Monday, April 1, 2013

Why I dislike pranks

April 1st is traditionally a day of pranks. People try to surprise each other, sometimes harmlessly, sometimes in a variety of nasty ways. They say they do this because "it's funny", but I think it's actually because succeeding makes them feel superior to their victim.

I don't like pranks in general, and I think it's rather self-defeating to have a fixed day devoted to them, when anyone aware of the date will be on high alert when reading news stories or in any social interaction.

I have been trying to understand why I particularly dislike this sort of humour, and have reached several conclusions.

First, I don't like anything cruel or harmful. There are enough accidents in the world, and enough evil people who do cruel and harmful things but not because it's funny. I would like to discourage people from doing anything "for a laugh" when the victim will be harmed in some way, even if only temporarily. As a sensitive person, I can imagine feeling hurt, humiliated, or even violated for long after the prank was over, and never trusting the person again, and getting angry if they said "where's your sense of humour?", as they tend to.

Second, I don't think it's necessary to laugh at the stupid things people can be made to believe. The gullibility of human beings is not really something surprising or noteworthy. I don't enjoy the sense of smugness people have when they say (or imply) "Ha, you fell for it, you idiot!". There is enough false information out there without inventing things just to see who believes it.

Finally, I just generally don't like surprises. I suppose that might be because I like to be in control of my life and to have stability. So just as I don't like pranks, even the relatively harmless ones, I also don't like the idea of surprise parties and things like the sort of marriage proposals that have a whole surprise production behind them. I think people like to surprise each other pleasantly, for example with gifts, to show that they have been thinking about each other when they are apart and making a special effort. But for me the joy of a relationship or close friendship is being together and sharing thoughts and experiences, so choosing gifts together can be more fun than trying to surprise each other.

I would prefer a world with less surprises, good or bad, and more trust, honesty, and genuine communication.

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