East Tennessee Audiology - April 2020

APRIL 2020



Know your audience and your target.

April Fools’ Day is one of my favorite holidays because I’ve always considered myself a prankster. Even as a kid, my friends and I were always pulling practical jokes on each other. While the holiday may have come and gone, it prompted me to think of my favorite pranks as well as what exactly makes a good practical joke. While some antics can seem light-hearted, you never know how someone is going to react, so it’s important to follow some guidelines when orchestrating the best practical joke. Even if your materials aren’t meant to be ingested by the prankee, following this rule ensures no one suffers bodily harm. As Murphy’s law says, anything that can go wrong surely will. I’ve seen situations go hilariously well and embarrassingly wrong depending on if the prankster followed this rule. For example, one April Fools’morning, I was running late and rushing to get ready for work. When I hopped out of the shower and went to blow dry my hair, the hairdryer blew baby powder in my face! It went everywhere: the floor, the counter, my face, my chest, and my shoulders. Turns out, my wife had put the baby powder in my hairdryer the night before. It was an innocent prank that didn’t damage the blow dryer and made a small mess in the bathroom. When I was younger, though, one of my friend’s pranks went a little too far while we were at a youth convention. It was a three-day event hosted at the same hotel that my friend Chuck and I were staying at. The first morning before we joined everyone in the convention area, Chuck replaced my deodorant with Flexall 454! If you’re unfamiliar with the product, Flexall 454 is a muscle and joint pain reliever. Typically, if used excessively or over a large area (like a kid’s armpit), it can cause irritation and a burning rash to develop. It’s safe to say the next three days at the conference weren’t the best. An excessive amount of this product could have left me at risk of severe pain, swelling, burning, or blistering. So when concocting your diabolical prank, make sure you’re not using ingredients that are harmful when ingested or topically applied. Don’t be like Chuck. Stick to harmless products and chemicals.

Make sure you know the person you’re pranking really well. This includes their allergies, sense of humor, and how they react to stressful situations. I pulled one

prank years ago on a former employer of mine. My boss and I were pretty good friends, and he had a great sense of humor. The night before I pulled the joke, there was a bad thunderstorm that ran through

the town. We had an elaborate sign out in front of the office. The next morning when I came in, I called to inform my boss that the sign was destroyed by huge tree limbs. He was so shocked and worried that he was getting ready to call the insurance company, but I quickly told him it was just a joke. He gave a howling laugh over the phone and said he really fell for it. In general, it’s best to go for less elaborate pranks, like swapping around the herbs and spices in the kitchen or switching the sugar and salt containers. These are fun pranks, and no one is harmed as a result — though they may receive an unexpected surprise in their morning coffee. Don’t introduce any food items you’ve never seen a person ingest. Better safe than sorry! Do you have any fun light-hearted pranks you love to pull? Let me know the next time you stop by! I’m always looking for fun, safe pranks to pull on my family and friends. —Shayne Harrell


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