The Collegian
Friday, February 03, 2023

April Fool's Day

What is one of the greatest, and most overlooked, aspects of college life? Pranks. College was made for pranks. The whole design of college simply encourages students to callously pull antics on each other. Forced to live in closer proximity to other humans than most of us have before, we spend weeks, months and years creating some of the closest relationships of our lives. What make these relationships so special are the unbreakable lines of trust. But, college also provides us with a fair amount of free time. This leads to only one plausible outcome, breaking these lines of trust. We are further reminded of this around this time of year with the occurrence of one of the greatest holidays known to man: April Fool's Day.

Pranks come in all shapes and sizes. For starters, you have the common ones, such as super gluing a book bag to the ground, plastic wrap over the toilet, replacing someone's beer with non-alcoholic beer, etc. If you decide you want to start pulling mischievous acts on people around you, these are a great place to start. Just because they are generic and non-innovative does not mean they aren't hilarious. The reason they are so popular is that they effectively get the job done.

The key to a good prank is to violate your victim's personal space. We all have boundaries and spaces that are off-limits to others. It is on the other side of these boundaries that the really great pranks take place. For example, suppose your unsuspecting victim has a photo of a deceased grandfather. Photoshop or tape a picture of Mr. Feeny ("Boy Meets World" anyone?) over his/her cherished grandfather and see how long it takes him/her to notice.

Perhaps your victim is quite the academic one. Set up an e-mail address in the name of his/her respective dean and send your victim a message that he/she has been caught cheating and has been formally expelled from the university. Upon receiving the email, tears of confusion and sorrow will most likely make an appearance. Although their distressed state may make you feel guilty, fear not. Just be patient. Divulge nothing. By your 25th reunion, these tears of grief and anger will most certainly turn to tears of laughter. If I have learned anything in pranking, it is that people generally see the original hilarity of the act in retrospect. Indeed, I am still waiting for a few of my previous victims/ex-friends to thank me.

Always remember, the bigger and more elaborate the prank, the better. Don't shy away from spending $25 to $30 on enough plastic cups to cover your victim's floor. Imagine the surprise he/she will express upon finding these cups filled to the top with water. For even more fun, staple the cups together making it impossible to empty them individually. If you decide to pull a prank similar to this, just remember timing is everything. Wait until the most opportune time (or inopportune time), such as when the victim's boyfriend/girlfriend is visiting or when they have to wake up for that 8:15 a.m. exam.

For me, pranks are not about revenge. They are about opportunity--an opportunity to enliven everyone's day around you, as well as your own. As the semester winds down, we are all met with the endless bombardment of research papers and exams that bring unhealthy amounts of stress and monotony. Without something to bring us back to reality, we will inevitably go crazy. Therefore, I plead to you, fellow students of Richmond: Save someone's sanity and pull a prank today.

Contact columnist Alex Smith at

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