Tag Archives: prank

My friends and I went to Atlantic City

My friends and I all went to Atlantic City a few weeks ago, and after dinner, we were hanging out at this one hotel, at night, they turn the whole pool area into this giant outdoor club. So it was pretty cool, it was early, but not too early, just early enough that there was still enough room to walk around, get a drink without having to elbow anybody out of the way.


Anyway, I planned this whole prank out way in advance. I told my buddy Steve, I said, “OK, so we’re going to throw Kenny in the pool. Cool?” And Steve’s always down for a dumb prank like that, always. In fact, I was doing everybody a favor by actually putting some thought into this. Because if things progressed naturally, Steve would have inevitably had one too many drinks, and he would have just gone for it, I’m telling you, somebody would have been thrown in that pool.

Which, don’t get me wrong, it’s a great joke, a classic. But you have to think about cell phones. Which sucks, because before cell phones, if there was a pool, it was just assumed that someone was getting knocked in. But everybody has an eight hundred dollar computer in their pocket now, it’s not cool. So I took Steve to the side and I said, “Great, so I want you to wait until Kenny is kind of close to the edge of the pool, and then I want you to kneel behind him and try to take his cell phone out of his pocket.”

“Well what if he catches me going for it?”

“Look, I’m going to distract him. I’m going to ask him to hold my drink or something, or I’ll be handing him a drink. So he won’t notice. And even if he does notice, he won’t have any hands to do anything about it. And if he makes a move, just yank it out, all right? Because that’s when I’m going to push him.”

And Steve loved it, he was like, “Ha! That’s awesome!”

But Steve didn’t know that this was only one layer to my plan. Because my real goal was to get Steve in that pool. Remember what I said before? About Steve always doing something stupid like that? Yeah, well I wanted to give him a taste of his own medicine. And so did Kenny. And Phil. Phil got pushed in last summer. It was a mess, he had his phone in his pocket. As soon as he got out, there was a big fight over who was buying him a new phone. And this is totally crazy, but Steve, that lucky bastard, he went on some sort of a gambling tear that night. Nobody knows exactly how he did it, but he made back the money, the eight hundred, enough to buy him a new phone.

But there was definitely a lot of bad blood, especially from Phil, so he was in on this too. His job was to, right after dinner, switch Steve’s phone with this old broken iPhone I had lying around the house. That way, when Steve wound up going in the pool, he’d pull this phone out, he wouldn’t know it wasn’t the phone from his pocket, and we could watch and laugh as he freaked out, we’d say stuff like, “Don’t worry about it man, just do what you did last year, go win yourself a new phone, you’ll be good.”

So it was all set up, Steve was kneeling behind Kenny, right by the edge of the pool, and that’s when Phil came out of nowhere and kicked Steve in, hard. Only, Steve had his hand in Kenny’s pocket, and, I don’t even know how he managed to hold on, but he did, and he pulled Kenny in with him.

“Shit,” I said to Phil, because that wasn’t part of the plan. “You switched the phones though, right?”

“Fuck no,” said Phil. He wasn’t smiling. “Seriously, let him win his own phone back this year. I fucking hate Steve.”

Yeah, this definitely wasn’t going according to plan. Then two security guards came out of nowhere.

“All right guys, everybody out.”

And that sucked too, because they didn’t kick us out last year. And now here we were, everybody stuck outside the club, none of the cabs would take us back to the hotel because Kenny and Steve were soaking wet.

Kenny pulled me aside and said, “Dude, give me Steve’s good phone. Let him take the broken one.”

“Man, Phil never made the switch.”

“What switch?” That was Steve, he heard everything because Kenny was talking way too loud.

More words were exchanged. Phil and Steve almost got into a fistfight. We got back to the hotel and Steve went straight to the casino to try and win back another phone. Phil was completely belligerent and disappeared, like we didn’t see him for the rest of the weekend. Meanwhile, Kenny just kind of stood there looking at me, “So what, I’m out of a phone?”

And yeah, I felt bad. This wasn’t at all how it was supposed to go down. But couldn’t we just win the money back? I mean, Steve did it last year, it’s not impossible, right?

“How much money do have on you?” I asked Kenny.

“I don’t know, like, two? Two fifty?”

“Perfect, me too. All right, so we’ll just double it, right away, five hundred on red at a roulette table. Come on that’s enough right? And with my old broken phone, that’s got to be, what, I don’t know, fifty bucks? What’s that web site that buys broken phones?”

