By Sarah Einselen
It’s April 1. Do you know where your pranksters are?
The annual day of tomfoolery is again upon us. The sophomore class is planning to release a number of wild animals into the freshman girls’ dorms, including several catamounts, mountain lions and pumas catnapped from the Columbus Zoological Gardens. Anonymous members of the MVNU honors program have been plotting to wear long-sleeved turtleneck shirts emblazoned with the letters “NNA” as well.
What have we come to?
It’s a day for the class clowns. They swagger into chapel, bringing with them a rash of inopportune jokes, immature pranks and insufferable antics. No classmate is safe from their rampant disregard for sobriety and monotony. In the spirit of community, we even cheer them on.
But it’s hardly praiseworthy to celebrate the holiday—in fact, the tradition should be abolished, starting here and now.
No matter the prank—whether it be filling the Quad with all the socks that the campus clothes dryers have eaten, or putting your friends on notice that you will be moving to Tibet to live with the Dalai Lama—every act of knavery garners universal looks of consternation.
Your friends begin to worry about your psychological state. Your enemies gleefully dance a polka over your impending mental breakdown. And your mother shrieks in terror when she learns who the Dalai Lama is.
Wipe that grin off your face! The jests practiced on April 1 never end well. The disharmony that pranks provoke in relationships of all kinds, from friendships to work connections, begets a distrust that grows from year to year.
That distrust has now become full-blown suspicion of each and every person—no one can trust anyone else, all because of this fool’s holiday. We must always ask ourselves, “Are you lying to me?” or, if you’ve seen “The
Adjustment Bureau,” “Why are you wearing that hat?”
Acts involving shaving cream, duct tape, clear plastic cling wrap, toilet paper or dish soap make it that much more difficult for your friends to trust you.
If you are capable of covering the girls’ dorm room knobs with Vaseline, what might you do next? Hack Websense and use it to block Facebook? Kidnap Shirley Reddick, the cafeteria gate-keeper and hold her for chicken fingers
ransom? Reveal your secret identity as an undercover agent of Campus Safety?
You can’t be trusted because a prank in essence is a lie—and like any other lie, tends to hinder communication and break down relationships. Lies separate friends, break up couples and get employees fired. Lies break down the Imago Dei itself. And as lies, pranks also decimate communication, that which binds community together, in this moment.
John Wesley once said, “No circumstances can make it necessary for a man to burst in sunder all the ties of humanity.” The pranks we play, innocent though they seem, are in all seriousness the beginning of a slippery slope downward. They numb your sense of the ridiculous and lead you to ever worse sins. Think dominoes on crack.
Pulling pranks is the work of the devil, just like going to R-rated movies, dancing (except in chapel, where it is sanctified) and entering the cafeteria without using the hand sanitizer.
Do not be led astray by the class clowns. Theirs is the wide path, smooth and paved, leading to the abode of Screwtape and Wormwood. Follow the narrow path of the sober-faced killjoy. His is the way to eternal life.
Just ask the Pharisees.