>>> Bang for Your Buck
By staff writer David Nelson
April 2, 2006

Essential New Word of the Week: muchet (definition hint: coitus molestus)

Yesterday was April Fool's Day, and by now it’s time you know, I am the mastermind behind the E.E. Southerby prank. You might think it immodest of me to use the word “mastermind,” but that’s only because you’ve never heard me discuss quantum mechanics through my awesome, wheelchair-mounted computer voice synthesizer. In any case, I indeed authored and fabricated the entire Southerby comeback story, and I hope I was able to mimic E.E. well enough to fool some of you. Southerby, if you happen to read this someday, consider it an homage. Please don’t get the Aryans to shank me. Meanwhile, where the hell are you really?

If you’re a long-time fan of the site, and you saw through the prank, congratulations. Your prize is an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the Points in Case Tower. You’ll enjoy dinner with Simonne and Ali, and make sure you leave time to visit the all-new Nathan DeGraaf Porn Annex. You’re going to love it.

If you fell for it, however, I want to welcome you to a very elite and special group: my prank victims. I’ve always loved practical jokes, and the ones I’ve perpetrated have given me plenty of laughs over the years. A lot of people think that practical jokes are the lowest form of humor, but they’re not. Spend some time listening to Court’s puns (those chicks in the burn victim unit sure are a-peeling!) and you’ll be begging for someone to hit you in the face with a pie. In fact, scientists have recently discovered that the humor scale runs as follows:

“When kids today hear ‘practical joke,' chances are they envision Ashton Kutcher convincing Malcolm in the Middle that his car just got towed away.”

Stand-up (black comic) > Points in Case articles > TV sitcoms > Stand-up (white comic) > Practical jokes > Puns > Prop comedy > Mime > Family Circus cartoons.

My first exposure to the practical joke came from, of all places, Sesame Street. Back in the Jim Henson days, before Elmo was unleashed on a generation of kids, there was a Muppet called Harvey Kneeslapper. That fucker’s sole purpose in life was to torment everyone he encountered, while teaching valuable lessons about letters and numbers. “Do you know where I wanna be?” he’d ask, and proceed to stick a giant letter “B” onto his victim’s head. “That’s where I wanna ‘B’!” This kind of timeless joke is way funnier than anything that has ever been said by, say, Jeff Foxworthy. Harvey Kneeslapper instantly became my new role model, surpassing TV’s Frank Bonner, better known as Herb Tarlek on WKRP.

But when kids today hear “practical joke,” chances are they envision Ashton Kutcher convincing Malcolm in the Middle that his car just got towed away. That kind of crap just seems uninspired. If I had access to those kinds of resources, I bet I could wreak some real havoc. Like convincing Bono that he has AIDS, or persuading Scarlett Johansson that the only way to thwart an alien attack is by giving me a blowjob…or a part in “Lost in Translation II.”

There are many different kinds of practical jokes, both elaborate and simple. Some of the best involve a gimmick; some physical prop that appears to contradict the laws of nature. This would be your standard fly-in-the-ice-cube type of prank. These can be hit and miss. If you give me a piece of gum and it tastes like garlic, chances are I’ll be too drunk to notice. And feel free to pull out a joy buzzer or a squirting flower if you like, but understand that it equates to declaration of war, and I’ll happily respond by giving you cat turds disguised as candy bars.

If you have the budget for it, there is more sophisticated joke-quipment out there. It’s not super creative, but it is effective. My brother once bought a remote control fart machine. Now, farts are intrinsically funny, and if you disagree, it probably means you’ve sold your sense of humor to the devil in some kind of Faustian deal. I hope you got something good for it, like a massage chair that dispenses barbecue sauce.

Anyway, I borrowed the fart device, and managed to slip it into a friend’s bag just before we hit a supermarket. I hid behind a giant display of Chef Boyardee Overstuffed Beef Ravioli™, remote control button in hand, and watched hilarity unfold. No matter where he walked in the store, he appeared to be generating the wettest, most horrific farts you ever heard. Even better, sullen teenage stockboys and blue-haired retirees were looking at him as if he just whipped out his dick and started fucking a cantaloupe. Which feels totally great, by the way.

