As the school year passes the midway mark and routines weigh on the average student, a noteworthy phenomenon has appeared once again: pranking. From the living room of Anderson to the halls of Rackham, the effects of such activities have resonated throughout the Principia community.
“I think pranks are a good way to laugh and make people a little bit lighter,” said junior Igor Souza, the Lowrey House president. However, he said, “pranking is supposed to be funny and something that is supposed to be witty in a way. It’s not supposed to be harmful.” With clear opportunities for pranks in the future, it is important to understand where the line is drawn between hilarious and harmful.
Lowrey resident counselor Paul Needham mentioned that the Blue Pages spell out how pranks should be done. It’s “basically an explanation of having fun but not at anyone else’s expense,” he said. “Most of the problem is something getting damaged so then the house or the person has to pay for it.” Additionally, pranks that involve bullying or harassment are not allowed.
However, even if pranks are hilarious and by the book, some say it is still valuable to consider the community interest as a whole. For Needham, it goes back to how the prank is done and how often pranks are done. “I think it can be something that’s fun, but if you are known as a campus where there’s a lot of pranking going on, I think it has some pejorative sense to it.” Souza said that pranks can be negative when they escalate to the point that prank wars or disputes are started. So what makes a “good” prank, then?
Needham gave an example of when Lowrey entered the Cardboard Canoe Regatta with a boat that was not constructed according to regulation. The alleged pranksters rowed to a mid-river island instead of the intended destination, causing amusement to some. “That is a perfect prank. You’re pranking the activity but not hurting anybody,” Needham said. It seems that wittiness and creativity, along with a little bit of thought for others, makes for a good prank. Souza explained it in a somewhat similar way saying “a good prank is funny for both sides.”
Once again, the idea of thoughtfulness seems to be one of the major components in an effective and socially-acceptable prank. Needham said, “I think pranks can be fun, but they can also be destructive, so it really requires a person that’s really going to think about all the ways that the prank can be seen.”