his head, then went limp
Then Harry came rushing over, yelling "Jesus, Jack, why'd you DO it? He was
our FRIEND!! Oh, my God! ..." and the like. Then both Dick and Harry
grabbed Tom by the heels and dragged him back to the woods. When they were
out of sight Tom got up and all three enjoyed the activity back at the scene
of the "crime", which needless to say had changed considerably from a few
Something I have done before is wire someones bed to give them a nice shock.
It was done as follows:
strip some stranded wire and use the wire to form a grid under the top sheet.
it works best to have this grid look like fingers that interlace but don't
this was then connected to the 110 V side of a texas instruments calculator
transformer. to the calculator side of the transformer add a 12 or 24 Volt
DC supply (i can't remember which we used) connected through a normaly
then press the button rapidly to cause a transient in the transformer.
It is funny as heck to watch someone wake up as they are getting the
shock. if you stop while they are still partially asleep they really
have trouble figuring out whats going on.
i'm sure you could automate the process so the person has just enough time
to fall a sleep before the next shock.
When I was at Burroughs Corp., a couple of co-workers got into a get-even
contest with each others' toolboxes, including such niceties as:
--Filling toolbox with punched-card chad.
--Same as above, then pouring oil over everything! <
--Wiring toolbox to 110 VAC. (I'm not endorsing these activities; simply
including them for sake of completeness!!)
--Supergluing handle to top of toolbox. (Thought that one up myself.)
--Removing tools; bolting toolbox to floor; replacing tools. (Good one!!)
Here is a simple, but fun, practical joke you can try.
You need a phone with a handset so that you can unscrew the
mouth piece and remove the pickup. It's real easy, they are just sitting
in there and not wired down. Replace the mouth piece and think up a good
excuse to get someone to use the phone. This joke was done to me when I
was in college. My roommate told me that this girl who I thought was cute
had called, and that she wanted me to call back. I felt pretty stupid yelling
into the phone trying to talk to her. And all I heard was her say 'Hello,
hello, is anyone there, hello?' After I realized what had happened, we
went out and tryed it on some other friends, with similar results.
It's a good joke because it is totally harmless, and even more
fun after a few drinks.
For a quick laugh, try:
zork | valspeak
If you don't have valspeak, I would suggest getting a copy. It's a
great way to hand in weekly reports to your boss.
In the good ol' days of punched cards, every keypunch machine had a container
into which the square "chips" fell. A favorite practical joke at a certain
famous Eastern Technological Institute, paralyzed around science, was to dump
a bag of these collected chips on someone taking a shower and shampoo in the
dormitory. It could take weeks to get rid of all those wet chips ....
Other types of phone fun...
While we were in the other room, listening through a modem (we were in NY
State), a friend of mine, using his impeccable british accent, would
call a random number in London England..... collect; stating that he was
Sir so-and-so from the British consulate or some other such agency.
These people would almost all accept. (It was about 2:00 AM for them,
so I guess that might be part of the reason...). He then proceeded
to take an official telephone survey:
"1) Do you believe Margret Thatcher's handling of the Falklands crisis was
b) fair to good
At least at the time, it was hillarious... especially his ability to sound
and act authentically enough for these people to accept the collect call in
the first place.. form the USA... and then stay on long enough to actually
do the survay!
Here is a classic which has been fading into a lost art. It works extremely
well someplace like a military academy or such, where everything must always
be in impeccable order, but can be used for good effect in a dorm room, too:
It's the fine art of stringing up a room. The idea is to string the room
(trough makeshift pullies and levers, etc.) such that as the victim turns
his door knob and opens the door, his entire room is upset. One classic
example involved stringing the bunkbed so that it lifted itself up of the floor
and turned upside down, books would tumble off a shelf, in turn moving a
dresser across the room, emtying a wall locker, pulling the shoes up into the
light fixtures and otherwise creating serious havoc. What's nice is that
the destruction itself is done by the victim; all you did was run a little
string.... This, however, can lead to serious counter-pranks. Don't say
I didn't warn you!
Now to add my $.02...
(This works best if you have several people to work on it)
One night when one person in my dorm was away at a party, but for some
unknown reason left his door unlocked (trusting sucker!), several other
people removed all his furniture and belongings. Most of the stuff went
to a garbage/storage room, but some of the stuff (the more valuable)
went to other rooms. When he got back (at 3:?? AM), good and tired, he
was met with a nice floor lamp in the middle of the room and a telephone
in the trash basket.
Then for the next several weeks, anyone who left their door unlocked
was asking for it...
Reminds me of when I was in first year at UVIC. At that time, punch-cards
were used for programming still (They added terminals the year after I left).
The rectangular cardboard confetti had many uses :-) That stuff was hard to
get off of clothes, out of your hair, etc. One friend of mine decided to
collect the stuff, so every day he would go around and empty the confetti
>from the punch machines. At a party he was going around tossing the stuff
at people and laughing as they tried to get it out of their clothes (it sure
itches if you get it in your clothes!). He had collected a whole paper
shopping bag full - one of the big ones. When he got around to me I reached
out and whacked the bag hard on the bottom as he was reaching in to get another
handfull. Well he was looking down into the bag and had his mouth open. The
confetti exploded upwards into his face and mouth. We were practically rolling
around on the floor watching him trying to clean the stuff out of his mouth
an off his tongue. A few days later he got me back by collecting more and
dumping it on my car, into the ventilation inlets. To this day years after he
did this, an occasional rectangular cardboard piece of confetti will float up
out of the ventilation system every time you turn on the fan/heater.
Here are two of my favorites (which I've never yet performed: maybe I'm just
not spiteful enough.)
Prickly pear cacti have two kinds of spines: large ones and tiny reddish
hairs that are incredibly irritating. Gather the tiny ones, and distribute
them into the clothing of someone you detest, perhaps the underwear. They
will probably be noticed too late. Caveat: this should make the clothes
Collect an engorged tick from a dog, and keep it until it produces an egg
mass. Hide the egg mass at a spot where the victim sits. Several hundred
tiny "seed ticks" will patiently wait their opportunity to swarm over the
first warm-blooded creature available. They are too small to easily pick
off, and just large enough to see. (This happened [by accident] to me in
Georgia this summer. I wasn't disturbed much, but then I study ticks and
mites for fun.)
Don't make an enemy of an imaginative biologist.
Speaking of practical jokes, my wife pulled one several years ago...
For my wife's birthday several years ago, some people at the law office
where she works hired a male belly dancer to entertain her. She swore
sweet revenge. Six months later, the instigator of the belly dancer
incident had her birthday. My wife arranged for the single brother of
another secretary to meet the instigator for lunch, etc. The instigator
didn't know the brother before this, so it looked like someone had hired
an escort service for her to help celebrate her birthday. The joke,
however, backfired. The secretary and the single brother are now
married. At the wedding, held at a large and famous Chicago hotel,
a gorilla handed out bannanas to the guests, courtesy of my spouse.
This reminds me of something I saw at our residence a couple of terms ago.
Outside one of the houses was an entire bedroom suite! (bed, desk, chair,
the whole bit - even the bed was made!) I don't know exactly from which dorm
it came from or whodunnit but I imagine somebody was not too happy!
Dump a whole bottle of detergent into the
toilet tank. This produces great billowing
suds out of the bowl on first flush. Especially
great if first flusher is sitting at the time.
Use a clip lead to connect the brake light switch
to the horn relay on the targets car. Every time
they step on the brake the horn blows. It's
amazing how many people can't associate the horn
blowing with using the brake. They just report
that the horn blows at random times. This is
especially useful joke to watch in parking lots
when work lets out.
