People have long loved the watching the debauchery that comes along with April the first since the time of the Romans. I used to be one of those individuals who loved pranking people — getting a rise out of someone was a favorite activity and boy, could I do a lot of damage in one April Fool’s Day! There are many theories as to the hypothetical origins of this day, going as far back in history as the ancient Roman festival of “Hilaria” to the medieval “Feast of Fools”, to the possible effect of calendrical changes in Europe — the idea is clearly not a new one.
When I worked in banking, the pranks were daily and everyone was in on it—management included! Cell phones were hidden in the strangest of places (on top of a bandit barrier, anyone?), computer mice were disabled due to tape over the laser tracker, computer screens flipped directions and random items appeared and disappeared like no one’s business. It was all fun and games until it got in the way of doing our job, which for us, did happen upon occasion. Luckily, our clientele base was mainly regulars who appreciated seeing us having fun, but begs the question, what do we get out of pranking people?
At its core, pranking people is really about the set up and the surprise of the act, but why should it have to be in malice? I learned this lesson with the last prank that I pulled. It started with me trolling the internet, looking for simple, yet effective ways to initiate some shenanigans at the expense of my boss. She was gone for an extended time (which also happened to be over April Fools), so I had plenty of time to explore options, acquire accomplices and plan high jinks accordingly. I had already done or had seen most of the pranks I found in my search, so after contemplation and plotting, my cronies and I came up with a master plan.
She was one of those bosses that everyone admired and respected fiercely, but secretly feared for her greatness. Yet with her extended time away, it started to seem more about taking the time to plan something beautiful and meticulous to show her that we missed her presence in the office than making her upset. The weekend before she was set to return, we went to the office to engulf her desk in wrapping paper so she would have some “presents” to unwrap when she got there. Walls, desk, computer monitors, cabinets, phone, you name it, we covered it in wrapping paper!
Not just any wrapping paper though, silver holographic glitter wrapping paper as sparkly as a unicorn in Christmas lights. We spent the following few days recruiting friends and coworkers to come over and sign the paper, a graffiti tribute to her and a way to show off our cleverness to our friends. Her bosses and their superiors were in on it too, apprehensive of what her response may be, but I assured them I would take full responsibility for the situation if it went askew.
The day she was set to come back in, we placed a few finishing touches on the desk—a bouquet of flowers and obscene amounts of glitter. The glitter was so it would spread the joy when she took off the wrapping paper and the flowers were so that she wouldn’t be mad that she was about to be covered in the aforementioned glitter. After all of the offices involvement, everyone was fairly invested in catching her initial reaction to what we we considered “destroying her desk”. I had gotten word that she was making her way over, accompanied by her boss, so I darted across the aisle and hid in a friend's cubicle that was adjacent to hers so I could capture her reaction—whatever it was about to be.
Confused and surprised, she walked up to her desk, within seconds overwhelmed and full of emotion, barely able to speak. Amidst the mutterings of “oh my gosh” and the choked back tears she says, “I really love work… you guys are awesome”. And it hit me, she wasn’t upset that I had pranked her, she was grateful that we took the time to acknowledge that we missed her. A prank that ended in happy tears and grateful hugs? That was the day I realized that my pranks were over, fun as they were, I could go through the same mischievous process and come up with a much more valuable surprise at the end.
She unwrapped what she needed to, the glitter stuck around the industrial carpet for months afterward, sometimes reappearing out of vases and planters, winding up in the keyboard, bringing fits of giggles for months on end, but the paper stayed. The paper was on for more than eight months, kept as a tribute and to remind us how much she loved it. She finally took down the paper after I had left the company, knowing that it was long overdue and time for a change. It was the longest and most successful prank I ever pulled and possibly the most beneficial.
This April Fools Day, I will not be pulling any pranks, or indulging in any shenanigans external to my usual ones. Its appalling to look at social media, specifically today with the deluge of fabrications and things that people find humorous at other peoples expense, almost foolish. I’m not going to act like a fool today, are you?
Love and Light,
xo Arielle Sterling
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Arielle is a best-selling author, holistic life coach and intuitive energy healer.