Yes! I So Scared You!
Do you enjoy scaring people?
Ten Reasons Not To Scare People
I need to be honest with you about something. All my life, I’ve enjoyed scaring people. You may be tempted now to write me off as a bully. I don’t blame you. Still, you need to know that it’s not a daily or weekly occurrence. Now that you know this, you probably want to write my behavior off as being influenced by Halloween or a full moon, right? Well, as nice as it would be to do that, I can’t. You see my need to scare people has nothing to do with the time of day or year. It could be Easter Sunday or high noon and, if the urge overcomes me and I know you well, I wouldn’t recommend entering a room with high back chairs as I might be hiding behind one about to pop out at you. Truthfully, there is no explanation for my behavior and I’ve stopped trying to find one. Yet, I do realize that scaring people isn’t very wise and will continue to work on controlling that urge. On the off chance that you enjoy scaring others as much (or even more than) as I do, I offer you the following ten reasons why we should “cease and desist.”
The most obvious reason why you shouldn’t scare someone is that it is mean. Though it is done (or should be at least) in fun, the victim doesn’t always agree right off of the bat. Furthermore, your attempt at self-amusement is an interruption to their daily routine even when it takes place on the slowest of days. For this reason, I recommend you know your subject well and only pick on the people who can take it. Though it has never happened to me personally, I have known people who have lost friends due to a prank gone wrong. Put simply, there are abundantly sensitive people out there who don’t like to be made fools of and will hold a grudge till the end of time if you do just that. If you are unsure if your friend will react well or not, resist that urge until you know the answer. No one wants to considered a jerk if they can help it.
- Oh! My Ticker!
Does the person you are about to play a prank on have a bad heart or another health problem that could be exacerbated by getting scared? If the answer is “yes” or “I’m not sure” I recommend you not scare them. Though I am ashamed to say this, I always used to jump out from behind things when my grandmother was entering the room because I knew she would still love me after and because of the funny noise she makes when she’s startled. Learning as an adult that my grandmother has a bad heart, I feel grateful that I never accidentally killed her. With this in mind, I never scare someone if I know they have a bad heart or come from a family with heart problems. Unless you are strong enough to be able to live knowing you scared someone to death, I suggest you don’t take the risk either.
- That’ll Cost You!
We unfortunately live in a world where people sue first and talk things out later. Considering our current economy and the wide-spread desire to make an easy dollar, unless you have money to burn through or know for a fact that you don’t associate with someone who would sue you, I suggest you prank with caution. It would really stink if you lost every penny, you have defending yourself against a foolish lawsuit filed by a former friend that experienced chest pains after you jumped out at them.
- What’s That Smell?
Try as we might to control ourselves, when we get scared, embarrassing bodily functions often occur. Though most people are joking when they say, “You made me crap/pee my pants!” for fear that someone will say this to me and actually mean it, I am motivated to control my desire to scare people. True such an occurrence would mean a job well done, but I’d prefer being treated to a scream than a puddle. Unless you have a stuffy nose or actually enjoy the smell of those movements, I recommend you wait till they’ve gone to the bathroom to carry out your scare. It’s just more sanitary that way.
- You Again?
After you’ve scared someone once, they tend to expect to be scared by you again. Though you sometimes can trick them into getting scared a second time by the same prank, chances are it won’t work. More annoying still is the possibility that they’ll prepare others for the prank you pulled on them thus ruining your chances of scaring others in the same way. All too easily, your pranks can become stale and you a boring and predictable scarer. For this reason, if you want to be good at scaring others, it is wise to have a large arsenal of scares locked away in your mind and to not strike in the same way twice. When it comes to scaring people, there’s nothing worse (well, aside from death that is) than realizing you’ve become boring. In short, a good scarer is a creative scarer. Unoriginal people need not apply.