“You think it’s worth fifty bucks?”

“Yeah, there’s a huge secondary market for parts overseas …”

I’ll fast-forward a little bit. We got the cash. We put it on red. And it landed on one of the two greens. So they didn’t take all of the money, but they took half. I told Kenny, “Do it again, there’s no way that happens twice.”

And no, it didn’t happen again, it landed on black this time.

“Black,” the roulette lady said.


“Sir, please refrain from cursing on the floor,” That was the pit boss.

I was like, “Are you guys kidding me? Why’d you all get so strict this year?”

And that was it. I told Kenny I’d give him some money, but I don’t have eight hundred bucks, and so I guess I’ll just give him like fifty bucks every week for a while, I don’t know, I don’t think it’s fair that I have to pay for the whole eight hundred, I mean, he was in on it too, and so was Phil. But nobody’s heard from Phil. Nobody’s really heard from anybody. That was like three weeks ago and nobody’s really talked at all, not except Kenny and me, and that’s strictly business, nothing but cell phone stuff. Man, I’m thinking the whole trip was a bust, I don’t know, I don’t really see how any of us moves forward from here. So that sucks, and even if we do wind up hanging out again, I definitely doubt anybody’s going to be down for AC again next year.

April Fools Day

Happy April Fools Day everybody. I got up this morning kind of on the later side. But it wasn’t like I woke up and said, “Shit, it’s eleven and I just woke up.” No, this was more of a, “Wow, I can’t believe it’s eight o’clock and I’m already awake,” kind of day, so I celebrated, I rolled over and grabbed my phone and started surfing the Internet. And then the next thing I knew, it was actually eleven. So I don’t really know how I feel about that, like is it better to willfully waste the better part of a morning? Or would I have been more OK had I just naturally overslept?


And when I finally got out of bed, I was at once crushed with all of the little things I’d have to do in order to kick my day up to the next level. I’d have to drink coffee, eat breakfast, take my dog out, put on a pair of pants, brush my teeth … and not even in that order, it was like, OK, I know all of this stuff shouldn’t take me too long, but all of these competing commands from my brain to me, I can’t untangle them all, why can’t they just present themselves to me in a linear fashion? “OK Rob, first, put on pants. Great job! Now, brush your teeth …”

I didn’t untangle the order of operations flawlessly, but I did manage to get pants on and go downstairs. That was something. I wasn’t in my bed anymore, I wasn’t still wearing pajamas. My instincts next led me to the kitchen. My normal routine involves me getting the coffee ready, pressing the “brew” button, and then taking my dog for a walk while the hot water drips into the pot. If I time everything just perfectly, and this doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it’s like I know that my day is totally set up for success. If the walk is just right, I’ll come back inside the house after letting my dog take care of his business, and the “beep, beep, beep,” of the Mr. Coffee machine will signify to me that, it was perfect timing, that I’m exactly in the right spot to enjoy the freshest cup of coffee.

Only, and this is another kind of kink in my programming here, but sometime around two weeks ago, my coffee machine stopped working. It was kind of acting up a few months ago, like the machine would clearly be on, and you could hear it really trying to suck up water to then pump down over the grinds, but it wasn’t happening. There must have been some sort of hole somewhere in the little tube that sucks up all the water.

So I did what I always do when my appliances start to malfunction: I opened it up and started poking at things aggressively, flicking this part, jabbing that spot with a knife. It worked. My coffee machine was better than ever. Until two weeks ago, that is. It was the same problem as before, only this time, when I gave that tube over there a yank, it snapped out, that little piece of broken plastic almost looked like a face, like it was smiling at me.

Whatever, it was a stupid coffee machine anyway, only like thirty bucks at Costco. I’ll just get a new one. Eventually. I keep forgetting to do it. Every day I wake up and my muscle memory leads me to the now lifeless piece of machinery still sitting on the counter, maybe I’ll even fill up the pot before I remember, oh wait, I need a new coffee machine, I’ll go today. Or tomorrow.

