Thursday, January 12, 2006

Whammy, Wowee, Zowee! You've Just Been Pranked!


I stink at pranks.

I just don't have the devious mind necessary to concoct them, unlike most of my former roomies. But, when you're stuck living with a bunch of guys, whether it be in a dorm or a house, there's no way to avoid being embroiled in them; pranks are a way of life.

One of the most popular ones in the dorms was the "penny lock." I don't pretend to understand the physics of it all, but the basic idea is this: you stand outside the dorm room, pushing against it as hard as you can, jamming pennies into the space created near the handle, which somehow keeps the door from opening. One of my favorite examples was when one of the guys on my floor had his phone cord stolen by his "friends" right before they locked him in, so he was forced to resort to sticking his head out his window and yelling at passersby for help.

I myself was never the victim of a pennylock; not for lack of trying, I'm sure, but more due to room placement. You see, in most cases in order to get enough pressure on the door to place the pennies, one of the pranksters would push off of the wall facing the door; since my room opened up onto the elevator landing, this was impossible. Now, the only attempted penny locking that I know of was doubly futile because I was aware of it happening. You see, Rudy and I had been tormenting Coronela somehow (quite possibly by trying to work a certain phrase that was also the title of a song she detested into our conversation every chance we got; that was one of our more regular Coronela-baiting tactics) and she had finally given chase; we raced up stairs to my room. Since she couldn't be on our floor unescorted, she grabbed Captain Ego to be her token male presence. When we refused to open up for her, they decided to attempt a penny lock. Of course, not only did they have difficulties getting the necessary pressure, but Rudy and I would periodically jiggle the door, causing the pennies to fall and roll under my door; torturing my friends has never been as profitable for me since.

Another frequent prank was the use of thumbtacks on the elevator doors in the dorm. Basically, if you place a tack in the rubber part of the door, the doors would close all the way, but the sensor would think they were still open, so the elevator wouldn't go anywhere; I believe G'ovich made reference to this in his "Very Bad Things" post a while back. I remember one occasion where we had gotten on the elevator with one of the female residents of the dorm who was in a foul mood to begin with; when all of the guys got off on our floor, G'ovich placed the tack, and we all congregated outside of my door to watch the fun; the doors opened, and she was fuming, storming past us to the stairs, not even caring that she was unescorted. I don't think my description can possibly do the situation justice.

Other Parker pranks included the "face-paint" incident which helped bond Flunky and G'ovich. I was out of town that evening, so I'm a little blurry on the details, but it basically boiled down to the two of them going around the dorm and smearing facepaint on doorknobs, pool cues, etc. in order to get it all over the hands of unsuspecting dorm residents. I can still hear Flunky's whispered threats of "Facepaint! Facepaint!" echoing in my mind.

And then there were the fireworks.

You know those pull-string fireworks? The ones where you have to pull on a string on each side to make it go off? The kind that seem just perfectly crafted to attach to your roommate's bedroom door so that they pop whenever he opens it up? I think you see where I'm going with this.

One person you didn't want to prank was The Old Man, or at least, so his stories led us to believe. He regaled us with tales of a time while he was in the Coast Guard when a prank war broke out between him and a crewmate, a prank war which escalated into destruction of personal property. Whether the stories were true or just a way to discourage people from messing with him, I couldn't say, but they served that purpose pretty well.

I’ll close with a recounting of a one-time prank that happened when I was still rooming with Bubbles. One day I got up not long after I heard Bubbles head to class and opened the door to our room, only to find the doorway completely covered in a wall of cotton. My biggest question was not who had done it, but how the heck did Bubbles get out, since I was pretty sure it hadn't been him behind it. I later found out that the barrier had indeed been there when he first got up; he had taken it partway down to go shower but, being such a considerate roomie, he had put it back up when he left for class so that I wouldn't miss out on the experience. What a swell guy, huh?

Oh, and three guesses which oft-mentioned blog monkey was responsible in the first place.


Cap'n Cluck said...

How in the world did someone construct a wall of cotton? Was it made of cotton balls? Were they glued together? How did they not topple to the ground?

Have a Cluckity Cluck Cluck Day!

Cap'n Neurotic said...

It was basically a big wad of cotton which was stretched out, sort of like you might do if you were making faux cobwebs, and then taped to the doorframe.