Carefully pick up sleeping targets bed and set it on
four coke bottles. When target rolls over or makes
any significant move bed will crash 6 inches to the
floor and there will be bottles rolling all over the
place but not a soul in sight.
Steal a banana from targets lunch. Use large sewing
needle to pierce skin at seam and move needle back
and forth to "cut" banana in half. Continue doing
this along the seam and banana will be sliced when
peeled by target.
Saran wrap on reading glasses that have been left on
desk is good. Trimming at edge of lens is hard but
effect is great. Not usually noticed when first picked
up but optical quality of saran is spectacularly bad.
I know of a variation of the fake workmen digging the street
that worked well. In the original (very risky) you
masquerade as real workmen and dig a hole in the street
and leave. When this was first done in NY in the fifties
it was days before anybody realized something was wrong and
traffic was a disaster until the street department patched
the hole. In the variation, the jokers observed real workmen
digging the street and reported to the police that college
students were again digging up the street as a joke. The
police thanked the tipster and headed for the dig. In the
meantime the jokers approached the workmen and toldthem that
the college had freshmen dressed up as cops as part of
fraternity initiation and that they would be around soon to
give the workmen a hard time. The workmen thought this was
great and agreed to give the "cops" a hard time back.
It was a long time before this mess was sorted out.
(this was my all time favorite practical joke)
Another idea that I couldn't perfect might be of interest.
I got one of the air freshener gadgets that had a battery
operated timer that causes a brief push on a self-contained
can of air freshener every 10 minutes. I guess you leave this
thing in the bathroom and get a brief pssssst of freshener
every ten minutes. Anyhow, I tried to change the can of air
freshener (which is indeed replacable) with a freon horn.
Unfortunately the freon horns sold for emergency use in boats
etc. have a different cap on top that I could not adapt
to the freshener. If you could make this work you could
plant this thing in somebodies shrubs or cellar or warehouse...
This supposedly happened a bunch of years ago, when deposit slips imprinted
with one's account number were becoming available, but banks still had
trays with generic deposit slips for their customers' convenience.
This gentleman opens an account, deposits a few thousand dollars. He then
leaves _his_own_ deposit slips in the counter slots in various branches.
A few days before next month's statements appear, he goes in, checks his
balance, withdraws one hundred eighty thousand dollars in cash, and
disappears. Seems the system credited his account with deposits that
others made (seemingly to their accounts) using his slips.
And one that doesn't involve banks, but allegedly happened...
College student returns to his room to find a bucket of water amateurishly
balanced above the door, ready to fall on him when he opens the door. So
he lifts down the bucket and empties it into his sink.
Too bad the perpetrators also removed the drain pipe from the sink.
In the last few hours before the Corps of Cadets dorms closed for
Christmas break, someone led a horse into a departed friend's room
and shot it. When the dorms reopened a month later, the smell was
so fierce that the entire wing of the building was unusable.
These were told to me by a friend who once attended Devry Inst. in
Arizona (a tech. school for electronics types). Three favorite
practical jokes were:
(1) The access to the supply room (to obtain lab materials) was via
a Dutch door (two-piece job where either top or bottom could be
opened independently), where the top half was left open so
students could lean over and request supplies. The lab grunts
wired a thin filament wire to a power supply and strung it across
the top of the bottom portion of the door. Normal instincts of
students led them to lean or place hands there while waiting for
materials, and were met with a small yet satisfying jolt.
(2) This one I've heard of from various sources. Charge up a bell-type
capacitor and tape the leads in such a way that they are almost
but not quite touching. Call to the victim with a rousing "Here,
catch!" and lob the cap to them. When they catch, the slight
squeezing pressure will connect the leads and the capacitor will
pop. (VARIATION: Leave 'loaded' cap on chair for them to sit on)
(3) The most common labs involved circuit design and troubleshooting,
and students were forever wary as they applied power to a new circuit
for the first time. My friend's prank involved running some thin
hollow plastic flex tubing from his lab station to a point below and
behind the victim's station. He would then light up a cigarette and
wait. As soon as the victim applied power to his circuit, he would
blow ciggie smoke into his end of the tube. Within a few seconds,
victim would see smoke rising from his board and cut power. He would
examine board, find no trouble, and fire it up again. Soon smoke
would appear ... this can be stretched out for a good long time, or
until he sees the tubing.
Try this one out sometime. While the victim is asleep
carefully put Vaseline between his/her toes. What you will
obeserve is the person's toes starting to wiggle. The
apparent mechanism is that when your toes start slipping against
each other, your mind insists on making them slip and slide
more and more. The upshot of this is that the part of the mind
that's supposed to be getting rest is busy moving toes. The
victim wakes up having had no sleep at all.
How 'bout this: if the victim uses Head 'n Shoulders or Selsun
Blue shampoo, and a few drops of methylene blue (available in pet stores)
to a FULL bottle. Over time (if the victim is fair-haired), you will
notice their hair turning blue, as methylene blue stains all organic
Also writing things on someone's back with indellible ink is pretty
good. Use your imagination. "Laugh, but don't tell me about it." is a
pretty good one.
Get a group of people to chip in 1 or 2 bucks, and bet the victim the collected
sum that he or she can't put a cue ball in his/her mouth. Hint: cue balls
go in, but they don't come out. In fact, medical science has developped a
tool to aid in the removal of cue balls.
Take doors. Just take them off the hinges and put them somewhere else.
Another paper punch-hole trick that is even better is to take
a plastic 35mm film canister, paper punch-holes and a can of freeze
spray (at fine electronics stores everywhere). Fill the film canister
with about 1/4" of freeze spray then add punch-holes until the film
canister is at least half full, replace the lid on the canister, set
the canister on a desk or shelf and then wait for the fun. The neat
thing is that when the canister pops it shoots paper all over the
area (sort of like a party 8-)). Before you try this with the con-
fetti, experiment with just the freeze spray and canister, different
amounts of liquid causes it to pop at different times.
I know one person who filled one of those blue solder extractor
bulbs half full of freeze spray, sealed the end and put it under his
bench at work, he thought it might make a pretty good pop and after
30 minutes had completely forgotten about it. It went off about ten
minutes later and could be heard all over the building (he later told
everyone that a power supply had blown).
Bubble pack behind the wheels of an occupied chair also causes
some fun when the unsuspecting person rolls back.
Actually I'd rather hear mind game type jokes which are
a lot more fun. ex:
Bet some one they can't eat a slice of bread in less than a
minute. Conditions are, nothing on the bread and nothing with the
bread (like water). There are people who can win the bet, but
watching them suffer is worth loosing, and I have won more money
than I have lost.
Back when I was in high school a friend of mine, Robert, hurt his back while
rolling his car and had to wear a plaster cast around his torso, from
just under his armpits to a few inches below the navel. When he wore
a jacket it was impossible to tell he had on a body cast. Now, for
maximum effect you have to picture Robert. He was a tall beanpole with
hair down to his butt (this was around 1975), a scraggly beard, John Lennon
type glasses with blue tinted lenses, and old clothes. One day we
decide to go on a picnic at a local park. So here we have 4 hippies
in a park surrounded by families, when Robert grabs a large butcher
knife, jumps up, yells 'GODDAMN IT I CAN'T STAND IT ANYMORE', and
plunges the knife into his chest. This was followed by some very
dramatic histronics as he fell to the ground, ending up on his back
with the knife sticking up in the air. Well, the three of us knew
the knife was really in the cast, not his chest, so we double up
laughing as these families are looking on in shock. I'll never forget
some of the looks on those people's faces.
