I’ve always loved to look at the packaged jokes and pranks you find at beachside shops and party stores, wondering if they actually work and if you could actually fool someone. I’ve never pulled off a good prank myself, although I used to tell my sister she was adopted from China and that her real name was Apple Sauce. The point was to say it over and over until she finally stormed out of the room to ask, “mom, is my name Apple Sauce?”
The packaged little pranks I’m talking about have been around since I was a kid. There’s stuff like candy that turns your victim’s mouth blue, a gum pack that shocks you, a fake winning lotto ticket. It’s the same classic crap, remaining unchanged in its packaging.
One year at the beach, I decided to part with one of my dollars to try out one of these tricks. I chose the super-flaming-hot toothpicks that looked like regular old toothpicks, but were actually coated in a rare chili pepper from Belize that measured 900,000 Scoville Units. Yeah, Scoville Units.
It was so hot that getting the oregano out of your teeth would be the last mistake you ever made. So hot, your head would burst into flames, just like the illustration on the packaging. So hot that haha, it’s actually a trick, and I would burst into laughter. Clearly with these toothpicks, I had made the best choice.
I marched out of the store, proud of myself, grinning. Shrewdly, I went up to my father and offered him a toothpick. He played along, taking it. The anticipation was my favorite and my best.
He looked at me. No flames. “What’s it s’posed to do?” he asked, picking his teeth.
I tried one myself. It was barely cinnamon-flavored. Big Red was spicier than this deadly toothpick. My heart sunk; afterall, this is the kind of stuff that’s heartbreaking when you’re 9. Later when you grow up, things like losing your job, losing your pet, or losing the Elvis shower curtain during a breakup will break your heart, (the monster), but when you’re a kid, getting stuck with crap is when it really hurts. Pranks that don’t work. Dud sparklers. A party hat where the string snaps off. GREAT. HOW am I supposed to wear this thing around my head now?
Recently, I decided to give these little tricks another chance. I’d buy a bunch of them and try them out. I chose as carefully as I had that fateful day at the beach, looking for the jokes that intrigued my sense of curiosity and spoke to THE SURFING PIZZA’S mission of crap. Here is my review of crappy pranks.
Prank Numero Uno: Foaming Sugar
This was easy choice–fake sugar that when slipped into a someone’s beverage, would cause it to erupt violently. That’s what I pictured, a miniature volcano. I was so excited about the prospect of this gag that I did this one first. I cracked open a fresh can of blue Moutain Dew for the occasion. I added the foaming sugar. The Moutain Dew weakly burbled and fizzed.
Can’t say I was disappointed. Instead, I was shocked. That’s it? That’s all it does? Where is my eruption? Where is my blue volcano of Mountain Dew? This is supposed to give your victim a heart attack out of fear. How would this give anyone a heart attack?
Phew. I composed myself.
Well then. At the very least, the foaming sugar must turn your victim’s beverage into a toxic poison swill.
There were no warnings on the packaging not to ingest the substance, and I’m sure these products are held to the same rigid standards that all products coming from China are held to here in the United States. So I did what any sane person would do next. I tried it. I expected to drop dead instantly, but I continued living, and the Mountain Dew just tasted sweeter.
I pushed that crap aside. Let’s move on to Prank Numero Dos, Glass-Breaking Sound Maker:
I was excited about this one too–two pieces of metal that when dropped, make an earth-shattering, glass-breaking sound. The website promised this gag was a classic, so this one I figured had some replay value. I could use this baby over and over. I could make my roommates think I’d broken all their dishes, and I could make waitresses in restaurants go cross-eyed, just like in the picture. The waitress in the picture should have just gone back for the last beverage. I think balancing it on top of five other glasses was a bad idea. Just my non-expert opinion.
I ripped ’em out the package and threw ’em on the floor. Again, to my shock, it did not sound like glass. It sounded like I’d just thrown a couple of forks on the floor. Yeah, that’ll scare the crap outta people, dropping your fork on the floor. Christ, you know it ain’t easy.
To prove it sounded like utensils, and not glass-as-advertised, I took a video. I’m going mad and I’ve thrown the kitchen drawer on the floor!
