Welcome to Professor Cramulus’ Fun Lab

Greetings and Beatings, spagwads and spaguettes from the far reaches of the internet. This week I am kicking off a new feature here at Verwirrung. My corner of the blog, which is theoretically going to be regularly updated, will feature a recurring posts about GAMES, PRANKS, JAKES, and MINDFUCKS.

In my column, which is called Professor Cramulus’ Fun Lab, you’ll read about awesome stuff you can do. Like many, I am not satisfied by movies and TV and the various forms of cultural idolatry available in 2009. I prefer hobbies which allow me to participate creatively. To that end, I intend on telling you about pranks, games, and projects which you can actually get involved with. I’d also like to talk about varying forms of Guerilla Surrealism, (culture jamming, situationism, etc) which I consider a delightful form of game.

I’m really interested in games. It’s weird, but I think that as an adult, you have to re-learn how to Play. Play is something that kids do naturally. They can entertain themselves using their imaginations, something that astoundingly few adults remember how to do. Games are a way of connecting us back the kind of wide eyed, hysterical, can’t catch my breath I’m laughing too hard fun we had as kids, but now we have the added brainpower of adulthood.

I’m also interested in pranks. Pranks are sort of like satire. They suggest a funny or surprising twist on reality. They also have the ability to help depict what’s wrong with the world. I’m not generally into altruistic pranks. To me, fun is the bottom line. There’s a sort of altruism there though – the world could use a laugh at its own expense.

So in the coming weeks, this column will explore some of those ideas and many other stupid ones. This week, I’ll give you a simple one by Max Flax, from the Apocrypha Discordia. (page 40)

check it out below the tear…

The Mysterious Sheep Eraser Count Down
(a type of of Guerilla Surrealism)

This is an older prank which has been very successful. It’s easy to carry out, and can be taken in a lot of directions. All you really need is a victim – preferably someone who’s already a little bit paranoid. This prank will exacerbate that paranoia.

Here’s how Max Flax did it: He obtained a box of 203 little erasers shaped like sheep. He numbered them from 1 to 203. Every day, he anonymously mailed one of them to his mark. He started at number 203. The next day was number 202. Then 201… As the prank goes on, the tension gets worse. Who is sending me this stuff? What’s it counting down to?

When you get to the end of the countdown, don’t do anything. There is no surprise at the end, no resolution, no relief from this paranoia. The victim is taken to the brink of mania and then abandoned. The curiosity is never satisfied. This victim now has 203 sheep erasers and a really weird anecdote, but no satisfying neatly-wrapped explanations. The weirdness will stay with him forever.

You can send anything, of course. I’d reccommend something weird. If you want to duplicate this prank but don’t have the patience or postage, I reccommend the website OhDontForget.com. The intent of the site is to send text messages to yourself as reminders for birthdays, appointments, whatever. You can specify the time that the website will deliver the message. If you plug in your victim’s phone number, you can use this site to send them a mysterious countdown. You could specify that they’ll receive each text message at midnight. Or maybe you’ll use a random time each day to keep him guessing. The text message will be marked by ohdontforget.com, so the victim will discover HOW the messages are being sent but your identity will remain hidden. If you have the patience, I think the weirdness-by-mail route is a bit more mysterious, although effort intensive.

If you’re going for a longer-term prank, the reintroduction of the target-item into the victim’s life will reactivate the weirdness. Picture your mark, all confused about the 203 sheep erasers. A year later, he sees a sheep eraser in a store, maybe even the store you bought them from, and suddenly his whole day is turned upside down again. Or maybe he finds a sheep eraser on his desk sitting on top of a note. The note just contains a sequence of numbers, with no explanation.

If you try out this, or any of the things I write about in the Fun Lab, please drop a comment and let me know how it went! Likewise, please let me know of any games, pranks, or jakes I should alert everyone to.

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