Good ol Ray decides to do Robert one better. He grabs the picnic
basket, yells 'lets go!', and runs off to the van. Naturally we
followed, leaving Robert laying on the ground with the knife sticking
up. Boy, this really got them families into shock! Robert realizes
he's suddenly all alone and tries to get up and run after us. If you
want to see something funny sometime watch someone with 50 pounds
of plaster wrapped around their chest, who can't bend at the waist,
try to get up unassisted off their backs. Then picture this person
trying to run after a van, in which his 3 buddies are driving off.
Remember, Robert still has this knife sticking out of his chest.
Boy, them families didn't know what the hell was going on.
Anyway, we went down the road 100 yards or so, just enough to scare
the crap out of Robert, and stopped to let him get in the van. I still
wonder what some of those families thought of that episode.
I became a somewhat involved spectator in a similar incident...
The biology teacher at my high school, Mr. Evans, was an incurable wit. He
was the one teacher everybody liked. He was the one who made sure that we
dissected Ascaris worms (long white stomach worms) the same day the lunch
room served spaghetti. One day, he fished out a four-foot preserved boa
constrictor and laid it on the floor just inside the biology lab door. Then
he put a preserved frog in its mouth. Then he stood by the door waiting for
class to start, watching students' reactions as they opened the door. I had
the misfortune to arrive right behind one of the more excitable girls.
(click.) (door opens) AAAAAAAAAAAAK! She ran right over me!
Mr. Evans related tales of his college days. He said one of his professors
was a real joker (by HIS standards!) who let his pet tarantula roam loose in
the room during class. You could track its progress by watching people pick
up their feet. He made some ammonium tri-iodide and painted it on the floor
before class. People walk in. BANG! POP! POW! When you pick up one foot, you
have to put the other one down. BAM!
I always wanted to put some inside the school bell. Ding-BOOM!
Switch the "MEN" and "WOMEN" signs on a pair of public bathrooms while
they're occupied. Great at airports, hotels, and bars.
You can do this to a business associate whom you think is a jerk:
Get a few copies of his business card. Hopefully, it has his home
phone number on it. Go to your local red-light district and
pass them out to the girls (or guys) saying "Call me some time."
This is most effective if he has a family. If he is single, he
may want to thank you.
My father loves to tell of the builder he knows who had to evict some guy
>from one of his rental houses. It seems the renter left his pet in the
master bedroom. A duck with lots of food and water... The builder
didn't get around to checking out the house for about a week.
Yech. Needless to say, the not only the carpet needed replacement, but
the sub-floor also.
Apparently there is a well-known story in the television industry about the
early days, when parts were scarce and 'friendly competition' was just be-
ginning between the networks. There was going to be an important speech by
someone important, probably President Eisenhower or someone of that stature.
Naturally, all (both?) of the networks wanted to cover this speech. But on
the day of the speech, the tube in NBC's camera went dead. There was no hope
to order a replacement in time, so the NBC brass called the CBS brass to ask
if they could borrow a tube until they could get a replacement (maybe they
borrowed a whole camera, I don't know). At any rate, the good-natured guys
at CBS said sure, they would deliver a tube to them in plenty of time for the
Well they DID loan NBC a tube, but not before setting it up in a camera and
focusing it on the brightly lit door to the men's room. To understand what
happened, you must realize that these early "image-orthicon" tubes were ex-
tremely sensitive. So sensitive in fact, that a bright unchanging image would
"burn-in" to the face of the tube and remain for hours, or even permanently
if the damage was severe enough. So to make a long story even longer, when
NBC brodcasted the speech, the president appeared with "MEN" emblazoned across
his forehead. Of course they discovered it much too late to do anything about
it (this was live TV, folks).
(This was a story I heard from someone who worked at a CBS affiliate TV station
and may or may not be true, or the networks involved may be wrong.)
A little gentler trick that a co-worker pulled up here a few years ago
depended on the sound module from one of those dolls that cries unless
you rock it back and forth. He fastened it to the bottom of someone's
chair. The someone comes and sits down, and starts working on his
terminal. As he gets into it, this vague "wa-wa" noise starts up from
some unidentifiable direction. The victim looks around (moving the chair)
and the crying stops. Oh, well, who cares. Back to work. A little later,
the crying starts up again. This one was good for several minutes.
Oh yes, someone mentioned freon bombs. Things can get hairy with those
around a power supply design group. And the following is a good way
to make a switcher designer an enemy for life - or a few days, at least:
Now for a *harmless* practical joke. My favorite telephone gag is to
call someone at random, and with an official tone rattle off this warning
before they can interrupt:
"This is the telephone company calling. There is some trouble with
your line. Please do not answer any calls for the next five minutes
or the person on the other end may be electrocuted. Thank you."
Hang up, and wait about two minutes. Call them back. When they answer, just
scream "AAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!" and hang up.
My freshman year we had a trick that went around my old dorm.
Someone would put shaving cream on a phone receiver and a
confederate would call. The victim would then answer the
phone and sploosh the shaving cream into his ear. Worked
90% of the time.
One kid in particular got hit hard. Once a day for two weeks.
Even when no one suspicious was around. It became a challenge to see
how many times he could be had. One day he was in another part
of the dorm, where the craze to get your roommate with the
trick had just begun. The kid came into the room of a mutual
friend totally depressed about having been had *so* many times. He
proceeded to demonstrate to everyone in the room what would happen:
"The phone would ring and I would pick it up like this"--
he picks up the phone and -- sploosh: gets it again! The phone
had been set up for my friend's roommate seconds before the kid had
I start to laugh when ever I think about this one...
A friend who works at a company I will all inhel for lack of a better name,
loves to tell this story about "Ralph" (names changed to protect the guilty).
Being in the electronics industry, TAK-PAK is very common (for you S/W types,
tak-pak is thick super glue that comes with a bottle of 'accelerator' that
makes it stick VERY fast). It was decided to wait until Ralph was far
enough away that it would be a long run to phone, but he would make it if
he was quick. The 'handle' was then tak-pak'ed to the little white buttons
on top of the phone. The call was placed. Ralph goes running down the
hall full steam ahead, leaps for the phone, and snatched it off the desk!
The hole thing. Now, he hased to try to answer the thing only he can't.
And if he sets it down it hangs up!
Practical Joke at a party.
Take a sheet of cardboard or a throw away magazine, form a cone with it.
Take the cone, a coin, and a liquid refreshment (water causes least damage)
in a bottle or a cup, of course you will be pretending its your drink.
Challenge the victim (bet a sum), that they can not drop the coin, placed
on their forehead, with their eyes closed, into the top of the cone shoved
into their pants at the waist within so many tries.
To prove that it is possible, demonstrate the procedure a few times, you'll
be supprised that it is possible. (practice before hand)
When the victim tries it, as soon as the eyes close, pour the liquid down
I was party once to an attempt at humorous cow placement. I attended a
boarding school that actually had a dairy farm ( George School, Pa. -
The farm is since defunct ) We thought it would be a simple matter to coax
a cow over to the main building.
Cows, however, live a life of routine, to which they adhere tenaciously.
I'll never forget the sight of that cow placidly loping back to the barn
with two or three upperclassmen dangling from it.
Another idea for a practical joke is to put goldfish in all the toilets.
I haven't tried this, but it should be interesting to see what people do.
An acquaintance of mine and his friend were once asked to leave a rather
posh country club for what they considered innocent fun-loving behavior.
