Tag Archives: Pranks

germs

Fear of Germs

Pranking coworkers, like long hours and low wages, is part and parcel of an agency’s Creative Department.

It can be fun.

But also, cruel.  And senseless.

Most of the time it’s done for the fun of it. It is not about bullying.

Victims can be the most beloved and esteemed; they can be the new as a means to break the ice; they can be the cocksure, as to bring them down to earth.

Everyone is fair game.

So was our worker, a talented yet somewhat pretencious a bit pricky art director known for agreeing when agreement was needed, observing silence when silence was required, and for getting on some people’s nerves.

Someone pointed out that every agency briefing meeting was followed by a rush to the bathroom.

People took bets: He either shits a lot or he’s a chronic masturbator: During those days someone had circulated an article saying that many guys like to rub one off to release tension.

So people started counting Recency, Frequency and Length of each visit to the Caballeros room.

And then, someone decided that it was time to follow him.

At your own risk, a voice of caution said.

The scout noted that  the fellow wasn’t emptying his gut, or draining the vein, he was simply washing his hands.

Obsesively.

Furiously.

He was the man we’d all heard about: Terrified of Germs.

giphy-1Soon, at every occasion, coworkers started shaking his hand, patting his back, visiting his cubicle, touching things, even leaving stuff on his desk.

He’d run to wash his hands.

And then, once after lunch, someone left a half-eaten sandwich on the poor man’s workstation.

From across the aisle all eyes observed him as he looked for about 10 minutes as if developing a plan of attack.

He walked around it.

Even got close and smelled it.

Then he pulled out a pair rubber gloves from a box in his bag. A surgical mask. Put on the gear, closed the wrapped, and carried keeping it away from his body all the way to the kitchen. He came back with spray and paper towels.

And proceeded to wipe clean the entire cubicle, totally unaware that he had an audience of amazed coworkers in total awe.

And off he went to wash his hands.

 

800px-Firecracker_exploding

El Triquitraque

What happens when Agency creatives get bored?

They do crazy crap.

How do Agency creatives release tension?

They do crazy crap.

How do Agency creatives get their ideas?

By doing crazy crap.

200-1Like the one Fourth of July that a creative took his son shopping for firecrackers to Chinatown and came back to the office with some little noise-making devices that he used to “booby trap” people’s doors, chairs, desk drawers and such.

They were glued  in a way that pulling the object would set off a small blast loud enough to startle the person who would then feel stupid and everyone who could hear would laugh at their expense.

200But then, they decided to get even and to retaliate they rode the subway ride downtown and came back with their own arsenal.

And so began urban warfare in the creative department.

A free for all: Everyone against everyone else!

Soon, everyone in the creative department had at one time on another been blasted.

As the war continued, everyone walked cautiously, specially when coming into the office in the morning, or after lunch (after having a beer or two), as anything and everything could be booby trapped.

In looking back, fear probably exaggerated the amount of firecrackers in the office.

But there were some, and some did blow up and a few people did not take the joke well.

Like our colleague who’d returned after a few weeks off following a major heart attack.  His loud “Fuck!” was followed by a reminder of his condition and his legal connections.

Or the cleaning lady, a Salvadoran immigrant who’d fled a civil war in her country. Unaware that grown men in their 30s and 40s were playing with fire, she attempted to clean up an office right after it had been booby trapped. There followed one blast, then another one and by the third one she was a nervous wreck.

At that point everyone realized that it was time for truce.

200-3

 

Dia del muerto

El Día del Muerto

This story combines technology,the untimely death of an esteemed colleague and a bunch of bored Agency Creatives.

Just as this Agency had brought one (just one) desktop Mac Computer to the Creative Department, a coworker passed away in the most unfortunate of situations: He went home one day and never came back.

He was found in his apartment days later after his passing. (Details here would fall into the TMI category.)

The Bored Creatives decided to tape the dead man’s voice from his telephone mailbox.

They then transferred the sound bite to the new Mac Computer and assigned it as the sound for wrong command.

People were totally unfamiliar with computers and that “Wrong Command” beep was fairly common in those days.

So in essence we had our dead coworker remind us when we’d made a Macstake.

200Creepy, but still amusing.

Until major Presentation Day, when everyone was rushing to get the work out the door — people totally unfamiliar with the Computer were  making mistakes by the million, which kept responding the dead man’s name with the deceased’s voice.

Creepy, and annoying.

That day was also the day that a therapist had come to the departed’s department to hold a group session of dealing with loss.

The session required collective screams, which were heard from one end to another, as the computer kept making that sound.

And as the therapy session ended, all these folks heard repeatedly the voice of the man who was no longer.

Creepy and creepier.

That was our Deay of the Dead.