Going to college is not supposed to be all academic, one needs a little light-hearted fun as well. In the living unit where I stayed for those five years we usually tried one major prank each year. Here are some of them.
The car – One year instead of having a house mother we had a grad student (working on a PhD), Tom Hansen, who fulfilled that role. He was a pretty straight-laced fellow and we thought he needed a little lightening up. For transportation he used a small two-seater red sports car that belonged to his girlfriend. Late one night we went out to the parking lot behind the building where he kept it. It was usually unlocked, but he must have suspected something so that night it was locked. However, it was not in gear and the brakes were off. With rack-and-pinion steering, you could push/pull on the tires and turn them, so we put one guy on each front tire and the rest of us pushing it. We “drove” it out of the parking lot and up the sidewalk in front of the building. There were three sets of doors – the end ones went to the men’s/women’s residence, the center one to the student center. We went up the sidewalk to the center doors and turned it sideways. It was only three steps up and we had enough guys to lift it up and then slide it sideways between the brick planters on each side (with about an inch clearance on each side).
In the morning that’s where he found his car. Everyone coming down the street was slowing down to look at it. We even had a reporter from the local paper take a picture that appeared on the front page the next day. Everything was fine until the local fire marshal called and said we’d have to move it as it was blocking a fire exit. For some reason it seemed a lot heavier taking down the stairs that it did going up the stairs when we had all that late-night adrenaline!
The clothes – We had a number of pranksters in the dorm, but that didn’t exempt them from being the recipient of a good prank as well. One weekend we decided to pull a really fast one on Skip (real name Addison) Brown. Each of those of us who were in on it had assigned roles so we could work really fast – this was one was going to require speed, precision, and advanced planning. That quarter Skip didn’t have a roommate, but there was a high school student staying with him who wanted to experience college life before making up his mind whether to attend MSU or not, but that didn’t deter us.
We knew that Skip took a long hot shower every morning, so we had someone listening to see when he was in the shower. As soon as he was there for a few minutes and the shower would mask any noise we made, we hit! Going into his room, we first told the startled high school kid, to not say a word. Each of us had an assignment on what we were going to take – one on each drawer of the dresser, a couple on the closet, one for the bedding, etc. Within 30 seconds the room was stripped clean. One person even reached into the bathroom and swiped his towels from the bar opposite the shower. When he came out a few minutes later, he had NO clothes and not even a towel to dry himself. He questioned the poor high school kid who could only say that he didn’t know anyone. Coming out into the hall, the prank organizer didn’t say anything – just handed him a key (to a locker in the college library a mile away).
Skip was a tall (6’5”) slim guy, so finding clothes was difficult. But he managed to convince a few of the other guys in the dorm to lend him some (including too-short jeans and shoes without socks). He then trudged off to the library. There, in a locker in the middle of the study area surrounded by students diligently studying that morning, he found all his underwear – and another key. This key was to a locker at the airport on the other side of town (I told you we had some advance planning). It took him a few hours to convince someone to loan him their car to drive over there.
It took him all day to finally retrieve all the stuff that we’d stashed – each location containing some of his stuff – and another key. (Because we didn’t want to cause any real damage, his suits and good clothes were hanging in another closet in the dorm, not stuffed in a locker somewhere.) He was good natured through the whole thing and very impressed at what we had been able to pull off.
The room – Bill Kimball was majoring in HRIM (Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management) and had a night job at a restaurant. He was also generally the chief prankster (and the organizer of the above stripping a room prank). But that also made him a target. While he was away at his job one night we turned that prank around on him – and stuffed his room. We had accumulated a supply of newspapers as well as half a pallet of broken-down paper milk cartons from the MSU dairy. We unfolded all the cartons and crushed in the ends so they took maximum volume and wadded up all the newspapers – the result being enough volume to totally fill Bill’s room. The final ones we put up against the room door from the inside from the bathroom (shared with the adjoining room) so we could push the bathroom door closed after locking it.
When Bill came home around one in the morning, he pushed on his room door and couldn’t get it as it was stuffed so full of paper. After some trying, he was able to pull enough stuff out into the hall through the small crack he made that he could get the door open. By that time he had pretty much figured out who must have been behind it and was admiring our handiwork. But it was late and he was tired. He cleared enough stuff out into the hall that he could navigate his room, cleared off a spot on his bed and got in – dead tired. He laid down and, as was his sleeping habit, stuffed his hands under the pillow. Unfortunately, since we didn’t want to damage the stuff on the top of his desk and dresser, we had taken a tall statue that he had and put it under the pillow for safekeeping – and Bill skinned his knuckles on the statue! That made him mad and he decided to take all the paper down to the end of the hall and put it in front of the door of the chief perpetrator.
Sometime around 4 in the morning though, his tiredness overtook him and when the rest of us got up later we found Bill – asleep on a pile of newspaper in the middle of the hall, with newspaper strewn all the way from the door of his room to the semi-finished pile outside another room.
The girls – while most of our pranks were directed at ourselves, one year we decided to pull one on the girls who lived in the other half of the dorm. A little background is needed here – the building held about 100 students, half of each gender. It was a three-story building. The lower level had a living room on each side and a common activity room/student center and dining room and kitchen in the middle. The upper two stories of dorm rooms were divided with fire doors between the two halves (to keep us apart), and there was a flat roof. There was a ladder and an access to the roof in a third floor closet on each end, but the one on the girls’ end was secured with a chain and padlock. The rooms and the bathrooms (shared between adjacent rooms) could be locked on the inside for privacy, but no one had keys, only the housemother. Once a week we each had a mandatory house meeting in the living room.
That night the guys’ house meeting was simply a call to order, and a motion for adjournment. One of the guys had rigged a microphone through a window into the girls’ living room and he was listening until they took roll. Then we sprang into action. We took all our supplies for the prank up the ladder to the roof, lifted the access door on the other end the few inches that the chain allowed, and cut the chain with bolt cutters to give us access to the girls’ side of the building. There was one girl who we knew was not at the house meeting – we found her on the phone on the second floor talking to her boyfriend. We simply took the receiver from her, told her boyfriend that she had to go, and hung up the phone. We were going to lock her in one of the bathrooms, but she told us she would not tell on us, so we released her to go down to the house meeting.
In each bathroom we put blue food coloring in the toilet and a small yellow rubber duck or a toy boat. We took all the desk chairs into the hall and locked the doors as we were leaving the rooms. We then threw toilet paper rolls from one end of the hall to the other, running the paper through all the chairs. Then we exited the same way we’d broken in (it took perhaps 10 minutes to do all this).
Regrouping in our living room, we had arranged for delivery of an 8’ sub – it came on an 8’ long board. We shouldered it with six guys carrying it, went outside and up the sidewalk to the girls’ entrance. Going inside (and startling all the girls in the middle of their meeting), we set it down on a table in the middle of the room and simply said, “We’re sorry and this is our apology.” It took them only about 15 seconds to come to the conclusion that we must have done something upstairs and, in panic, everyone ran to the stairway! They found all the chairs and toilet paper “decorations” in the hall, but all their room doors were locked. Wrongly concluding that we had been in their rooms and must have messed them up as well, they panicked and assumed we must have gone into their underwear drawers – but they couldn’t get in! The housemother, an older woman in her late 60’s finally trudged up the stairs with the master key to unlock their rooms. But all they found in the rooms was the cute toy boats and rubber ducks floating in the blue water in the toilets. It was a huge success of a prank.