To get revenge for their inconvenience and show what truly obnoxious
behavior is like, on their way out the door they went into the coat room,
and exchanged all the keyrings they could find in people's jacket pockets
for similarly shaped keyrings from other pockets.
Then they sat in their car in the parking lot and enjoyed their revenge! It
was evidently quite a show.
In view of the large number of recent postings of college practical
jokes, I'll 'fess up that some friends and I were the instigators of many a
prank while undergraduates in college. The following are some of the better
1. I lived in a three-story dorm during my freshman year. Most everyone
listened to the same radio station, which played the National Anthem at the
stroke of midnight every night. It occured to my roommate and I that there
should be some kind of stunt that could be arranged which could use the
playing of the National Anthem as a coordinating cue. Finally, we hit upon
the answer: at the stroke of midnight everyone in the dorm would flush their
toilet! Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending upon your point of view),
all of their toilets were of the tank variety so that a simultaneous "flush"
would guarantee a copious discharge of water into the sewer.
We really didn't know what would happen when The Time arrived; bets
ranged from "no event" to blowing the basement rec room toilets off the
The Time was a Monday evening, and I figure we had about a 90%
participation rate. The results were not disappointing: a cleanout plug
(which upon retrospection must not have been properly secured) blew out
of the floor in a basement utility room, resulting in about 1/2 inch of
water over the basement floor.
The campus maintenance people went apeshit the next day trying
to figure out what happened; as far as I know, no one ever told them the
2. It somehow came to our attention that most of the campus street
and walkway lighting came on _simultaneously_ each night, the actual time
being based upon the actual level of ambient light. It was obvious that
there was a central control point with a photoelectric sensor somewhere.
After a few exploratory tours of the campus, we came upon a likely
location: two photoelectric controls mounted on the roof of a service
building directly across from the campus electrical substation.
After "borrowing" an extension ladder from a telephone company truck
(which was always left parked near a service building), one Friday night
about 10:00 PM (peak campus traffic time) we climbed on the roof of the
service building and taped flashlights to each of the two photoelectric
sensors. Instant blackness!
Actually, the most amazing part was that it took OVER ONE HOUR for
the campus maintenance people to restore the lights! I would have thought
there to be some kind of manual override for the photoelectric cells, but
perhaps the maintenance people thought there was some kind of underground
cable fault so they didn't rashly restore power.
3. My father managed a soap manufacturing company ever since I was a
little kid, so I grew up with some knowledge of soap formulation chemistry.
There was a civic building near the campus with a large outdoor fountain,
and it occurred to be that the water in this fountain needed "treatment"
when the fountain was turned on in the spring. While home for spring
break, I swiped from my father's plant two gallons of a surfactant called
Triton X-100 (a tradename of Rohm & Haas). This surfactant _really_ foams;
like a few drops will fill a bathtub with suds.
So one night, some friends and I carefully filled some thin plastic
bags with the surfactant, and then casually threw the bags into the fountain
(the bags broke upon impact). The next morning, the fountain was a mass of
soapsuds. The next evening, the picture of the fountain made the front
page of the local newspaper. The caption beneath the picture attributed
the soapsuds to college "spring fever". Since we weren't caught, I wonder
how they knew that???
4. The father of my dorm roommate worked as a repairman for the Otis
Elevator Company. One weekend, I stayed with my roommate at his parent's
home. While talking with his father, we learned an _amazing_ fact: almost
all escalators are reversible for use in breakdowns or emergencies; there
is usually a key-operated reversing switch located under the handrail at
each end of the escalator. We also learned a second _amazing_ fact: most
all Otis elevators and escalators use the _same_ key. While my roommate's
father went out for the evening, we swiped his work keys, and were able to
get many of them duplicated.
As soon as we returned to campus on Sunday evening, we went in
search of an Otis Elevator (we didn't have to go far - our dorm had one).
Sure enough, we had The Key. Over the next few days, we found that The Key
worked on every Otis Elevator that we tried on campus.
We were now ready for en escalator (there were none on campus), and
we readily found one in a five-floor department store in the heart of the
downtown shopping district. It was an Otis, and sure 'nuff it had a reversing
switch at each end beneath the handrail.
We came back on Wednesday night, which was the peak shopping night
of the week. There were two pairs of escalators - one at each end of the
store. After nervously waiting for the right moment when no one was on
the UP escalator, and no one was looking, my roommate inserted The Key, and
turned it. Grrr-klunk-grrr. The UP escalator came to a halt, and reversed
direction - it was now going DOWN! We quickly went to the other escalator
pair, and I got the honor of inserting the key.
We now had an increasingly crowded department store with four
escalators on the main floor, all going down! We tried to act inconspicuous
as possible (not easy with half dozen 18-19 year-olds sporadically going into
fits of hysterical laughter!) and watch the action. People would step on the
UP escalator without looking at direction, and then step back in shock.
Then shock would change to disbelief: an UP escalator going DOWN - impossible!
People in the store were forming an oval as they traveled from the front
escalators to the rear and back, trying to figure out how to get to the
second floor. After about ten minutes of this, with the main floor crowd
growing larger, a _very_ agitated person wearing a suit (must have been the
manager) came by with a big ring of keys, frantically trying each key in the
escalator until he found the right one to operate the key switch. Since
the manager was eying us suspiciously, we didn't stick around to find out any
more about the situation.
The apocryphal friend-of-a-friend brought a can of chunky
beef stew on board an airliner. At some point he emptied the
contents into the barf bag. Later during some minor turbulence
he pantomined using the bag in the conventional way. When the
flight attendant asked if she could dispose of the bag for him,
he replied, "Not yet, there are some choice bits that I haven't
finished with yet," and proceded to pick out chunks from the bag
and eat them. According to my informant, everyone nearby immediately
tossed their cookies.
Here's another way to have Fun with Sound:
Several years ago, a friend who manages a large retail store gave
me an electronic bird call used to add "realism" to store displays. This
device was about 4 inches in diameter and 2 inches high, with a speaker
on the top. It was powered by a 9-volt battery, and had two controls:
a 5-position "voice" selector, and a time delay control to set the
interval between calls (up to 60 seconds).
For a device which used just discrete transistor circuitry, the
bird calls were amazingly realistic - especially if the time interval was
long between calls.
I have had much fun with this gadget, especially planting it in
people's houses (basement and garages are good places). The unsuspecting
victims really believe that there is a bird trapped in their house - and
go ape trying to find it.
If anyone wants one of these devices, they can be purchased from
any company which sells retail store display fixtures; I don't believe they
cost much money.
Another good practical joke taken from the "Tippy Turtle" series on Saturday
Night Live is as follows:
Take one of those musical grreting cards (the type that play a song when
opened) and carefully rip out the part that actually plays the music. This
is only about the size of a quarter. When the victim isn't watching, plant
this somwhere near him/her. Since it is so small, it is relatively easy to
hide in a pocket, purse, etc. Afterwards, watch the victim become maddened
by the recurrence of Jingle Bells, Happy Birthday, etc. in the background.
I was a victim of this one, and at first I thought I was hearing the muzak
at the restaurant I was eating at. After I was done, I returned to my car
and the music followed me. I thought I was going insane.
********* < This batch entered March 1 >
My sister was the butt on this one.... She had a box turtle who
lived in a terrarium in her room. I haunted pet shops and bought a
series of turtles, as identical as possible, but getting smaller and
smaller. She was quite concerned....
After a while, I got tired of the game, so I reversed the process till
she had the original (who was bigger by now) back, and took the rest
down to the woods and let them loose.
