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A joker’s guide to practical jokes

Jason Ferguson
Published: Thursday, October 24th, 2013

In this very space two week’s ago, Norma shared with you some of the practical jokes I have played on my coworkers throughout my years here at the Chronicle. From the hijacking other employees’ email for my own devious reasons, to taping odd photos to the wall in Charley’s office, I have had my share of pranking the poor people who work with me. My mind is constantly conceiving ways to get a quick, yet harmless laugh out of those around me.
My love for practical jokes and making people laugh began at a young age. I was the class clown throughout my school years and would go to just about any lengths to make people laugh. My penchant for talking and cracking jokes wasn’t always appreciated by my teachers. I distinctly remember my history teacher, Bob Olson, constantly lecturing me about my antics.
“Mr. Ferguson, there are 10,000 unemployed comedians in this country. Don’t be 10,001.”
“Mr. Ferguson, you’re not Bob Hope, and this isn’t the U.S.S. Delaware, so don’t feel obligated to entertain the troops.”
That didn’t stop me from evolving my practical joking, which started with rudimentary things, such as taping signs on people’s back. “Kick Me” was too common and violent (my goal was and remains for nobody to be physically injured by my pranks) so I put more clever things on people’s backs. “Please direct me to the bathroom,” was always one of my favorites, or “Ask me about my Uncle Barth.”
Inevitably, someone would approach the person I had taped the note to, see it and read it, giggle, and then give the person directions to the nearest bathroom or say “Tell me about your Uncle Barth.” I would try to hold my laughter as the person with the note on their back would look confused at the person talking to them. I even devised a foolproof way of getting a note on someone’s back without them ever seeing it or feeling it. The “pat on the back” routine is for amateurs and neanderthals. With my technique, the victim can’t feel a thing.

In this very space two week’s ago, Norma shared with you some of the practical jokes I have played on my coworkers throughout my years here at the Chronicle. From the hijacking other employees’ email for my own devious reasons, to taping odd photos to the wall in Charley’s office, I have had my share of pranking the poor people who work with me. My mind is constantly conceiving ways to get a quick, yet harmless laugh out of those around me.

My love for practical jokes and making people laugh began at a young age. I was the class clown throughout my school years and would go to just about any lengths to make people laugh. My penchant for talking and cracking jokes wasn’t always appreciated by my teachers. I distinctly remember my history teacher, Bob Olson, constantly lecturing me about my antics.

“Mr. Ferguson, there are 10,000 unemployed comedians in this country. Don’t be 10,001.”

“Mr. Ferguson, you’re not Bob Hope, and this isn’t the U.S.S. Delaware, so don’t feel obligated to entertain the troops.”

That didn’t stop me from evolving my practical joking, which started with rudimentary things, such as taping signs on people’s back. “Kick Me” was too common and violent (my goal was and remains for nobody to be physically injured by my pranks) so I put more clever things on people’s backs. “Please direct me to the bathroom,” was always one of my favorites, or “Ask me about my Uncle Barth.”

Inevitably, someone would approach the person I had taped the note to, see it and read it, giggle, and then give the person directions to the nearest bathroom or say “Tell me about your Uncle Barth.” I would try to hold my laughter as the person with the note on their back would look confused at the person talking to them. I even devised a foolproof way of getting a note on someone’s back without them ever seeing it or feeling it. The “pat on the back” routine is for amateurs and neanderthals. With my technique, the victim can’t feel a thing.

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