“It’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for.”
A guy I used to work with right after I graduated from college once said this about me:
She’s the type who sits there looking sweet and innocent, but she’s thinking,
“I could trip him as he walks by and no one would ever know it was me.”
That’s weird, because I never was into pulling pranks on people until college.
It’s also untrue. I would never physically harm an unsuspecting person for the fun of it.
But would I prank one to make a point? Oh yes, I would … which brings us to college and my first true April Fool’s Day prank.
I was friends with Eric, an overly dramatic theater grad student. (OK, I also might have had a desperate crush on him at one point.) He had moved into a new apartment and had a hassle getting his landline hooked up. Back then most people didn’t have cellphones, so it was a big deal. Once he finally got a working phone, he told me he’d bought an old answering machine at a yard sale rather than get voicemail.
“Why would I bother? It’s a waste of my limited resources,” he said in typical, over-the-top style. “The only person who ever calls me to leave messages is my mother, so even the machine is really a waste of money.”
When I pointed out that I called him, he said I didn’t count. OUCH.
A few days later, I got this idea : If Eric wanted callers and messages other than me and his mom, I could arrange that. They just wouldn’t be for him.
Thus was born the prank that became known as “Operation: Call Tim.”
The fictional Tim created for prank purposes was a frat boy majoring in political science and headed to law school to follow in his attorney dad’s footsteps. He was a strapping 6’2” with the body of a swimmer, soulful brown eyes, a silver tongue and a very, very, very healthy libido. Problem was, manwhore Tim was still handing out his old phone number by mistake – and it was Eric’s new number.
The plan was to leave a snowballing amount of messages on Eric’s machine over the week before April Fool’s Day. I knew Eric’s schedule and when he wouldn’t be home to get calls. All I needed were a few people willing to Call Tim.
“A few” ended up closer to a dozen. I didn’t tell them what to say, just to keep the messages short and the content below a threshold Eric might feel cops should know about.
After about two days of messages, I called Eric “just to say hi.” When I asked what was new, he told me about getting random calls for “some horndog guy” who used to have his phone number. I could hear a mix of interest and irritation in his voice. Perfect.
Now it was time to see just how much borrowed drama he could handle. I gave the Call Tim crew the go-ahead to crank it up to 11.
Eric wasn’t my only friend with a flair for the dramatic. The callers who kept his answering machine humming all week were ad libbing like master thespians.
There were sultry booty calls: If you’re interested in studying anatomy, I’ll be home alone all night.
And tearful cast-offs: You said we had something special, but I haven’t seen you in weeks!
And bitter conquests: I just found out you did my roommate after I passed out, you [expletive deleted]!
There was even an angry frat bro: Dude, you slept with my girl – then borrowed 20 bucks from me?!
After the deluge of drama, by the time I called on March 31, Eric didn’t even expect calls to be for him. “I’m so glad it’s you!” he said, then proceeded to tell me about all the crazy messages.
Now, there’s another thing the guy I worked with was wrong about. I may be quiet , but I would never leave a prank anonymous.That would be like leaving a masterpiece unsigned.
On April 1, the callers all left “Happy April Fool’s Day!” messages for Eric. The last one was from me “now that I counted.” That night, he called me laughing and told me, “Well played.”
I’ve masterminded other pranks, but that one is my most satisfying … so far.
What’s your favorite April Fool’s Day joke or prank?