Love is the law, love under will!
Gather a bunch of freshmen together at a party, telling them the punch
is spiked. Observe for about half an hour while some of them get
high on the sugar. Then bring out a couple of bottles of Everclear
and dump them in. People will sober suddenly, then dip in and rapidly get
silly. Let simmer for about an hour, preferably taking pictures.
Then announce that there is still no alcohol in the punch.
Make sure that film is safe first. Everyone goes home safe and sober.
Not very funny you say? Well, then use real alcohol instead of sugar
water and laugh hysterically while people get sick, slip on the stairs,
wreck their cars, etc. Great fun.
Way back when, like before electric lights were invented, I worked in
an engineering department where the general-use computer was an IBM 1130.
This was a standalone computer of roughly PDP-11/34 power with a disk,
console typewriter, slow line printer. Its primary I/O was a combination
card reader/punch. Some things you ought to know before proceeding futher:
1. The card reader/punch had one input hopper and two output hoppers.
Cards came from the input hopper through the read station, through the
punch station, to whichever output hopper was selected. Cards could be
read, punched, or both as the program saw fit.
2. The CPU had a "bootstrap" mode in which it read one card as the
binary image of a program and executed that program. The standard
"coldstart" card had enough program on it to read in the operating
system's startup block which then got the whole software system going.
3. The user community used the machine mostly for applications written
in FORTRAN and was largely ignorant of the details of computers and
how they work.
Still with me? Good. Naturally, _any_ card without characters printed
on it and with lots of holes all through it looked, to the uninitiated,
like the "coldstart" card that people placed at the start of their decks.
So it was a small matter to leave a few spurious cards around the computer
room and wait for the results.
My favorite was the card that just ran the deck through the reader/punch,
placing alternate cards in the other output hopper. What a delight with
long decks! One fellow was so sure he'd done something wrong that he
took his cards, reassembled them into the right order, and ran them through
_again_ with the same bogus coldstart card.
I never did work up the nerve to write the one that punched all the holes
in all the cards following.
All this talk about practical jokes reminds me of one I heard about in high
school. It seems that a psychology class decided to give their new found
knowledge of the "power of suggestion" a little test. Some of the students
had another class together and decided to play a little trick on their teacher.
Whenever the teacher was on the left side of the room, they would act really
interested and when he was on the right side of the room, they would act really
bored. Well, it seems that this behavior did its job on the teachers sub-
conscious and he was practically crawling on the left wall by the end of class.
At my high school (many years ago) over a dozen Polymorphic 88 S-100
computers were used to teach computer lit in the math department. Now I
was the curious type and I took to reading the supplementary documentation
to the operating system and I implemented a number of nasty suprises for
the other students.
NOTE: These changes were never to the boot tape just to the currently
running copy, so the changes dissapeared when the system was rebooted.
1. Change the prompt to some strange greek character that no-one knew
existed in the machine before.
2. Change the opening logo to something humerious and strange like Muppet
Labs Operating System V.0.1
3. Change the (Go to Monitor) command to return. To leave monitor a
command must be entered which is terminated by return, which is no longer
available from the keyboard and results with the screen clearing and the
monitor all fresh and ready to accept a command! Very nasty!
[Englishmania - It's not English, but an INCREDIBLE simulation!]
One that's good for a few chuckles with a new user is, while they're away
>from the terminal put a few cute aliases in their .profile, .login,
whatever, for example:
alias ls echo 'ls: command not found.'
or alias vi rm
(The second one is admittedly a bit nastier).
A simpler variation was played on me when I was but a mere first-year at U of
Toronto. One day, I was logged in at a terminal and I left for a few minutes
to go collect output from the printer. A friend of mine leapt into action and
changed my prompt from $ to 'Login incorrect. Login:'. Then he logged me off.
He told me that the daemon had logged me off because I'd been on to long.
Needless to say, when I tried (and unbeknownst to me, succeeded) to log on, I
was told that I hadn't logged in correctly. Well as I said, I was a first-
year and thoroughly unfamiliar with UNIX so I became very confused. My friend
did tell me what happened, however, since we were limited to 5 hours a week.
Incidently, he's no longer my friend (oohhh hint hint hint).
Many years ago, when some neighbors moved away and their house was
vacant for a few weeks, my brother installed an extra doorbell in
the basement, and ran the wires out along the rear sidewalk,
terminating them under a flagstone tile by the alley. After the
new neighbors moved in, if he was coming home late at night (1 A.M.
or later) he'd stop by with a lantern battery and connect it up to
the wires. After about 20 seconds you'd see the upstairs bedroom
light come on. Another ten seconds later the hall light would come
on, then a few lights on the first floor. At this point he'd
disconnect the battery and go home, and not repeat it for a couple
of weeks. He continued this for a couple of years.
He had also installed a loudspeaker in the attic, running the wires
outside, but either they found that one, or the wires broke, so he
never got to use it.
This is one that a friend of a friend of mine did to his mom.
This kid was going somewhere with his mom in the car. The kid
was in the back seat, and the mom was driving. It was summer
time, so the kid had the window rolled down.
Anyway, the kid see's this jogger comming up the side of the road,
so he starts motioning to the jogger. The jogger didn't really
know what was going on, but just as the car passed the jogger, the
kid reached out of the window, and whaked the side of the car rather
loudly with his hand. The jogger, getting the idea, dove in the ditch
and acted like he was in great pain (similar to the pain he would
feel, say if he just got hit by a car).
The mother obviously notices the loud noise and see's the dieing
jogger in the ditch, slams on the breaks to see if this poor guy
is dead or not. Naturally she is worried sick.
Put a couple of cc's of methylene blue in a coke/coffee/dark colored
The next time the person has to use the restroom, surprise!!! blue
A friend of mine, "BUX", recounts a tale of mirth caused to by two bored
hackers on a PDP/11 running RSTS/E. They wrote a program which wandered
around the system looking for people in the editor. Once found they siezed
control of the terminal. On the bottom of the screen the program wrote
"I think there's a bug in your program!"
Then a cute little character'ature of a bug ran across the screen. Then
the screen was repainted and they relinquished control of the terminal.
Leaving the poor victim cleaning his glasses, checking his coke can, and
rubbing his eyes. This worked best late at night.
Ok, this forces me to tell one more of my favourites. I worked once in an
academic setting where folks tended to complain that UNIX operating system
was user-unfriendly. I had a program that generated the message (to random
Hello. This is the new user-friendly interface of the UNIX operating system
wishing you a pleasant day and happy computing. UNIX is the registered
trade mark of Bell Laboratories.
Here is a practical joke I played on a substitute teacher in junior
high. Numerous variations on the theme are possibile (jury-rigged
showers in chem. labs, fire sprinklers, etc.)
The classroom (Earth Science class)had the normal lab sinks with spouts
shaped like inverted J's. Over the years (old school) some of the
J-shaped pieces of pipe had broken off. This was during the energy
crises years, and the schools shut the classroom's heat off after
school. In order to prevent the pipes from freezing, they were drained
nightly. The janitor would often forget to turn the water on until 4th
period, much to the consternation of us 1st period students when we had
to use the sinks.
I waited until a day when a substitute teacher showed a film. After
everyone else filed out of the room, I simply opened a faucet or two
that led to a broken sink. As luck would have it, the water was turned
on during 4th period *in the middle of the film*. To make matters
worse, the broken pipes had been used to dispose of used gum at various
times. All this old hard gum acted much like a finger on the end of a
garden hose. Naturally, the first thing the sub did when utter chaos
broke out in the middle of the film was to turn on the lights.
