I used to work in an office with some really fun people. It wasn’t unusual to joke around, and every once in a while that involved a prank.
One of the best pranks was inflicted on a coworker who was extremely tidy. I mean over-the-top- tidy. His desk was set up just so. Never anything out of place. Things lined up in straight angles. It was pretty amazing, looking back on it.
I don’t remember what precipitated this prank but he must have done something that incited such behavior. I mean we wouldn’t have done it with no provocation. Were my fingers crossed behind my back as I said that? Ummm, now that I’ve uncrossed my fingers, I’ll continue my tale.
It was decided that the prank would prey on his tidy behavior. We took everything off his desk and replaced it with a mirror image. Everything was placed exactly as he had it, to the exact millimeter and degree, only backward.
Then I got a marvelous idea. The mirror-image desk was not a prank big enough to pay him back for whatever imaginary slight he might have committed. Oh no, I had to go one step further.
First off, did you know that the circles of paper that come out of a paper punch are called chads? I didn’t either till I started to write this post. Then I remembered the hanging chads from the 2000 presidential election and I almost couldn’t go on. Now that the sadness subsided, I’ll resume my story. Back to the office…
I opened his file drawer and not surprisingly, there were his files. They were color-coded AND alphabetical. I still don’t know how he pulled that off. Anyhow, I went through his folders and liberally sprinkled chads into each. I emptied the entire paper punch and it was snowing paper. I made sure not a single piece was in sight when I was done.
The next morning, those of us who were part of this prank were lying in wait. He walked in, took one look at his desk and immediately blamed the usual suspects. He honed in on our boss. To be sure, she was not above such shenanigans, and she did give a great deal of input into this caper, but she had nothing to do with my paper punch scheme.
Once he got his computer moved back, and the rest of his desk in order, he sat down to begin his day. He reached into his file drawer. He opened a file and a cloud of chads wafted down to his desk, his lap, and the floor surrounding him.
There were curses. Then he bellowed “Who did this!!!!?” I looked at him calmly and said: “I did.” He didn’t believe me. It didn’t matter how adamant I was, he was sure I didn’t do it. It had to be one of the “troublemakers.” I was not one of the usual jokesters, so I was above suspicion.
He found more and more chads over the course of the next few days. Finally, it was too much. He couldn’t take it anymore. Wondering if this folder, or that one, would have a terrible papery surprise started to take its toll. It sent him over the edge. Finally, in a fit of desperation, he took out every single file folder and removed the contents. He went through every piece of paper because the chads were between the sheets. He totally deconstructed his files. It was at that point that I knew I was capable of true evil.
Evil I might be, but to this very day, I am sure he is convinced that our boss chadded his files.