Mark Frauenfelder at 4:19 pm Thu, Mar 14, 2013
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You know those assholes who wake up their friends in painful and startling ways? They are coming to your office.
Air horn office chair prank
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder.
Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.
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The technology that links taxonomy and Star Trek
So why give these ‘assholes’ the publicity? Unless we find it amusing for exactly the same reasons the adolescent perpetrators do.
I want to you to think of at least 3 other possible reasons before I give you my answer. If they are trite or sarcastic, they don’t count.
Can I play?
Is it because it’s enjoyable to imagine the response to a simple, startling yet harmless prank even without actually executing said prank?
That’s kinda like the archetypal “.. well if you don’t know what you’ve done wrong then I’m not going to tell you ..” ploy.
The linked video didn’t show the part of the prank where the prankster gets fired.
or has his head kicked in by the victim
Over a noise? I have PTSD, and even I’m not that twitchy.
A little extreme, I agree. But it could be the last straw…
I think taking the perp outside and blasting him with the airhorn would be more appropriate.
Personally, if some jerk did that to me, I would probably destroy his little toy, and then after I calmed down, report him to HR.
If I was a manager, I wouldn’t wait. He’d be fired on the spot. Shit like that is beyond inappropriate for a professional environment. This is closer to bullying than funny.
And Mark – can’t think of one good reason for posting it, let alone three.
Some years ago I had a job where I had occasion to deal with what was considered a “terrorist” ; bomb threats, fiber optic cable cuts, building damage. Turned out to be an ex-employee, the first significant entry on his employment file was being the victim of a similar prank (car horn under his workbench). No appropriate action taken at the time. There were other factors and further instances of abuse from his fellow employees. A firm response from HR would have saved money for the company and perhaps prevented a criminal record for the individual.
I enjoyed your story. You should write more short fiction.
Fair enough, it’s the internet and all, citation needed, etc. The individual in question had a mental illness ( the “other factors” above ) and I am not about to provide names or other details. As others have pointed out, ( see remark from “audiotherapist”, below ) there may be unintended consequences from pranks of this nature; anyone contemplating this prank should be aware of them. I certainly did not intend to be critical here. I always enjoy BB and your posts in particular, but forewarned is forearmed.
I agree with you: “forewarned is forearmed.” And that’s basically why I posted this. I also enjoy posting about con artists, scammers, and mischief makers because they are out there, and it is not only interesting to see that they are up to, but it’s also good to be aware of them and their sneaky tricks.
You sure showed them.
I did it so you could show us your Internet tough guy persona. Pretty good!
What about the part where the prankster says, “Dude! Relax. We were only having some fun… Really? Dude… Dude! Dude!”
A can of compressed air would be funnier, because the air horn is an obvious prank whereas the air hiss would be confusing.
Ah, for the innocent bygone days of the humble Whoopee Cushion…
Looks like Mark found yet another benefit of standing desks!
Good thing I never have, and never will work anywhere near an office. The sheer drudgery would push me to the brink of psychopathy, this sort of shit would likely push me right into the arms of disgruntled postal work syndrome.
I read and comment on BB in the office. I also spearhead many of the pranks here.
Here are a few of my pranks:
1) Papercraft someone’s desk and hide the real items (including printed WinXP ‘sign in’ screen)
2) Print stereotypically French things (Camembert, escargot, red wine, frogs legs) on A4 sheets and hide the printouts through a French colleague’s binders and books in the hope that during a meeting he open the book and a picture of cheese drops out.
3) Make it appear that you’ve used a picture of your friend while out drinking as a backdrop for a marketing email that has been sent out to hundreds of thousands of people.
The office can be bad, but it can also be pretty OK. I’ve just returned to my desk after drinking 1140mL of tasty beer at the pub across the road. Ahh, Fridays.
Papercraft Desk: http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/8875/papercraftdesk.jpg
Nice. The litmus test for a good prank is whether the victim would laugh at it — maybe not immediately, but not too far off in the future.
Um, yeah, er, wait, no. I’d fire you on the spot for the whole ‘taking the piss out of someone’s nationality’ thing. The others, fine, as is beer at lunch.
Thank fuck I don’t work for someone who considers pictures of cheese offensive.
Delicate over-PC people drive me nuts. Please tell me how printing pictures of things from France is “taking the piss out of someone’s nationality”. The humour is in the concept that he is so patriotic that he carries pictures of French things around. That is not in any way an affront to France or the French.
Thankfully his senses of humour and reason were more robust than yours.
As long as there wasn’t a picture of Jerry Lewis…
I recommend the work of David Thorne:
Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve owned his book since it came out :)
Which one? He’s published two :)
Holy crap I’m glad a don’t work with some of the commenters here. I once moved the car of a colleague to another car space as a lesson to not leave her car unlocked with the keys in it. She was angry, but saw the humour in it.
Was the space to which you moved it in Malaysia, by any chance?
I wonder if he told the judge, “Your honor, I was just funnin’.”
Or maybe “He once put an air horn under my chair!”
In my pizza delivery days, I heard about a widely-disliked assistant manager who pissed off the doughmaster once too often. When the meanie wasn’t looking, the doughmaster sneaked out to the parking lot with a trash can filled with freshly-mixed thick-crust pizza dough, and dumped it onto the meanie’s car seats. By the end of that hot day, the dough had risen to fill the entire interior of the car, and the yeast made it smell like stale beer.
But the doughmaster had the good sense to quit before the end of the day.
You know, pouring full fat milk on the carpet and upholstery will make a car stink for years.
Yecchh. I have no doubt.
It’s much easier than breaking into the car, removing the door panel and putting a dead fish behind it.
Sorry but this is really, really dumb. Look up acoustic shock syndrome – the symptoms are pretty far from funny and I wouldn’t want to be the office drone attempting to explain his actions in a court of law.
This could make the butt of the joke too ill to work and permanently damage their hearing and/or auditory processing.
Hate to be a kill joy but as I said…
This is dumb
‘Acoustic shock’ is a term used in connection with incidents involving exposure to short duration, high frequency, high intensity sounds through a telephone headset.
I don’t see the telephone headset anywhere, do you?
Boing Boing commenters can be so uptight.
I wounder if these guys got fired?
Only if their boss didn’t have the slightest bit of a sense of humor.
I have played pranks on my boss before but probably wouldn’t do that. I would do it to a coworker I’m good friends with though.
With respect it’s not being uptight to warn of genuine harm. I have treated people who were the victim of airhorn and other acoustic ‘pranks’ and the effects can be lasting and devastating. It would seem rather juvenile to wish to defend the risk of harm for a momentary giggle IMHO