Unfortunately, one of the lights was right over one of the `geysers,'
and the lights stayed on for about two seconds before going off again.
It was several minutes before everyone figured out what had happened,
the faucet was turned off, and the janitor had turned the circuit
breaker to the room on again.
No matter how hard the sub tried, she could never get anyone to confess
to doing it. She even kept the class after school without success.
When a friend in 4th period told me what had happened, I almost died
David <"I really was just a Theater Arts major, honest!"> Vangerov
Disclaimer: These are my opinions, all mine!!! Not SCO's, got that?
Sysmom of the night: keeping the system safe for the everyday user.
E-mail: davidv@sco.COM || ...!uunet!sco!davidv || ...!attctc!sco!davidv
From davidv@sco.COM Sat Dec 2 09:57:42 1989
From: davidv@sco.COM (David Vangerov)
Subject: Super Collection of Practical Jokes (part 4 of 4)
Odd that no-one mentioned the fun to be had with all the new and
wonderful phone features available now. None of the below are truly
destructive. Adjust gender as appropriate (women's lib be damned, I'm not
going to type his/her, s/he every time). Switching these on/off from time
to time can drive people nuts trying to figure out what is going on.
1) If call forwarding is available at your company, forward the
victims calls to an "appropriate" number (Highly moral people get
dial-a-sex, bosses get dial-a-joke, boring people get time/weather,
flamboyant ones get dial-a-prayer, etc). Victim may go days without
figuring it out. Spouse may get interested in what's going o at office as
well. Forwarding to a VP makes for interesting reactions as well.
2) Variation on above is to get an answering machine, record an
imitation of victim's with outragous comments (busy right now with X-rated
move sound track going in background, inviting all callers out on dates,
denouncing whatever private beliefs they have, etc). Forward calls OR
splice into phone line so only happens on occasion.
3) If someone is silly enough to put call waiting onto a line used
for modems, call it EVERY time they use it. Vicitm will complain to phone
compnay about "line noise".
4) Reprogram all their speed calling to dial-a-sex, etc numbers
(as appropriate for victim). Love to watch the face of someone who thinks
he is calling his wife and a sexy girl comes on the line demanding a credit
card so she can "talk dirty" to him...
5) If victim is out of office for an extend period (week+), answer
his phone and say "Oh, Mark doesn't work here anymore. I think that the
company caught him stealing equipment/supplies/money; using drugs; sleeping
on the job; sexually harrassing the boss; etc."
6) If the phone system depends on * or # pound keys, reverse them.
Most confusing. Even better, rewire 0-9 as well! Interchange only 2 keys
for continuing wrong numbers.
7) Replace answering tape messages with something "more exiting".
Effects records make good backgrounds. Barmaids and dancers will often
help you out on this one as well.
8) Call victim's answering machine. Leave what sounds to be an
important message and, 3 digits into the phone number, end the message.
9) If the company tracks every phone call, have everyone in the
office make long distance calls from the victims phone whenever victim
leaves the room. You need a spotter to keep from getting caught at this
one. 900 numbers that charge 0.50 per call are good for this.
10) One of my favorites works best in large office buildings:
Stay late one night. Go through the building and forward EVERY phone to
victim's line. Be sure to do yours also to avoid being suspected.
11) If victim keeps phone numbers online and you have write access
to database, scramble the numbers (Be sure not to mess with medical or other
emergency numbers. You can't play as many pranks on dead/maimed victims).
12) Turn off bell on victims phone. On AT&T phones this requires
a bit of disassembly to implement but may be corrected by just adjusting
the volume (there is a stop to keep bell from going off but lifting a lever
permits the dial to rotate past the stop. Rotate back and no-one can tell
that it was done. This is a design feature of the phones).
This is a good one for school or business.
It's probably been used in movies and TV.
It was used at this site, to the embarassment
of one of our department heads.
While he was chairing a rather boring department
meeting, the Manager (referred heretofore as Mr. Pid)
Wanted to emphasize a point using the conference room
Several meetings had been recently held in the same
room, and the last had used the pull-down projector
screen, which was now covering much of the blackboard.
With chalk in hand, Mr. Pid gave the screen a little
tug, and released it, sending it straight up and out
The entire department almost immediately broke into
Mr. Pid was at first surprised, thinking the group to
be amused by the action of the screen.
When he turned around to start writing, we were told
he turned the most lovely shade of beet red, as
taped to the blackboard was a luscious and smiling
To this day, the identity of the perpetrator is unknown.
Several years ago at our site I had an argument with a
co-worker about the use of menu screens. I argued that
they are fine for a while, but that soon become tedious
and that direct verb commands were preferable. His
argument was that menus were the ultimate in user-
friendliness, and that he would always prefer them.
A few days later I heard him holler from his office.
Seems he started up the local editor, which gave him
a menu selection to
c)delete a character
It was talked about for some time.
One of my favorites is to go into somebody's room and turn EVERYTHING upside
down. This was done to the cook at a summer camp I worked at (she was a lousy
cook; this was revenge for hamburger in white sauce for breakfast). We invertedeverything in the kitchen; the stove, the refrigerator (both previously
disconnected) and everything in the refrigerator; everything on the shelves and which (i.e., top, bottom, middle) shelf it was on. Best of all, there was a
table in the middle of the room with large JARS of ketchup, mustard, etc.; the
tops of all of these were hidden and they were inverted (place waxed paper over
mouth of jar, invert, remove paper) and the table rested on top. We also
inverted several posters on the walls.
Of course, the cook wasn't very happy about this; after she'd gotten it cleaned
up she demanded that whever did it apologize and wash dishes for a week. If
nobody claimed responsibility, she said, she would quit.
On the other hand:
one day some friends of mine and I were going to 7-11. There were several
parking spaces open along the wall of the store. We were in two cars: a 14
year old chevy wagon and an 10 year old dodge dart. As the first car was
about to pull in to the lot, a brand new cadillac pulled in from another
entrance and PARALELL parked accross 3 perpendicular spaces. Needless to
say we were not amused, and quickly retaliated. Before the driver (a man
in his 60's) could open the door, my friend and I (in the wagon) drove up and
paralell parked alongside him 6 inches from his door. The other car pulled
up so that he couldn't pull up past us. This left him hemmed in by brick
walls on two sides and cars on two sides. Of course, he could have slammed
his way out, but since his car had just cost 10 times the combined values of
our cars, he didn't try it. We left both cars parked there (with doors
locked, brakes set, etc.) while we picked up some party supplies and left him
Forget about phenothaline, coat the inside of the cup with Nitrogen tri-
iodide, when it dries, don't move the cup! When the owner attempts to do
anyhting with the cup, even breathe on it, it will probably exsplode!
Don't use to much or the mug will shatter very viontley!
There was a computer operator at a certain college (I don't know where),
who had been fired for something (I don't know what). He acquired one of the
ten platter disk packs that the university was using on its mainframe computer
system, and took it home. He disassembled the pack and replaced the disk
platters with phonograph records. He then sneaked back into the computer
center one night, placed his new pack on the shelves, and wrote a script that
would prompt the operator to mount the pack. Later, when the new operator
came in to do his job, he saw the message to mount the pack, so he did so.
Being new, he didn't know how heavy the disk packs actually were so he didn't
suspect anything, until he powered up the drive. The phono records literally
exploded inside the drive and sent the spindle straight through the drive door.
One time a group of friends were working on an assignment for
their artificial intelligence class. It was the first machine
problem, it was due that day, and they hadn't started it yet.