Luckily, my mom gave me this French press for Christmas. I busted it out after my machine broke, and it works. I have to like boil water though, and then wait for it to steep, and then I have to press this handle down, and then I have to clean it out afterward. So it’s a lot of steps involved, and I hate to think that my body might be adapting, like sometimes I go downstairs in the morning and my hands start to automatically get everything ready for this ten-step manual coffee making process. I get scared, because once I get too comfortable, all chances of me buying a new Mr. Coffee maker are out the window, because I’m a creature of comfort, of routine. Once I’m set in my ways, it takes an outside act to make me adjust accordingly.

The worst part is, this French press only makes two cups. And it’s such a long process, that I’m not going through it twice in one day. No way. So my caffeine levels for the past couple of weeks have been at an all time low. I’m getting less done. I feel less energized. I’m going to sleep earlier, which you might think would be a good thing, but once I fall asleep, I’m in there, it’s a deep sleep, I’ll sleep all the way until eleven. Or even like today, I got up early, probably because I was so under-caffeinated, and I couldn’t muster the energy to get out of bed.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at right now. It’s a little past lunch time, but I just ate three English muffins, so I’ll probably be OK until three, when I’ll get really hungry, and I’ll debate, should I eat something now? Or wait until dinner. I’ll decide to wait it out. Maybe I’ll go to the store and buy groceries, plan on making a big meal. But then like an hour before dinnertime I’ll cave, I’ll eat a whole bag of pretzels and half a block of cheese. And then I won’t really be super hungry for dinner, but I’ll eat it anyway, and I’ll just feel really, really full.

Happy April Fools Day.

Fear me

Fear me. I want everyone to tremble in my presence. Or even just at the idea of my presence, of being in my presence. And my presents, I want the very mention of my presents to instill a type of almost primeval terror in the souls of those unfortunate enough to receive a package in the mail with my address on the return label. “A present? For me?”


Fear me! Because just because my presents are wrapped up all shiny with a red bow, it makes them no less horrifying. They’re actually even more horrifying. Because there is no return address. That was all a lie, I want you to think there’s a return address. And the wrapping, you’ll get excited, “Oh, how nice!” and when you open it up, well, I shudder for anybody unlucky enough to be standing in the same room as you while you unwrap the box, your facial expression alone, the very embodiment of panic, it’ll be like second-hand fear, you, stone-cold scared, everyone looking at you, just slightly less scared, but still that’s really, really scared, much more afraid than they’ve ever been before.

Seriously, be scared of me. Like, you see me coming down the street, sure, I’m waving at you, maybe I’m smiling, maybe not, it doesn’t matter. Be alarmed. Don’t say I never warned you. “Oh, but Rob looks so nice, very friendly. What’s that, he’s extending his hand to me to say hello? Well I don’t see what could be so scary about …” BZZT! Trick handshake. It’s from one of those prank stores, the kind that give you a very mild shock when you touch the metal sensor. And sure, once in a while you’ll shake a little too hard, and I’ll get a little bit of that residual shock energy, but I can take it.

Don’t even think about high-fives. Don’t even think about going to the bathroom. One time when I was in college, my roommate Ben pulled a prank on me when I was taking a shower, the old filling-up-a-pitcher-full-of-ice-cold-water-and-dumping-it-on-your-roommate-when-he’s-taking-a-hot-shower trick.

Classic abrupt temperature change. Shocking? Yes. Infuriating? Oh my God, I’m seriously still pretty pissed off about it. But scary? Not very scary at all. Fear me. That’s all I could think about as I stood there in the stall simultaneously shivering and scalding myself with water that took about a minute and a half to change temperatures after I turned the shower knob.

Fear me. That’s all I could think about as I got up at four in the morning, not really certain when Ben had to get up for swimming practice. All I knew is that it was early, much earlier than I ever woke up. I’d always get out of bed in the morning and there he’d be, already like three quarters of the way done with his day, so much free time to sit around, planning his next prank, what would it be this time, almost-boiling water? Or water even colder than before? Like ice, like an unflavored Slurpee?

It was the most boring hour and a half of my life, me crouched in the shower, the bathroom door closed, the lights off. “Fear me,” I had to repeat to myself, over and over again, because I was actually getting a little spooked myself, sitting there in the damp, dark, I thought I heard something. I did hear something. It was Ben’s alarm clock.

The bedroom door opened. Ben walked into the bathroom and I waited just a heartbeat to make sure he didn’t see me right away, and then I pounced, “Fear me!” I screamed as I exploded out of the shower, “Ahhh!” Ben stumbled backward out of the bathroom and tripped on his computer desk.

