My prankster phase was short lived.
I was in a new school and I hated it. I’d just left a cozy K-6 arrangement a few short blocks from my house. I was Queen Shit at my K-6. Funny and popular, a budding little writer and singer. Kids used to fight over who got to play with me at recess. And boyfriends? Well, let’s just say I didn’t get those plastic rubies from mucking around in the Red Lobster treasure chest myself.
And now here I was in a K-8 situation, being one of the only kids who hadn’t been there since the beginning. I started getting told on for tiny social missteps, and I was teased about things I’d never even thought about before. I didn’t realize I was fat or that my faux fur backpack made me a weirdo. I learned a lot of new things about myself. “Extra, extra! Read all about it! Melanie never does her math homework!” I mean, it was true, but I’d never anticipated social ramifications from such a thing.
So you can imagine my relief when I met Cami. I recognize a kindred spirit when I see one. Cami was new to Canada and working on her English, some of which she’d picked up from her favourite American movie: Problem Child. She loved prankster humour. She often wore a mischievous look of glee, racing past me in gym class with her prankster battle cry: “catch you later, sucker!” She was the most viscerally fun person I’d ever met. We laughed so much and so hard. In a time where I felt reborn into a cruel world, our friendship was a balm. And her family liked me, which was surprising. Not because I was a bad kid, but because I frequently wore JNCO jeans covered in puddle water. Somehow, that wasn’t a deal-breaker. Soon we were having sleepovers every weekend.
And then came the pranks.
I am not, nor have I ever been, a problem child. Problematic, sure. I grew up with white privilege in the early 90s, so I had a lot of fucked up ideas about the world. But I was always basically polite.
That said, I’m a people pleaser through and through. So if my new favourite person demands pranks, then pranks she shall have!
One day, Cami brought a maxi-pad to school. Something neither of us could use for its intended purpose yet, so we both knew what time it was. (Prank time, baby!)
Using red jello and chocolate pudding, we made some pretty convincing (and delicious!) period blood.
But we didn’t have a plan.
So we walked around with it for a while, eventually placing it on a bookshelf at the back of a classroom.
I kind of forgot about it after that. For me, it was about the creative process behind the pad, not the pad itself.
And then, a few days later, it happened. A ripple of disgust sounded from the back of the classroom. It travelled ever forward until, inevitably, our teacher had to tear herself away from Lennie and George and the rabbits.
Once she found out what was causing the problem, she launched into one of the most confusing disciplinary monologues I’ve ever heard.
“You all need to grow up, this is a NATURAL FUNCTION OF THE HUMAN BODY!”
To which my classmates appropriately responded “But what’s it doing HERE?”
It was hilarious, but I couldn’t enjoy it. I was wracked with panic and guilt, torn between wanting to impress my friend and needing the approval of an authority figure.
No one ever found out who put the pad there. No one even found out it was a pretty tasty snack. I got away with it. I got away with it scot-free. But I knew I’d been lucky.
I never pranked again. But luckily, that wasn’t a deal-breaker either.