Their task was to implement an expression analyzer - nothing
fancy, just a conversational calculator.
Their teacher had said many times in class that a program exhibits
"artificial intelligence" if you cannot distinguish it's reponses
>from those of a human being. They were asking me to help them do
it the other way around. They would type in the expressions and I
would use a calculator to simulate their homework problem and
type back the answers.
The first few problems were easy ones. Their teacher remarked
that their program seemed to be one of the slowest ones (I am
not notorious for my speed with a calculator). The last expression
was some really long thing involving lots of parentheses and
somewhere along the way I made a mistake and so their "program"
got the wrong answer.
You would think the gig would be up, but, being fast on his feet,
one of my friends typed in TRY AGAIN. So, I did, and this time
typed the correct number. Not to be outdone, my other friend said
"We still have a few bugs yet. We haven't taught it about long
(Of course their teacher didn't buy any of this, but he was so
amused he gave them an extra week to work on the problem.)
Everyone's heard about filling the victim's room with balloons, right?
(balloons are great, especially if the victim is your SO and you come by
later, acting innocently, and suggest...well, you get the idea.)
Unfortunately, inflated balloons are bulky to carry, and it can take a
dangerously long time to inflate them in the victims room. There is a
solution. (I've actually done this, it really *does* work, even if it
sounds ridiculous) Go out and get 2 or 3 styrofoam beer coolers. Inflate
the balloons in the privacy of your own room. Fill the beer coolers
with liquid nitrogen. (at 77 K it can liquify air) Stuff all 2 thousand
or so inflated balloons into the beer coolers. (don't worry, they will fit,
liquified air occupies *very* little space) You may need a refill or 3 of
liquid nitrogen. Get a friend or 3 to help carry the coolers to the victims
room. Make sure there isn't any paper or other water-damagable stuff on
the floor. Strain out the majority of the LN2 and dump the inflated balloons
onto the floor. Close the door. (if there is a window or transom, it's
great fun to watch the balloons reinflate to fill the room)
During my freshman year at OSU, Some of the guys in my floor
"discovered" this (on about the second day 8-). The doors in the
"Tower" dorms have a lever shaped door handle, but the pennies still
work if the person has locked their door (for instance, to sleep). I
discovered that if you flip the flashplate for the door over, and
re-install it, then the pennies only place pressure on the door handle
latch, not the deadbolt. You should have seen the look on Chucks face
when I opened the door in the morning after he pennied it in...
As a parting gift to the dorm staff, we turned our bathroom into a
pool/sauna, but that's another story...
I had a UNIX practical joke pulled on me that was absolutely
insidious: the perpetrator simply changed my .profile to
include a stty call to change my wake-up character from a
newline to a space. The effect was that if I typed a command
in correctly everything worked, but if I 'kill'ed the line
or tried to delete characters, only the last parameter would
be deleted. He had me going for WEEKS trying to figure out
what was wrong with the system...
the dept administrator is somewhat of an msdos jock, and one day, he changed
my adviser's rainbow prompt to be something like:
fatal disk error
so everytime the return was pressed, this was displayed... now seeing that
we have been having various hardware and software problems, one after the
other with the little trash machine rainbow, my adviser was very upset...
when he realized that it was a joke, he thought that maybe i had done it...
(i don't know why, because i don't normally do this type of thing).
once we had sorted out what had happened, we set up the administrator's
account of the vax to behave in a similar, but more frustrating way...
i am a bit worried about this, though, because he rarely uses the vax...
it has been about two months, and still no screaming... (just redefine
some symbols in his login.com... important ones, like:
$ dir*ectory :== type
$ type :== directory
$ show :== logout
An OSU Architecture prof (I'll call him Dr. Jones) had a habit of telling his
students to "Go take a flying leap" when they gave dumb answers. One student
decided to take the prof to task; the class was taught in a second floor room
so the student practiced jumping out the window (with the help of an
assistant who would catch his arms as he jumped). The two got this down to
an art, and one day provoked the "flying leap" comment from Dr. Jones. The
student said, "Okay, if you say so," turned around, and leapt out the
window. His partner (who was supposed to grab him but say, "oh God, I missed
him !") *did* miss, and the jumper fell and broke his ankle.
No, this is not a cut on stupid practical jokes. The humor follows:
As a result of this episode, the department chairman had to file an
accident report. One line of the form requires the DC to outline
"What actions will be taken to prevent future recurrences of this accident ?"
The Department Chief answered, "In the future, all of Dr. Jones's courses
will be taught in the basement."
Last year I had a job teaching an officeful of secretaries to use their
IBM XT. Well, for April Fools Day, I inserted a Pascal program at the
beginning of the AUTOEXEC.BAT file (runs on startup). The program
essentially said "Hello, Department of Defense Missile Network..." and
gave instructions which led to "Missiles Launched", and "congratulations,
you have just launched World War III. Say goodbye to everything you
love." I slowed down the printing to match 300 baud, so it looked quite
threatening. After the "say good-bye message", I had it tell the user
to hit RETURN, after which the program said APRIL FOOL and went on to
the normal programs.
The results were interesting. The people who were comfortable with the
computer loved it. The real computerphobe registered only that this wasn't
her database program, and (as usual) demanded key-by-key instruction,
ignoring the prefectly good instructions on the screen. No-one really
was startled, they didn't have the background.
Get a thin sheet of lead, cut out the outline of a reclining nude
(trace from a magazine if you wish), tape it onto an inside wall of
your suitcase. If you're really artsy, glue or sew on a cover sheet,
such that the deception is non-obvious when the people check it.
Other shapes, or messages (taped onto cardboard) work too. Don't
do something that suggests a hijack attempt.
A few months ago I was flying down to L.A. from San Francisco with
a friend. He had stayed up too late the night before and promptly fell
fast asleep as soon as we were airborne. The airline magazines soon
paled, so I looked around for some way to entertain myself until we
I went up the steward and asked if I could borrow one of the oxygen masks
that they use in their little speech just before take-off. He looked
puzzled and said that they didn't work and were just for demonstration.
I said I didn't care, and much to my surprise, he gave it to me.
I took it back to my seat, put it on, and strung the hose to the
up just above my head. Then I reached down and shook my friend
furiously. As he groggily woke up, I yelled,
"Quick, put on your mask, we're falling fast!"
The look on his face was pretty classic!
Interestingly enough, he didn't fall back asleep on the plane.
This is a simple, harmless, and hilarious practical joke, that has claimed me
as a victim. The setting is a pool hall, bar, or anyplace else with a pool
(billiards) table. Place any ball at one end of the table and give your victim
the cue ball. Challenge the victim to focus on the cue ball while walking
around the pool table three times. At the end of the third time, the victim
is to place the cue ball on the table, take a cue stick and hit the cue ball so
that it stikes the ball at the other end of the table. This is very difficult
to do; not because of a loss of coordination from walking and staring at the
ball, but because while the victim is concentrating on the ball, you lick your
finger and wipe chalk off the end of the cue stick. The victim will miscue
almost every time. It gets funnier, because if the victim is like me, he/she
will be determined and try it again.
Speaking of fun practical jokes with a car, I have a couple of
1) Give the victims car an oil change, to 70 wieght oil. This should
work very well in places where it gets cold because when it is cold
enough, the oil should more resemble a brick the oil, and the car should
be unable to crank. I wonder how long it would take even a good
mechanic to figure out what has been done.
