I’m a big fan of office pranks, especially when you don’t realize you’re pulling them or when they arise from a beautiful moment of improvisation. My workplace is not exactly an environment that fosters carefree behaviors but I try to fit them in where I can. There was, of course, the weird human cutout in an old building that I dressed up, wired to a door, then totally forgot until the Mail Guy almost had a heart attack.
Then there was the small black crow that a group of us would move around the building in an attempt to frighten each other. I’m still not sure who all was participating but one day I came in and there was a pipecleaner around its neck like a noose. The next day, it was gone.
Last Thursday I realized it was about to be my coworker Mandi’s birthday and I hadn’t planned anything. I enlisted the help of A, and we began brainstorming ways to honor her life and make her feel immensely special on her blessed day. I’d already done the whole balloons-in-the-office thing, so I knew I had to up my game.
Mandi is a huge fan of Game of Thrones and has read every book multiple times. She also allowed me to unethically use her HBOGo account to stream it on my laptop every week. What better way to celebrate her existence than to transform her office into a Game of Thrones dungeon? A and I were fully invested in this project and immdiately left for the Dollar Store, where we dropped a staggering $17 each to make Mandi’s dreams come true. I felt pretty confident that between the kids toys and the pirate stuff, there’d be plenty of relevant props. We were sorely disappointed but rose to the challenge with such genius ideas as Construction Paper + Yellow Cellophane + Battery Tea Light = a wall torch.
I couldn’t find a single dragon in the entire place, but I did find a horse. Horses are totally Game of Thronesy. As are plastic goblets.
We arrived back at work with our sacks full of treasure and waited for her to leave. At 5PM, we struck—only to discover someone had already beat us to it and covered her floor with pink balloons. Pink balloons are not the least bit Game of Thronesy. We briefly considered popping every single one of them but realized this was a terrible idea by virtue of the fact that popping balloons is terrifying. We could only hope that draping the walls in black tablecloths would be enough to overpower them.
I’d forgotten how messy her office was, which made it increasingly difficult to establish any sort of impact with our clever props. I’d bought two sets of army men to stage a battle scene but there wasn’t a single open surface for them. A improvised.
Everything else ended up being layered on top of her paperwork and lotion bottles and the more work we put into it, the more we realized we were failing at our original vision. The attempt to make her feel honored on her birthday was swiftly turning into an incredibly cruel prank that involved trashing her office and scattering random junk everywhere.
After several hours of intense labor, we were ready to leave it for the next morning. We carefully backed out the door to avoid setting any balloons free, and were stopped by one of her staff who seemed puzzled that we were going to so much trouble.
“She took tomorrow off, she won’t even be here.”
She’d failed to mention these nefarious plans, and I couldn’t help feeling hurt and abandoned. Didn’t she realize that her birthday was all about me getting to justify a 90 minute lunch and misuse of office supplies? I no longer felt bad for the sad state of her office, I felt rather proud of all the damage we’d done. I even went back and added a sign to express my true feelings:
Monday morning, Mandi will walk into her office expecting the usual mess and routine and will be greeted by a scene too horrifying to imagine. It honestly doesn’t get any more Game of Thronesy than that.
Do you pull pranks at your workplace? What best-laid plan of YOURS went awry? Are you obsessed with any TV shows?
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