Why do I dislike pranks? I’m sure that as the fifth of six children in my family, I endured plenty of common pranks growing up.
The only one I remember is when my sister wrapped up coal and gave it to me as a Christmas present.
Yeah, I cried.
But no prank made me cry like that until one pulled on me in third grade. That one hurt.
I had been called up to the blackboard to solve a problem, and was feeling good that the teacher praised me for answering correctly.
I quickly sat but suddenly felt a sharp pinch where my butt met the seat.
I jumped up and twisted to see what caused the pain. A thumbtack hung from my pants. I probably was more confused and surprised than hurt from the thumbtack. What hurt worse was the immediate loud laughter of the boy behind me who planted the thumbtack, joined immediately by a chorus of laughter from what seemed to be every other kid in the classroom.
I felt my cheeks flush and I walked quickly from the classroom as the laughter continued. Somehow I held it together long enough to exit the class, but the tears flooded out before the classroom door shut behind me. I cried loudly as I walked down the hallway, not having a destination, just needing to put distance between me and that situation.
The teacher found me shortly afterward and comforted me. She convinced me to come back into the classroom and made the offender apologize in front of the class. I remember his half-serious, half-smirking face. It seemed like he was only sorry about being disciplined, not for hurting me.
That’s what I see a lot in people who pull pranks. They like the feeling of control, of making themselves feel better about themselves by dragging someone else down. They try to cover up any guilt or consequences by saying things like:
– “Come on, I was only kidding.”
– “Can’t you take a joke?”
– “What a baby!”
– “That didn’t hurt!”
– “You’d better not tell!”
I’ve developed a zero tolerance policy about pranks. I react strongly when someone tries to pull one on me, and make it as unpleasant for them as I can. That makes the “prankster” and anyone watching uncomfortable—which is exactly what I want.
What is the “big deal” about a prank? I hope this series of posts helps you to better understand.