Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Original Prankster

When I taught high school, we had a very young staff. We came from all walks of life, speaking different languages and citizens of different countries. Whether by design or accident, the three English speaking teachers were placed in a grouping in the middle of the teacher work room. I, the American on the right, my British colleague on my left, and my Canadian co-teacher directly across from me. We got along famously. We were all in our twenties, and our sense of humor not only matched but lent itself to escalation on a weekly basis.

My British coworker had a very large personality. The more he laid on the bullshit, the more we responded. I have never been one to back down from a challenge, and to hear someone brag about their prankster abilities is just plain asking for it.

We pulled a lot of crazy shit the two years I worked at the school. It got to the point that we had to lock our keyboards down when we left the room so that others wouldn't hop on your desktop and change your settings. I am sure that our antics were not appreciated by all who shared a workspace with us, but we had a blast.

One incident I am particularly proud of involves my British colleague and his immigration paperwork. In order to secure our working papers, all of us had to collect the information from our employer, make an appointment with the Swedish immigration office and go through the process of proving the status of our employment. Basically, getting our green card.

On the day my British colleague had his appointment, he had brought his UK passport to work along with all of the other masses of legal work to turn in at his interview. Being the immature group of friends that we were, we passed around his passport, good-naturedly making fun of his photo and telling him immigration horror stories. As he ran around frantically finishing up his classes for the day, I printed some photo of a celebrity off of the internet. I can't remember who it was now, but my friend is biracial, and this person in no way, shape or form resembled him. While he was out of the workroom, I cut out the photograph and taped it over the photo in his UK passport. I took scotch tape and neatly taped the whole thing down. The entire room was in absolute hysterics. It looked awesomely real except that it wasn't him. I stuffed everything into his backpack and studiously tapped at my keyboard barely seconds before my friend ran back in the room. He grabbed his backpack, told us to wish him luck and ran for the train.

I think I cried I was laughing so hard.

Several hours passed, and we could barely contain our curiosity. No one had heard from him. His mobile was switched off, and we didn't know how long his appointment would take. I was completely unprepared when I felt a rucksack smack me in the back of the head. My friend had returned and was laughing his ass off. He told us how he stood in line at the immigration office. That when they called his name he dutifully handed over his passport and paperwork. The immigration officer opened the passport only to find some crazy-eyed white dude staring back at him. Scotch tape and all.

For anyone who says Swedish immigration agents have no sense of humor, this incident sets the record straight. My British friend IMed me on Facebook today, and throughout the course of our conversation reminded me of this incident. I had completely forgotten about it until this afternoon. I cannot for the life of me remember how or why I ever thought to pull such a prank, but my friend and I agree it is one of the best memories of our friendship.


SSG said...

great story, though there is no way that could happen with US immigration. I don't think they would think it was funny.

Anonymous said...

That is too funny. (Running right now to tape a frog picture in my husband's passport).


Anonymous said...

That is hilarious...great they had a sense of humor, too!

only a movie said...

Fun story. I enjoy a good prank.

A Free Man said...

Good thing it wasn't in the States. Your friend would be in Guantanamo right now.

Patois said...

I fear A Free Man is right. What a fabulous joke.

Not Afraid To Use It said...

@SSG: Yeah, the US is at a whole new level of serious.

@Titanium: How did the frog picture turn out?

@Suzicate: I am glad, too. It could have been very ugly otherwise.

@Only A Movie: A good prank keeps me laughing forever.

@AFM and Patois: This was pre-9/11. Even I wouldn't have the cojones to try it now.