How To Pull Off A Practical Joke

August 18, 2010

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Around the office, I’m know as a guy who generally has a smile on his face, but am not widely regarded as a practical joker.  This made the setup for this practical joke even better.  I have been a remote worker for several years, with most of my team at another location out of state (where I previously worked).  This out-of-sight, out-of-mind aspect also aided in my escapade.

The whole thing started when I heard about a co-worker get a bit agitated when someone accused him of being a graduate of the University of Colorado.  He is actually a proud graduate of Colorado STATE University.  This is a completely separate – and in his eyes, superior – institution of higher learning.

Shortly after Christmas one year, I spotted a University of Colorado window sticker on sale for 99 cents.  I sent it to an accomplice that placed it on his desk.  Shortly afterward, I bought a small toy buffalo and had the accomplice place this on the victim’s desk when he was away.  Ralphie the Buffalo is the mascot for the University of Colorado (which, again, is NOT this person’s alma mater).

At this point, I had the idea the next phase of the practical joke.  I would have Ralphie the Buffalo’s girlfriends send him notes from all around the country.

I asked a friend of mine in Colorado to pick up some buffalo themed postcards.  She wasn’t able to find any, but provided something even better – she took some nice photos at a buffalo ranch.  She also wrangled up some card stock which allowed me to insert photos and create an instant buffalo-themed greeting card.  At this point, I’ll admit to a bit of deception.  I needed to tread lightly in case she was also a CSU grad (and thus might not be very amused by this) and was vague about the reason why I needed buffalo post cards.

Once I had the cards in hand, I needed to line up writers.  I lined up a few women in the office in order to give the writing a nice feminine look (my own handwriting is nearly illegible).  Many loving notes were written to Ralphie.  Cards that featured photos of baby buffalo made mention of children missing their daddy.  Other photos were included for comic relief – such as ones with photos that included large mounds of buffalo poop.

So now I had the stockpile of cards.  I couldn’t simply send them from the post office.  The postmark would point the finger at me.  I happened to be in a simulation baseball league (the best league ever) with 32 people spread out across the US and Canada.  I enlisted the aid of many of these individuals.  Some of them were even kind enough to take drop off cards while they were on overseas trips.  I engaged the service of a few other friends in remote locations as well.  Over the span of several months, the cards slowly drifted in, with nothing to point back to me as the culprit.

Finally, at long last, I admitted that I was responsible for this lengthy, well-coordinated prank 🙂  If my memory is correct, this would have been about 15 months after the start of the activities.  Suffice it to say that patience was a key skill in pulling this off.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Evan @ 40Tech
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 10:59:30

    So, did you get to hear how he reacted throughout the prank? And what happened when you fessed up?


  2. Anonymous
    Aug 19, 2010 @ 07:45:25

    That’s what I’m wondering too! How did he react to it?


  3. kosmo
    Aug 19, 2010 @ 08:23:38

    Alas, it was pretty anti-climactic. Basically just a “Oh, it was YOU.” The real fun was having him accuse others (including the initial accomplice, who DOES have a reputation for this sort of stuff).


  4. Ching Ya
    Aug 19, 2010 @ 08:30:36

    Wow, that’s some work! I admire your patience and determination. 🙂 I bet he’ll be listing you in the major suspects in case anything similar came through, but I doubt there’ll be anyone else who can pull it off well like you.

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