- It Just Isn’t the Same
On a connected note, it can get boring to scare people. For example, you’ve got this highly original prank that scares people silly no matter how many times you play it on them or how many people know about it. Yet, one day, you realize that undertaking the prank has become taxing and mind-numbing. People’s screams don’t provide you with the same thrill that they once did. Your talent has become blah due to overexposure. For this reason, I recommend you frighten people sparingly so that you never get bored with it. Too many good pranks have died too soon because the creator has gotten tired of playing it. It’s quite sad.
If you are going to scare someone, you need to be prepared to get hit. I’ve found that when you scare people, they have tendency to act out physically towards you. One of the biggest reasons why I decided to limit the amount of the scares I committed was the number of bruises I would find on my body for the days following a particularly good scare. Unless you have thick skin or enjoy getting hit (I don’t judge.), I would recommend you only scare the people you can take on. However, don’t forget that strength can come in small packages.
- I Didn’t Get You That Bad.
People often forget that the scarer can easily become the scaree. I know firsthand that retaliation is very real and, more often than not, worse than the initial offense. Growing up, though it was rare, I was able to scare my middle brother who was the self-proclaimed king of scares and pranks. For the days following my successful prank, I would be petrified. You see for every one scream or shiver I would elicit from him; he would get a hundred out of me. He did not like getting a taste of his own medicine and made anyone who scared him pay dearly. My big scare of jumping out of a closet at him turned into him hiding under my bed at my bedtime, pulling me under by my ankles as I moved to get in and tickling me until I peed, or my mother heard my screams and came running. Even as an adult, I still am cautious about scaring him for fear of what he’ll do to me. The next time you are about to scare someone try to consider what damage they could do to you. No, caution isn’t fun. Still, waiting for your comeuppance isn’t a picnic either.
- Where’d My Good Karma Go?
Though it is done for tame reasons, I can’t imagine scaring someone to be good for your karma. Yes, some people may chalk it up to unsubstantiated superstition or unwise decisions, but I feel as if nature has made me pay in small ways for my pranks. If you believe that everything happens for a reason and we are judged by people or a presence beyond our sight, it is then not irrational to consider that pranks and/or scares never go unpunished. Whether it be an unexpected fright (i.e., a pedestrian walking into the street and nearly getting hit by your slowing moving vehicle) or something not going as planned (i.e., a document arriving too early or too soon thus making your job harder), nature returns the favor we bestowed upon another by interrupting our day and jolting us into a state of discomfort like we did to our victim. The next time you scare someone and not too long after you are faced with a minor, unexplainable occurrence that makes your day harder perhaps you too will be able to make the same correlation as I have. Nature has a way of spanking us on the butt for our indiscretions when we least expect it.
- Officer, I Can Explain.
Far too easily, scares can go too far. For example, you envision scaring a friend by throwing a soft object at them when they least expect it. As you’re going to find that object, it occurs to you that perhaps you should throw the object onto their car as they’re driving into your driveway. You find the object and wait on your porch for your friend to arrive. Suddenly, it hits you that it would be even funnier if you caught them on the street leading up to your house and threw it then. So, you wait at corner for their car to approach you. In the distance, you see their car and raise your arm to throw. All too late (late as in after you’ve thrown the object), you realize that while this may be the make and model of your friend’s car it isn’t your friend behind the wheel. The driver you just startled is actually a stranger with a heart problem who is clutching their chest in pain. Will your joke provide the paramedics and police with a laugh? You won’t know until they get there, but I doubt it.
Though this scenario is an extreme one, it illustrates (or should anyway) how easily pranks and scares can go wrong. Wanting so badly to do a good job, we keep enthusiastically magnifying the prank until harmless becomes a near tragedy. True, no one should be allowed to put a limit on your imagination. Still, you need to have enough sense to be able to differentiate between the elements of what would make a good prank and what will surely land you behind bars. The line is thin, but it must be ever present.
It is an undeniable fact that scaring people can be fun. However, it can be dangerous and should be done with discretion especially when hearts are at risk. The next time you feel the urge to scare someone, I recommend you consider the trouble it could cause. Without a doubt, scares can cost a lot more than they are worth.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2009 L A Walsh