Friday, September 30, 2011

When pranks go wrong...

Listening to a commercial radio station today they were talking about how the condom full of icecream prank at McDonald's Geraldton went so horribly wrong. They asked listeners to share their examples of when seemingly hilarious pranks went wrong.

Now those who know me will understand that I'm a keen prankster who would lie to his own Mum for the chance to get a laugh at someone else's expense. Generally these pranks involve a small white lie that I put right before the whole thing goes pear shaped and the poo hits the proverbial.

But sometimes time gets away from me and I forget the seed I've sown until it blooms into something way beyond a simple joke and threatens the balance of peace in the free world... or in my world at least.

Here's a great case in point...

Back in the 90s I worked at the POST Newspaper group where we put out a half dozen papers covering Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs. At the time I was working as editor of the Whitehorse POST covering the Box Hill area and surrounds, but had until recently edited the Maroondah POST which takes in Ringwood and Croydon.

So, I'm digging through my in-tray one morning and come across a police media alert about two men who had been arrested and charged with grievous bodily harm after assaulting a man at Jooce Nightclub (yep, as bogan as the name sounds).

The report was from a year earlier, but I thought it'd be rib ticklingly funny to white out the dates and change it to the current day, then photocopy it and slide it into my mate Peter's tray who was now editing the Maroondah POST.

Of course, he pulls it out, we have a quick yarn about the story and then I promptly forget all about it and start work on my front page story about poison dim sims in a suburban supermarket (seriously).

Fast forward two days later and the whole office is in a deadline frenzy. I wander past Peter's desk where he's hunkered over his screen with our editor in chief Mal, working on his front page story - both are in a lather to get it right, given it has serious legalities about what can and can't go to print.

That's when the 72pt headline jumps off the screen and rabbit punches me between the eyes: MEN CHARGED WITH JOOCE BASHING

And that's when I had to explain why it would be a very bad idea to run with that story and how very sorry I was to have left them stranded on deadline day without a front page yarn.

I think the C word may have come into play that afternoon.

The upside for Peter was that a few weeks later he convinced me that I'd gone to print with a headline talking about the Mininster for the Farts. Touche!

When has one of your pranks turned around and savaged you in the backside?