By Jack Vale
I’ve done it. I’ve crossed the line. Chances are, if you’re a “prankster” you have too. We all have. And who doesn’t love a great prank? We all do. That is, perhaps until you have been the victim of one. But it sure is fun to dish one out, isn’t it?
I’ve been doing pranks on YouTube for about 15 years now, but long before that I always loved to pull a good prank. We’ve all heard how stand-up comedians talk about how they felt when they told a joke and received a larger-than-life response from a crowd. Well, that’s how I feel when a carefully executed prank is carried out and the “victim” is left laughing hysterically, shocked, or even a little frightened. But here’s the thing: My pranks have (for the most part) been non-threatening. I might make a fart sound in a public place or say a series of confusing words that make people scratch their heads, but generally speaking, the pranks I pull are harmless.
Now here’s the predicament. When you go down the prank path, chances are you will find so much satisfaction in it, that you will find it addicting. Because it is. And what comes afterwards is temptation. It becomes tempting to cross lines. Your brain starts to want to push the envelope a little further. This is where you have to be careful. I always ask myself this question: “What do I want to get out of it?” If what I’m looking for is to go as over the top as possible, so I get a viral video at the expense of the “prankee,” and make them look stupid, then I’m not doing it for the right reasons. I look at it like this…as a society, we should be laughing more. It has been proven over and over that laughter gives us many different types of mental and physical benefits and let’s face it, a good old-fashioned prank can be the cause of major laughter. That’s really why I do what I do and why I’m grateful to God every single day that He has given me the opportunity to be silly for a living. I get to make people laugh.
So, it’s not really a question of “where to draw the line?” It’s more about your motives. Whenever someone asks, “how far, is too far” I say “you’re asking the wrong question.” If you have to ask yourself how far you can get to the edge of a cliff before falling off, then stop right there. Why are you tempted to go to the edge in the first place? If it’s to save someone’s life, I’d say it’s worth it. Once you establish your motivation, and it’s a positive one, everything else will fall into place. Even the late, great Michael Landon was known by his family, friends, crew and co-stars as a major prankster. Sometimes when he would open his mouth, a live frog would jump out at people. Who knew that the guy who made us cry on Little House on the Prairie, spent a lot of his time cracking people up? Now, there’s a guy who understood the significance of laughter and why pranks can be important in a person’s life.