See? It’s crap. Let’s keep this thing right on a-goin. Prank Numero Tres: Disgusting Saliva!
This one was pretty neat. While other body fluids, like fake puke, fake blood, and fake snot are fairly standard and ho-hum, fake saliva is something I want and need in my life. (I’m so proud to have written that last sentence.) Yes, in my right mind, I willingly paid a dollar plus shipping for a clear piece of rubber. The picture on the packaging is worth a dollar to me; that guy’s got green saliva, and the other guy’s got two piles of it dripping on him.
With this gag, you gotta be creative. It gets me thinking. You know who was a great gag guy–Uncle Joey on Full House. What would Joey do?
Just an aside–every time I go to Trader Joe’s, I get that Ranger Joe theme song stuck in my head. Yep, I’ve watched quite my fill of Full House, a show where every traumatic problem is solved with a hug and promise of frozen yogurt. (But it still doesn’t solve the problem of how to get that STUPID snapped-string party hat on my head.)
Anyway, here’s the Shoney’s Bear strung out on Foaming Mountain Dew. He passed out and drooled on his Shoney’s shirt.
Don’t worry kids, Shoney’s was still breathing. But it looks like he’s gonna need a hangover breakfast buffet.
Prank Numbero Fouro. (I know, I know, I’m really on Cuatro. I took my Spanish.) Fish Tasting Lollipop.
I imagine anyone who has ever bought these edible jokes has ended up eating it themselves. You try to hand off the world’s most generic-wrapped candy to a friend. You will most likely be confronted with a skeptical “why, what’s wrong with it?” Oh nothing, it just tastes like you’re licking a carp.
Alright, here goes nothing. I was about to lick a lollipop flavored like fish. Ahem, a “naughty lollipop”.
There was no fish. It tasted like licorice. It was not a bad flavor, and actually somewhat soothing to my stomach which had begun to burble from the earlier sip of foaming sugar Mountain Dew. I do it for science. I do it for the children. I do it for THE SURFING PIZZA.
At this point, all the little pranks were turning out to be complete and utter crap. But I had to keep trudging on, because I still had more crap to go. I still had Prank Numero Cinco de Mayo: Smelly Feet Treats!
I think the illustration on this packaging is top-notch. If the illustration was any indication, once I unwrapped this candy, it was going to smell and taste like after I take my gym shoes off. On the back of the packaging were two things of interest:
1) Smelly Feet Treats’ secret ingredient was cheese-flavor. I was excited as hell. What could be grosser than cheese-flavored candy? This trick would be sure to come through as a worthy gag. 2) It claimed to contain tres pieces of candy, although there were obviously only dos.
I opened the package. There was no smell. My freezer smells worse than this, and my freezer isn’t supposed to smell cheese-flavored. The look of this candy is pretty foul–they got the cheese-yellow color just right, but again, try to pass this off on on one of your friends. You’d have an easier time convincing them to play Full House: The Board Game with you. I say this not from experience.
I popped one of the imaginary three in my mouth. To my dismay, it was not bad. I didn’t detect top-notes of cheese or hints of feet. Instead, I tasted an almost-pleasant vanilla, as my stomach rumbled mightily. It was still working on that foaming Moutain Dew.
Thank God I had only one more piece of crap to get through: Number Six. (No more Espanol.) Pan & Sticky Egg.
What is Pan and Sticky Egg, and how is it a joke? I had no idea, but it was on sale at the website for a dollar. Perhaps the joke is that you’re five and playing with the stove, pretending to fry an egg when Mom walks in. Perhaps the joke is that you toss the egg at a friend. Perhaps the joke is nothing, like the rest of these jokes, just another sucker waste of your beach money.
I’m perplexed that I got not one, but two pans. The egg is weird, a water-filled blob that’s sticky and mutant-like. No, really, the egg is freaking weird. Watch how the thing plops and slowly regains composure.
It looks like a T-1000 from The Terminator.
Told ya. It’s a weird egg. For the hell of it, I dropped it in the glass of foaming Moutain Dew. The world is my oyster. I can do what I want. Enjoy, and goodnight.