Thursday, April 30, 2009

i <3 nerds


My friend Kelly sent me this photoessay of MIT pranks throughout history.

Alas, it doesn't include my favorite stories (urban legends?), which are all related to crashing Harvard-Yale football games.

My favorite of all time was the summer the MIT kids came to the Harvard football field everyday dressed like jailers. Everyday, they scattered birdseed all over the field and blew whistles. (So you can imagine what happened at the beginning of the first home game when the refs ran out and blew THEIR whistles.)

Any good school prank stories?

17 comments:

A P Mullaly said...

The all time best college prank is the following: http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/Hoaxipedia/Great_Rose_Bowl_Hoax/

It happened when my Dad was at CalTech, but he wasn't involved in the planning. But if you can get a whole stadium to show the wrong sign, you're doing something right.

Emily Cross said...

sorry for the offtopic comment but thought you'd be interested that Penguin books announced a new literary award for writers from the african continent.

http://www.penguinbooks.co.za/african-winners/index.php

Definitly some writers that need to be added to one of my 100 list

Sarah Laurenson said...

I'm going to have to find the RPI cheer that uses derivatives. Now where to start looking. Um...

Jolie said...

Hooray for the geeks! I enjoyed the photo of the dome dressed up as R2D2. But there were way too many road signs ("geek crossing" etc).

A story from my family (not exactly a prank, but I like it): My mom has three older brothers.
The middle one was his high school's star basketball player. During a game with the rival school, a rival player fouled my uncle pretty violently. Everybody went crazy, including my youngest uncle, who ran onto the court and punched out the offending rival player. Of course the referees went after him as he ran from the gym. Unfortunately for them, he was the star of the track team. They never caught him. The next day, the principal called my grandparents to his office to congratulate them on their family of athletes.

moonrat said...

hahahahahha these are awesome. thanks, guys.

Jolie, i like that principal.

Charles Gramlich said...

Hum, we did a few painting mascots and team names on watertowers in our oppossing teams' towns sometimes. But that's about it.

JES said...

Here's another good gallery of these MIT things.

One of my favorite practical jokes (post school years, though) was when a future brother-in-law and I invented a fictitious Ninth Annual Reunion Committee (NARC) for our high school class -- "we who can't wait for 10!" We shared the idea with another friend, who didn't think it was that funny. In retaliation, we wrote a letter describing the planned festivities, and urging those interested to send their deposit check to, yes, the skeptical friend... and mailed the only copy of that letter to the guy himself. Now, THAT was a funny phone call.

Rick Daley said...

Here's a good one from a high school near me. It made the national news. One kid thought it up and coordinated it. He got a group of people on the rival team to each hold up a piece of colored paper, and when they all did, it formed a sign that said "WE SUCK."

Here is 1 minute YouTube video of it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lemhDgYLbT0

freddie said...

It's not a college story, but when my dad was in the army reserves back in the '50s, his Sergeant called him into his office and said, "I understand you nearly completed your master's degree in Engineering."

Actually my dad nearly completed his master's in English, but he said, "If you say so, sir." (I guess you NEVER contradicted your superiors in the army).

Basically, he wound up agreeing to design a machine to clean the trays in the mess hall. Allowed to eschew all their usual duties, he and his team "worked" on the design for three months. (One word: POKER.) The day they were scheduled to leave, the team turned in a "design," a conglomeration of equations and sketches.

"Here you go," they said to the Sergeant. "Now all you have to do is find someone to build the machine."

I wonder if that Sergeant ever did actually manage to get it built.

Rebecca Knight said...

Master Chief and the R2-D2 dome are hilarious :P! Thanks for sharing, Moonie!

Andrew Wheeler said...

There's a great book by Neil Steinberg -- a criminally underrated but wonderful writer of non-fiction books -- about college pranks, with the perfect title If At All Possible, Involve a Cow. It has a great list of MIT and CalTech pranks.

And the definitive book on MIT Hacks in general is Nightwork by T.F. Peterson, MIT's own historian.

Megan Frampton said...

My mom worked at MIT (she was a secretary), and while it's not a practical joke necessarily, I always liked walking over the bridge to Boston from MIT--some of the students took a guy named "Smoot" and measured how many Smoots it took to cross the bridge, writing his name on the sidewalk in measured stages.

writtenwyrdd said...

Gotta love geek humor!

The comments in this post are awesome. I now must find a copy of "If At All Possible Involve a Cow"

Kerry Blaisdell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kerry Blaisdell said...

When I was in HS, some guys in my math class came in after school and hung all the desks from the ceiling. Unfortunately, the teacher came in early, saw them, and cut them all down. So the next week, the same guys took every single desk out of the classroom to the teacher's house and set them up on his lawn overnight, including his own desk. So when he went outside the following morning, there they all were!

Not related to football, but one of my personal faves. :)

Anonymous said...

Our geometry teacher in HS (private) gave an inspiring speech about how some of the Hebrew children carried the important pieces of the Tabernacle but some just got to carry the boards -- both being important.

The next day my buddies and I raided the workshop and entered geometry class carrying our boards.(2X4's) Mrs. Dreher was a good sport about it and just rolled her eyes and smiled.

Willow said...

In high school, my Civics teacher made it a point to never share his political affiliation with anyone. Well, during election season, my class collected every political sign in town and placed them in his yard (he lived on a major roadway). He was even home when this happened.

The local newspapers did stories on it and everyone thought it was a great prank, especially the teacher.