2) A Classic. Stones in the hubcaps. If done correctly, the driver
will hear something rattling in the hupcaps and check to see if it is
the wheel nuts, finding nothing, they will continue , only to hear the
3) When expressway driving becomes boring. This trick is been done with
a radar detector and a very fast (looking) car. While driving on the
expressway, look for a fast car that looks like it may not have a radar
detector. Accelerate hard to about 70 and see if the other car follows.
If it does, bring your car up as fast as you feel safe and pretend to be
racing him. This should get the other car's driver to start going very
fast. Continue this "race" until you come on a turn or hill. After
going through the turn, hit your brakes hard and bring the car to
exactly 55.00 mph. The effect is to make every one on the road start
doing 55.00 because they assume that if you are going that fast, youmust
have a radar detector, and it must have just gone off. (I hope I don't
need to mention the illigalities with this joke, and the need for a
When my girlfriend and I were in our early teens (the age is important) we used
to go to the local department store clock department. We would set all the
clocks that had alarms to go off within minutes of each other a few minutes
later. From a vantage point behind a rack of clothing we always got a chuckle
when the alarms started going off and the poor sales clerk was trying to find
out which ones were going off! (now, having been a sales clerk for a brief
period during my college days, I don't think that would have been particularly
While in grad school, I was an "assistant" in a lab which contained two
pdp-11/23's running UNIX System 3. Much of my education came from
jokes played on me by my more knowledgeable friends. I'm sure I
deserved them; I was into writing multi-player games, and I got a
kick out of writing special caveats that only I knew about; these
caveats could give other players invisible handicaps. (Don't ask me
for the games; they're very terminal dependent and I don't even
know where they are anymore.) We once wrote a multi-player version
of Walter Bright's empire from scratch. I added H-bombs (like fighters,
but when they hit a city it goes neutral, and when they hit a neutral
city it goes away, etc) Only, the program was rigged so that when
a certain friend completed an H-bomb, he got this dialogue that ended
with the H-bomb developers testing the bomb in his own city! It was
The lab contained two kinds of terminals; Zenith-something-or-other for
one pdp and TVI-something-or-other for the other. The console for each
pdp was some other type (e.g., vt100 or somesuch). I normally logged
in on a Zenith in a particular spot. One day my first attempt to login
failed and my second succeeded. I thought nothing of it, and continued.
Later, I happened to be on the console when I did a ps and noticed a
program running in the background belonging to one of my friends, B.
Although it was not uncommon for real work to be done this way (and the
program had an innocent sounding name), I poked around in B's directory
to see if I could figure out what it was doing (I was root; what a feeling
of power!). An ls revealed a very strange directory name; under that
directory lived some interesting looking programs and files.
It turned out that B had written one of those password-catching programs,
and had run it on my favorite terminal, apparently hoping that I'd login
as root there. The directory name was an escape sequence that caused
an "up-cursor, carriage-return", so an ls on a Zenith would overwrite
the funny directory name with the next file/directory. I had done the
ls on the console (different escape sequences) by pure luck.
I figured out the file in which B was writing the login name and password,
and replaced my login and password (yes, his program worked!) with:
"B is a bad boy". Eventually he came in. I casually asked him about
the background process, and he had a simple explanation ready. I then
left him to the "Zenith" room, and went to the adjoining "console" room
and waited. His reaction was quite rewarding.
B waited almost a year to try again, and this time he was nasty. I was
working on a huge program, a dbms, for my Master's thesis. I was having
some trouble debugging, and looking at the prospect of spending yet
another semester finishing it. During a particularly frustrating session,
another friend stopped in to mention that B had done something to my
..profile; I thanked him and checked it out.
It was a very subtle change; I don't remember how I happened to notice it.
My PATH was set with /usr/bin in front of /bin (default on our system was
/bin in front of /usr/bin). I looked at /usr/bin, and found an executable
cc, owned by B. Further exploration revealed that B had written new
read() and write() primitives; his cc arranged that the resulting a.out
would get the bogus primitives. These primitives read or wrote garbage
about 1/6 of the time. Can you imagine debugging a dbms with this handicap?
So, how to get back at him? I figured the first step was to pretend I
hadn't discovered his little trick, so I modified my makefile to run
/bin/cc directly. After a day or so, B stopped in to ask how I was doing,
and I told him everything was going well. He happened to notice my /bin/cc
lines, and asked why I did that. I told him I had some simple shell
scripts named "cc" scattered about, and didn't want to accidentally pick
one up (this was before aliases). He swallowed it.
The next day, /usr/bin had an executable make to go with the cc. B's make
made a backup copy of the makefile, changed all the /bin/cc's to /usr/bin/cc's,
and ran the real make; when the make finished, it moved the original makefile
back. I was amazed at the trouble he had gone to -- and got a good lesson
in shell programming as well!
It all started with a girlfriend's birthday party. Her
boyfriend, who I had known since elementary school, wanted
to give her a suprize party. So he asked me what should we do.
I came up with a plan to kidnap her during dinner. But this
wasn't any kidnapping. What we did was to get three people that
she didn't know to arrive while we where having dinner. Of course
all of these people were speaking a foreign language that she
didn't understand. She was bound, gagged and blindfolded. Then
while everyone drove to the resturant, she was driven around in
a car with three people speaking a foreign language. BTW-she
new something was up and wasn't scared, because she knew something
Anyway, they bring her into this very nice resturant. We're all
waiting at the table, about 15 of us, and we proceed to start
dinner. Her food was in front of her, but she was still bound
gagged, and blindfolded. After a few moments we untied her, she was
really embarrassed, because everyone in the place was staring at
our table, which was in the middle of the room.
She vowed revenge.
She wanted revenge. So I came up with the idea of getting a baby picture
of my friend, her boyfriend, from his mother, and printing up posters
of it and putting it up all over campus. Out side of his classes, labs,
and work. His mother gave me the most adorable picture of him when he
was a baby with his teddy bear. His features hadn't changed that much
and the way the picture was set up he looked as though he was in a
police line up. So we made it into a "Most Wanted" poster, with a
concise discription, and his name across the top in 40 point type. I
printed up about 150 posters which we put up all over campus. The next
day every where he looked and turned there was a poster, even in some
of the men's rooms around campus. It took him weeks to find all of
If you are wondering what all of this is building up to. Here is the
ultimate joke that was pulled. After several more *practical* jokes
which I was the ring leader on. My friends realized that at the hub
of each of the jokes I was the organizer and brains behind the
opperation. So it was my turn.
I really liked this one upper division Economics class that I was taking
that quarter. I was the VP of one of the Econ clubs on campus and everyone
knew who I was including the professor. Well, one Friday afternoon while
this class was meeting. One of those warm afternoons where everyone in
the class is dozing, including the professor. All of a sudden three
people enter the class in surgical grab, masks, protective gloves, boots,
green suits, the works and a wheelchair.(I learned later that they had
*borrowed* all of these items from the medical school.) Anyway, the looked
like the real thing. They went up to the professor and told him that they
were looking for me because I had contracted a infectious disease, and
needed to be removed from class immediately. They handed him a very official
looking document and started for me with the wheel chair. You could have
seen the people around me move, them my *friends* wheeled me across the
length of the campus screaming "out of the way infectious person."
When I went back to class the next week, the professor looked at me oddly
and asked if I was OK to be out. He really believed the whole thing.
and that's it. hope you enjoyed it...
David <"I really was just a Theater Arts major, honest!"> Vangerov
Disclaimer: These are my opinions, all mine!!! Not SCO's, got that?
Sysmom of the night: keeping the system safe for the everyday user.
E-mail: davidv@sco.COM || ...!uunet!sco!davidv || ...!attctc!sco!davidv