Pranks aren’t by nature unique to Christianity. That I’m aware of, there’s no recorded history of C.S. Lewis pantsing J.R.R. Tolkien. Pranks by themselves don’t really fit the formula of this site, but apologizing after? Serving penance for a church-related prank that went horribly wrong or even horribly right? That’s us through and through.
But the truth is, you don’t need this post today. You should file it away for Thursday, the day after April Fool’s Day. If you’re going to pull some shenanigans or tom foolery or perhaps even get in a donnybrook, this Wednesday is your day. Live it up.
But after, when your youth minister or Senior Pastor or local reporter stumbles upon the prank you have perpetuated, when like Richard Marx* you realize “you should have known better” than to fit that many bees into so small a sleeping bag, you’ll be glad this post so clearly laid out the categories of prank apologies based on the terrol level color coded system the United States uses.
Category 1: Green – Low Risk Prank
Hey look at that, you stuck some forks in someone’s yard, but you didn’t break them off because that felt too mean and unChristlike. And you called a few people from church and hung up on them when they answered the phone. That’s adorable. This barely requires an apology.
Apology Required: Facebook Status Change
Change your facebook status to something like, “Sorry about the prank. Hope nobody’s feelings got hurt.” Or “Kids will be kids.”
Category 2: Blue – General Risk Prank
That’s not going to grow back. I’m just saying, when you put that much on at once, and mix it with that other thing, wow, you’re leaving a permanent impression. I mean it’s not that big, but neighbors are going to see it for at least the next six months.
Apology Required: Email
You better send the victim an email. Nothing long, just a few lines about your deep regret for your actions and how your immaturity sometimes gets the better of you and at the end of the day you both love Jesus, so no hard feelings.
Category 3: Yellow – Significant Risk Prank
Prank Elders are kind of like elephants, they never forget and I’m pretty sure that guy isn’t going to. Where do you even get those? They’re just so fast and jumpy. I’m assuming you know a guy that knows a guy, but is there any chance that guy knows a guy that can get them out of the elder’s house? It’s not going to be easy because they seem so motivated and reproductive but maybe we could smoke them out?
Apology Required: Phone Call
Forget the Internet, you’ve entered into real apology time now. Pick up the phone and be ready to outline what you did as well as the three things you learned from this tragic mistake of a prank you pulled. (If you can’t think of three things, feel free to use one of my go to lines when I’ve bombed, “Turns out I’m dumb.” I keep learning that lesson and it’s always a nice way to round out a list.)
Category 4: Orange – High Risk Prank
Yeah, but you knew it was the Senior Pastor’s house right? I’ve got to assume you did because even the youth minister was in on this one. On a positive note, at least we know the fire department can find his house. And their response time, wow! Very impressive. I told you that was highly flammable, but to hear the fire chief use the phrase “river of lava,” wow. You’re going to need to get a paper route to pay this one back or raise money online or hold a car wash at Chick-fil-A.
Apology Required: Face to Face
This goes beyond a simple phone call. You might need to hand write a note, call ahead to set up the official apology and then bring over some sort of casserole. This apology is going to be as complicated as the prank was. The general rule for a face to face apology is that you have to spend three minutes apologizing for every one minute you spent pulling off the prank. So if it took you 30 minutes to do the prank, expect 90 minutes of “sorry” in your future.
Category 5: Red – Severe Risk Prank
The community will heal. I mean we’re a very resilient group of people. We’ve faced hardship before and this, that thing you did to all of us in one fell swoop, we’ll get through that. And the cats will come back someday. They are a proud animal and probably left out of embarrassment more than anything else. They’ll come back. I know they will.
Apology Required: Speech to the Church Congregation
May God have mercy on your soul if you ever have to apologize to the whole congregation from the pulpit. I’ve never had to do this, but if you find yourself in this position, whatever you do, don’t take questions from the crowd. Don’t open the meeting up to Q&A. You are going to come out on the losing end of this one. And I’m not telling you to fake cry, but you might want to fake cry.
Hopefully this list will make April 2nd easier for all of us that decide to pull a prank on April 1st.
What’s the best prank you ever took part in?
What’s the best prank someone pulled on you?
*That’s Richard Marx reference number two for the year. I promised to make three in 2009. I’m ahead of schedule!