things i don’t do well

Several months ago a friend who happens to be a big fan of the University of Kentucky had a ridiculous gift shipped to work with my name on it. It literally had my name on it, not just the packaging, but the water bottle inside had a giant UK symbol with “Elizabeth S” printed below. It was obviously a joke because most of you know I’m a rabid UNC fan with a deep, deep hatred for Duke and Kentucky. Funny how I couldn’t just say Kentucky, I had to throw Duke in there. Anyway, I immediately started thinking of ways to get this person back, but I knew it wouldn’t be easy.

There are a few things I do well and many, many things I don’t do well. The older I get the better I am at recognizing these things. On that note, I am maybe the very last person on Earth you’d ever want to pick to help you pull off a prank. I’m clever enough to come up with the ideas, but I get too excited. I have to tell someone… and unfortunately I usually end up telling the person I’ve pranked. I don’t know why I haven’t grown out of this yet, but I tend to be a walking exclamation point. My reactions to anything happy or sad are almost always a notch or two above a normal person’s excitement level. I joke that I’ll never be a poker player because sh*t-eating grin is not a good poker face.

A day or two after the UK water bottle arrived I had a plan. I walked out to the parking lot in the middle of my work day, grabbed the giant tar heel logo magnet off my car and put it right on his – next to the license plate. I casually walked back inside, then spent the rest of the afternoon smiling like some sort of baboon and trying to make sure he didn’t go out to his car for any reason.

I made it through work and the first hurdle – him getting in his car without noticing. Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. First of all, I’m not sure how he didn’t get suspicious mid-afternoon when I blurted out that the tie he had to wear on air was “perfect! no need to go get another one from your car!” Second, I’m not sure how he missed the fact that I was watching him get into his car with a level of attention I would never normally pay. He was probably just ready to get home at that point, so it’s really not surprising (or impressive, on my account) that he didn’t notice. But the next moment when I got in my car and closed the door I started to panic because my stupid prank was working and that never happens… and because I knew I was getting too excited.

I’m going to make this long story short… I made it about two hours before I all-but-blurted-out what I’d done. At that point he’d already driven all the way home and parked his car in his driveway with the tar heel magnet facing out to the street so everyone could see. That was more than I ever believed I would accomplish, so I count it as a success. Sad use of the word “success”, I know, but my threshold is low. I’m not sure how many people noticed it – realistically, not many… but in my mind the whole world was laughing as hard as I was at my stupid prank.

How he found out discredits all the effort I’d put in to staying quiet during the workday, I basically bugged him about it after-hours until he finally noticed — which is textbook youngest child — entirely too proud of something stupid and wanting the attention for the accomplishment. Classic.

It’s safe to say, like the simple UNC magnet stunt (stunt is too strong of a word for such lame revenge…), I’ve ruined just about every other prank I’ve ever been involved in.

Truly, I am the worst person to help with pranks.

I was never picked last in gym class as a kid – probably because kids automatically equate tall with athletic no matter how scrawny one may be. I do not take this for granted. I  appreciate that I was never the last kid on the baseline waiting to find out who’d be stuck with me, But if life still operated like gym class and you were the captain picking teams to help you with a hilarious prank, I’d be that kid. Except I wouldn’t be looking down at my shoes I’d be standing there waving my hands back and forth and shaking my head as if to say “Seriously, you really don’t want me. This is not where I shine.”

What I’m saying is don’t count on me to help you convince anyone of something made up. I will laugh mid-sentence, then not be able to even finish the job. Don’t ask me to help you scare anyone. I’ll end up freaking myself out while trying to hide in the designated closet and I’ll give up, jump out too early and whatnot. Don’t ask me to replace shampoo with something other than shampoo. I’ll think it’s too hilarious and I’ll blurt it out before anyone even hits the showers.

I simply can’t be trusted with this kind of responsibility.

On the flipside, I am one of the best people you can prank. Why am I telling you this and opening myself up to pranks? I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought that through. But you should know that pulling one over on me should never make you proud of yourself. I’m easily tricked. I prefer to think it’s not because I’m gullible but because I am trusting… with maybe a light dusting of gullible. But really, nobody pulls pranks on total strangers and if I know you well enough to consider you a friend I generally trust what you say and do.

Unfortunately there are youtube videos of my college roommates scaring the bejeezus out of me that prove even my closest friends are not to be trusted.

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