If you don’t have much of a budget, there’s some great stuff to be had for cheap. I keep a stash of something called Stiffy Stuff. Not only does it have a hilariously gay name, it will instantly turn any liquid into a Jello-like substance. At 75 cents a package, it’s a good choice for the budget-conscious prankster. It works great in toilets, but if you really want to bring the funny, try slipping it into someone’s expensive cocktail at a restaurant or bar. That’s also good practice for when you finally get your hands on some of that date rape drug they advertise on 60 Minutes.

Those small time pranks are good, but my favorites are the more elaborate ones. Filling a coworker’s office with ping pong balls is a lot more labor-intensive, but it’s also more satisfying. Bonus points if you can use nothing but ping pong balls that have been forcibly ejected out of a Thai prostitute’s vagina.

If you have enough creativity, you can forego the gimmicks entirely. Lots of practical jokes are predicated upon nothing more than an outlandish story, and the naiveté of your victim. In other words, it’s okay to lie, kids, as long as it’s funny. And for the record, this sort of joke works great in the context of academia.

Years ago, I had a friend who went to a different high school, and we’d occasionally meet up. One time, we were talking about our classes, and he mentioned how he was studying King Lear. Not knowing where it would take me, I started praising the play for its incredible twist ending. It was clear he hadn’t read it all the way through, and didn’t intend to. Inspiration struck. Hoping he didn’t know what “The Crying Game” was all about, I confessed that by the end of the play, you find out King Lear is actually a queen.

Several weeks elapsed. I’m waiting for a bus, and suddenly I hear someone scream “King Lear was not a woman, you asshole!!” Heh. Turns out he had a presentation that week, and my reinterpretation of Shakespeare was relayed to his entire English class. There are two lessons here: It’s great to have naïve friends, and always read the book, or at least the Coles Notes.

That incident was so hilarious to me, so I decided to see if I could duplicate it in college. Thankfully, I was dating a girl who was so gullible, she would cheerfully send “wealth transfer fees” to dudes who emailed her from Nigeria, thinking she stood to inherit millions. And, if you remain unconvinced of her poor judgment, remember: she dated me for four years.

Anyway, she once asked me what I knew about Bob Marley. Being white, not to mention Canadian, it wasn’t a whole lot. However, I didn’t let that stop me, as I wove her a thrilling tale of Bob Marley’s ascent as the only white man to top the reggae charts. She questioned the premise, but I held fast, and that little nugget made it into one of her essays.

So, if you fell for the PIC April Fool’s prank this year, you’re in the same company as King Lear guy and Bob Marley Girl. I’m not gloating; I’ve been the victim of some greats as well. I remember coming home after a long road trip with three friends (two of them hot girls), and all of us to tired to do anything but crash at my place. Except all my furniture had been rearranged, and all my clothes used to make mannequins that were now lounging on said furniture. Plus, my giant collection of porn had been strewn everywhere, effectively killing any chance I might have had with either of the two girls. That pissed me off. But I had to admit, I was also impressed at the pranksters’ handiwork.

That said, happy belated April Fool’s Day. If you’ve got good practical joke stories, leave a comment, I’d love to hear about them. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there seems to be a flaming paper bag on my floor…I better put it out.

Essential New Word of the Week:

muchet (‘mU? It) v: This week’s selection was formerly a Yiddish word that means ‘to annoy or aggravate”. I was hanging out at a park with some friends, when one of them decided to start throwing twigs at me. I tried to be all Zen about it, but finally, I got exasperated and screamed, “Stop mucheting me!” I only lapse into foreign languages in times of extreme distress. My twig-throwing asshole friend liked the word so much, he totally co-opted it, and now uses it to refer to things he does with his girlfriend. It would be so easy to equate “muchet” with “copulate,” but no. It actually refers to those half-erotic, half-annoying things you do in bed, mostly against the will of your partner. If she hates it when you push her nipple in and make doorbell noises, yet you do it anyway, you’re a world-class mucheter, and I salute you.