Ask The Fiddler #17: Pranked to Death

Filed under: Practical Jokes and Mischief

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.

Dear Fiddler,

I”™ve seen several accounts of pranks that misfired. Isn”™t pranking kind of a dangerous game?

Arlene in Cincinnati

Dear Arlene,

human-combustion-200Pranking can be a theatric art form, raising awareness about an important issue or exposing a cultural flaw. But the epidemic taking place today, from the celebrity suite to the punk on the street, is rarely more than a subtle form of bullying. So-called pranks are often harmful, humiliating and sometimes deadly – for the prankster or the victim.

You would probably agree that death qualifies as a danger. Here are a few reports of death by pranking.

  • Given the media coverage, you are probably quite aware of the sad case of Jacintha Saldanha, the India-born nurse who committed suicide after being pranked by Australian radio personalities. The Daily Mail has a site aggregating all stories so far.
  • In the realm of juvenile pranks, there is a report where the joker in the back seat pulled the strings on the driver”™s bikini top. She tried to cover herself, losing control. The joker died in the crash.
  • A 16 year old Kentucky youngster hanged himself accidentally pulling a Halloween prank.

  • And here”™s another poor fellow who hanged himself pranking.
  • A student in Shanghai poisoned his roommate as an April Fools prank. He said he had tried the poison previously on guinea pigs and most of them survived. He only wanted his roommate to suffer because he (the roommate) was planning pranks on others.
  • In Colorado, a young lady was killed after pranking a friend by jumping from a closet. The friend was armed and concerned about burglars. He shot the girl, killing her.
  • Carousing soldiers tossed a buddy”™s beret to the edge of a building, he went chasing it. Next they heard a crash and a thud. The chaser is dead.
  • And so it goes. Art of the Prank chronicled the adventures of an artist who faked his suicide on-line. Perhaps the value of the faked death is in calling attention to the Internet as a vehicle for similar hoaxes. Most often they are irresponsible reports of a celebrity death.

    There are many near-death pranks that could easily have gone a step further, involving bombs, fires and mock assaults and other criminal activity. By the way, these days, a prank involving explosives, if it doesn”™t kill you or others, can get you a felony charge.

    I don”™t like to be so serious about things. So I wonder if there are cases where the cosmos pranks us in deadly ways? There are over 200 incidents of spontaneous combustion on record, and explanations for their occurrence are generally unsatisfactory. Could it be that somewhere out there, adolescent space aliens are giggling over their idea of a joke?

    By today”™s degenerate pranking standards, I suppose it is a clever prank to turn someone into the near-dead, a zombie. A number of respected medical authorities believe it is possible. Don”™t try it in Haiti, where turning someone into a zombie is considered the same thing as murder.

    I leave you with an anti-death-prank emergency kit. Just invest in a set of Alex Chiu”™s immortality rings. Like the BeeGees – according to Alex – you”™ll be ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin”™ alive.

    Yours truly,

    The Fiddler

    Remember our motto here at camp: “If you take advice from The Fiddler, you need advice.” Send comments and questions to: Art of the Prank.

    image: LiveScience

    The Fiddler is a creation of W.J. Elvin III