Actually, I have a great sense of humor; you should meet some of my clients. I love Monty Python. “Princess Bride” is the funniest movie ever made. Mel Brooks should be deified and I can go on and on, but the point is, I know what’s funny. (Hey, I’m alive and a human being – that alone is hysterical!)
Practical jokes are not funny.
We’re a pretty sadistic society. “Car wreck mentality,” aside, we love watching people fall down. We revel in the stupidity of others, completely unaware of what exactly we’re laughing at. Ourselves? Yeah, and who’d really admit that?
Laughter is always great medicine, but it’s not always because something’s funny. There are different situations that make us laugh: Something strikes us funny, something brings us tremendous relief, something gives us an ecstatically amount of joy, and something satisfying such as the villainous “muah-ha-ha!”
So, think about that when you consider the inevitable result of the practical joke, which is either:
1 – To bring humiliation.
2 – To bring embarrassment, which is slightly different than humiliation.
3 – To exploit one’s fears.
4 – To provoke frustration or anger.
5 – To disappoint.
Is this list any different than illustrating the point of bullying?
What’s the punch line? “Control.” Who’s laughing? The prankster, their true friends if they have any (because birds of a feather flock together), the ill-informed, the sadists, the people who are afraid, and the people who are too afraid to say, “This is wrong.”
Victims have been severely injured, victims have died, scarred for life, lost their jobs, have had to endure financial burdens, lost spouses and families, and even have become suicidal, not to mention having their day just ruined after a practical joke. And here’s the kicker: Not because the joke goes wrong, but because it goes right. Now, I’m not going to play “FBI Personality Profiler,” because I simply don’t have all the credentials to make an educated assessment. But, I can make a pretty good guess that a practical joker has got to have some serious issues, particularly in regards to his/her self-esteem. Perhaps they need to feel superior. Perhaps it’s the only way they think they can make an impression or have an effect on people. Maybe it’s a sexual dysfunction?
I heard one instance about a man who chronically played practical jokes on his wife – usually the kind that are designed to terrify her – because her screaming and panic gave him a sexual thrill, as if her expression of horror was synonymous with an orgasm.
How fucking selfish is that?
Incidentally, in case you’re wondering, yes, I was bullied growing up. Yes, I’ve had practical jokes played on me as a part of the “let’s break Ray program,” so yes, I have personal sensitivities in this matter. However, I’m not just talking about myself. I have never, ever seen a positive result from a practical joke. April Fool’s is dreaded by so many – except the pranksters.
No one looks forward to getting “punked,” unless they’re masochists.
Do you think the women who have been sexually assaulted (1 in 6 in this country) would not be offended to have a strange man to just sit on her lap and kiss her or give her a wedgie while she’s sunbathing? Do you believe a guy with an anxiety disorder (over 40 million adults over the age of 18, according to the ADAA, by the way) would enjoy getting confused or having their space invaded? Do you know of anyone who revels in the prospect of receiving great news only to find out it wasn’t true? Is disappointment fun?
When someone enjoys witnessing the pain and discomfort in others, they are Sadists. When someone exerts power over another in order to feel control or superiority, they are Abusers. When someone practices cruel behavior to prey upon the weaker, they are called Bullies. Yet somehow, when people inflict pain, discomfort, and cruelty for entertainment, they’re called Pranksters.
I’m not oversensitive. I’m just not laughing.