Frequent readers of [email protected] know that I am a great fan of laughter. When something laugh-worthy happens at work, enjoy it – especially if you are the one being laughed at that day. (My colleagues once enjoyed weeks of good times reminiscing about the graceful way I managed to drop a box of documents in a busy intersection while on the way to court on a very windy day and had to retrieve said documents as buses and taxis were honking at me). If laughter does not spontaneously erupt, someone needs to generate the necessary humor once in a while if only for the sake of endorphins and other healthy chemicals. There are a few key requirements to avoid getting fired, however, so be sure to read (or re-read) Evil Skippy’s 10 Commandments of Workplace Pranks before proceeding.
For your reading pleasure and with absolutely no recommendation or encouragement that you follow my lead (and any future lawyers who try to argue otherwise and that I am somehow responsible for your shenanigans are showboating buffoons) – here are five stunts that I have pulled to get laughs at work:
- The Halloween Prank. Our supervisor – who we adored – tended to be overly perky. She was the person who ran every pep rally in high school. You know who I mean. A few weeks before Halloween, she suggested that we all dress up and then also have a party after work. We agreed – but then I talked everyone else into not wearing costumes on the morning of the appointed day. We brought our costumes and changed later in the day – but only after the boss worked all morning as a very wicked and very green witch. We pretended the whole time not to realize she was in a costume and when she asked about our costumes, we each said that we had forgotten to wear one “too”.
- The Wedding Prank. When I worked for the Seattle City Attorney’s office, my boss and her boss (the City Attorney) were getting married on the same day – to different people. When my boss was away for lunch the week before the big event, I had a good friend call and leave the following voice-mail message for her: “This is Melinda DuPont with the Seattle Times. We heard the wonderful news about your pending nuptials to the City Attorney. May we have a quote from you about any concerns you have about working for your future husband? We are running a story today and I need your comment by the 12:30 deadline if we are going to include it in the story. I hope you and your fiancé like the publicity!” Of course, I arranged it so my boss would not hear the message until after the deadline had passed. The payoff came when I heard my boss shriek, then saw her run to the City Attorney’s office and drag his executive assistant back to hear the message while muttering, “What are we going to do? What are we going to do?”
- The No Bathroom Joke: When I worked for a famous California amusement park that does not involve mouse ears but is located less than ten miles from said Happiest Place on Earth, the one question I was asked more than any other was, “Where are the restrooms?” This was true even when I was stationed within plain sight of the restroom entrance. One hot summer day when everyone was a little cranky, yet another harried person asked me the usual question. I responded, “I am so sorry. Disney bought all the restrooms. You’ll need to head down Ball Road and stop when you see the Matterhorn.” (I got a reprimand for that one – but it was worth it.)
- The Restaurant Check Stunt. As a new attorney with a private law firm, I worked with another new attorney who was an expert at getting the rest of us to pay for his lunch. His litany included the “Forgotten Wallet” Dilemma, the “I Need To Get Back For A Meeting” Emergency (employed just before the check arrived) and the ever-popular “Can Someone Cover Me Until Payday?” Ruse. One afternoon, we went to a restaurant where I knew the manager quite well. (He was more excited about our evil plan than we were). We enjoyed a great lunch, all five of us, and then four of us snuck out before the freeloader could sneak out first. (I made sure in advance that my buddy did not have his wallet – never mind how). The manager dropped off the check, listened to my colleague’s excuses and then made him do dishes.
- The Dying Client Scam. While in college, I worked at an office where one of the managers often snuck her tiny Yorkshire Terrier (named Toto, of course) to work with her. The big bosses never figured it out and, truth be told, it was fun hiding the dog. One day, a client visited the office, had a fainting spell and was taken away by paramedics. I called to check up on her and found out that she had gone home with a clean bill of health after being examined at the emergency room. (This was long before HIPAA. Today, I would be lucky to be told by the hospital that a person of the same name might possibly exist.) I then told Toto’s owner that the woman had suffered a severe reaction due to a dog allergy and the big bosses were trying to find out how there could have been dog hair in the office so they could answer her attorneys’ questions.
Now it’s time for you all to confess – tell me about your best stunts and pranks at work.
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