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Wasatch Savage: April Fools and pranking rules

It’s April 1. You wake up to your usual alarm, then check your cell phone, only to realize your roommate has set your alarm clock back an hour, so your phone reminds you that you’re actually an hour late. In a confused frenzy, you leap from bed and head for the bathroom. Unaware of the day’s humored lining, your feet hit the bathroom tile and instantly lose a battle with gravity. Now on the bathroom tile, morning body battered, you notice your roommate has also buttered the bathroom tile, enabling gravity to introduce you to the ground. Classic.

Throughout the day, depending upon the tenacity of your roommate’s will to trick, you might encounter cream cheese instead of deodorant or Oreos filled with toothpaste. Though a pranking war is a terribly fun cure for boredom, there is a certain etiquette that must be followed to ensure a prank is good, funny and safe.

1. The prank must be funny. This seems obvious, but there’s a huge difference between pulling a prank and just causing mischief. If you can laugh at it now and they can look back and laugh at it in the future, you should be all right.

2. The prank must not cause serious harm or damage. The aftereffects of the prank should be short; a prank must not have long-lasting negative effects, and it should be fixable.

3. The person fixing or cleaning up the prank should be the prankster. For example, the bucket of water perched atop a door is a classic for a reason, but it’s going to leave a lot of something to be cleaned up. By setting the prank, you accept the responsibility of taking care of the cleanup or fixing.

4. The best pranks are original. Constantly repeating a prank turns said prank into a sad old mule — it may get the job done, but it can only be used so much.

5. Absolutely no pranks during midterms or finals week. Pranking your friends or roommates could be a blast, and what else is college for if not making great memories? Well, it’s also for that degree. Pranks should never come in the way of making it to a big exam or prepping for a presentation. Timing plays a large part in pranking. Do it right.

6. Never get into an actual fight over a prank. If your prank war becomes something neither you or the other prankster can laugh about anymore, that’s a pretty good sign you should give it a rest for a while. Anticipate the reaction you’re going to get from a prank. If you imagine the person you pranked is actually going to try to choke you out after your prank, don’t do it. No matter how funny you think the actual prank is going to be, it must be executed at the right time on the right person.

Go forth, Wildcats. Prank away. But remember, keep it safe, keep it funny and keep it original. You’ll be thanking your rival prankster in 20 years when you’ve got some painfully funny stories to share from your time in college.

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