If we’re at work, and you look over at me from way across the other side of the room, and you’re thinking to yourself, “Is Rob staring at me? That’s weird, I can’t tell if he’s staring at me or not.” I am staring at you. And it’s not weird. It’s frightening. Tell everyone how scared you were. Nobody’s going to want to get locked in my impenetrable gaze. That’s how it starts, with a simple look, and then your stuck, everything’s set in motion. You won’t know when, but …

Boo! Fear me!

Four extra-large sodas

And I was like, “Just try to stay out of my way, OK?” which, yeah, it sounded a lot cooler in my head, I was going for the whole, “I got this,” or at a more basic level, “Don’t worry, don’t have any doubts in me,” but it came out the way it came out, arrogant, dismissive. It was too late for an apology, it would have killed the momentum, totally destroyed whatever we’d already set up for ourselves, the mood, the false determination.


A week earlier, my friend Rich had showed me this video online of two guys ordering four extra-large sodas at a drive-thru, and right as the cashier handed them their drinks, the driver threw the oversized containers back through the window. All you heard was the scream, she must have gotten soaked, followed by the crazy laughter of the two guys in the car as it sped away.

I remember laughing so hard at that video, the insane kind of funny that, looking back now, I’d never laugh, I’d never let myself. It’s too mean. I’d feel automatically too bad for that woman, she probably hates her job, or maybe she doesn’t hate her job, maybe it’s just me, I hate my job and I assume everybody else hates their job also. Maybe she’s happy. But she’s working the window at the drive through, she gets out the XL cups, fills them all up.

And then what does her boss say? The manager hears the spill, he looks up and the window-girl is doused in soda, there’s a mess everywhere. Did the computer get wet? What about the register? Did the soda make it to the cash? It’s everywhere. She feels bad, like even though everyone says they believe her, she’s worried some of them might suspect she’s making it all up. Because seriously, who would do something like this? And why?

But back when I was seventeen, when I finally had a car, independence, those were things I wasn’t focusing on, the who, the why. My whole world was all of the sudden open and new, I got such a crazy thrill out of anything I hadn’t been exposed to before. And this act summed up everything that I wanted in life at that moment, the ability to look around at the most mundane of situations and still be thrown for a total loop, like nothing applies anymore, everything you thought you knew, forget it.

I think Rich might have suggested we try it out also, or maybe he didn’t directly suggest it, but he said something like, “We would never do something like that,” just something to say, but I took it as this personal challenge, I was like, “Well, I would do that,” not even thinking about how this was already escalating dangerously. “No way, you would never do that,” so now here I was, Rich had thrust all responsibility my way, now this was my joke, my prank, my wild act to either carry out or chicken out of.

So we went to Taco Bell. My euphoria had definitely dwindled down into something else, an anxiety, my heart was still racing but I could tell that there was a part of me I wasn’t willing to yet consciously acknowledge that told me this was a stupid idea. And again, I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to be thinking about anybody else besides myself. I was purely concerned with what if we get in trouble, what if my parents have to get involved?

And Rich, he was pretty nervous too, but it was a carefree worry, like settling in to watch a really scary movie. Sure, he’d be along for whatever ride this turned out to be, but at the end of the day, he could always shrug and be like, I don’t know why Rob threw those sodas. I had nothing to do with it.

I pulled up to the drive-thru, I ordered four extra large Baja Blast Mountain Dews, and as we turned the corner to the window, we both kind of giggled a little bit. It was happening. The sodas had been ordered. Maybe this would be easier than the mental struggle I was setting up for myself here. Maybe all I had to do was throw and drive, and then I could laugh and laugh and laugh.

But we pulled up, and it’s this big dude, he’s passing me the sodas, telling me how much they cost. I didn’t even look at Rich, I just took out a ten, gave it to the guy, took the change, and left. Rich started laughing, I guess I deserved it, I guess he had to make fun of me, I mean, I was the one behind the wheel.

And looking back, I have that whole justification, the putting myself in the other person’s shoes, the realization that people shouldn’t go around throwing sodas at each other. But I still cringe, I still get pissed, like why wasn’t I thinking? Why did I sit there and let Rich make fun of me for the rest of the night? Why didn’t he offer me even a dollar for one of those sodas? Man, I haven’t seen my old friend Rich in forever. I wonder what he’s up to right now.