Whether they were jokes or serious schemes, no one is immune to having the wool pulled over their eyes now and then. Usually, when it happens, we just brush ourselves off and move on with our lives soon after—but what if we never get that chance? As crazy as it sounds, some cons last waaayyy longer than anything most of us would ever expect—and the stories behind them can be even crazier than the tricks themselves. From the hilarious to the shocking, here are 50 true stories about some of the most epic “long cons” people have ever pulled!
1. Bird Is The Word
Here goes! Back in high school, I was a counselor at a local summer camp for elementary school kids. They were all between the ages of seven to ten. For most of the younger kids, this was their first time spending an extended period away from their parents.
Now, this con only lasted three weeks, but, remember, three weeks is a freaking eternity to kids that age—especially at a 24/7 overnight camp. When it finally came together, I felt like an evil genius.
One day, about four days into the camp session, a kid of about eight years old walked up to me holding a huge feather. Based on its large shape and size, I figured it must have been from a hawk or something like that.
He was all excited and proud to have found it. But, for some reason that I’m still not fully clear on, my immediate reaction was to stir up some mayhem rather than congratulate him.
I acted shocked, and said:
“Oh, no! Where did you find that?! That’s a feather from the yellow-bellied lake loon!!!! Oh man, does this mean it’s back??!”! Now, the kid, for his part, was immediately skeptical when I said this.
He smirked and muttered something to the effect of: “Uh huh. It’s just a feather from a big bird. What’s the issue exactly”?
Well, all might have ended there—if not for a sudden stroke of luck. At that very moment, my buddy Derek walked up to us, completely oblivious to the situation he was entering into.
The kid shows him the feather, and, for reasons known only to Jeebus, he says: “Oh, no! Where did you find that”?! Like, it was just absolutely amazing.
The Lord must have wanted this joke to play out the way it did, because there is no other conceivable explanation for that coincidence!
When the kid hears this from Derek, he absolutely freaks out, drops the feather, and runs off. I fill Derek in on what had happened before his arrival, and we both laugh about it, thinking it’s all over.
It wasn’t even close to being over.
Later on, we’re all in the dorms, and the kid walks up with a few older kids, demanding that we tell them all about the loon.
We concoct this story of a giant, yellow-bellied lake loon that was notorious for abducting campers from the lakeshore (and sometimes even from their bunk beds) at this camp many years ago. Another counselor, Daniel, is working behind the dorms at this point and happens to overhear our tale.
The older kids don’t believe us, and question Daniel about it as they go outside. Having heard the Legend of the Loon without their knowledge, he confirms every grizzly detail, thereby sealing it as fact in their little minds.
Before supper, the story had spread throughout the camp, all through the boys’ and girls’ dorms. Amazingness.
Kids would take turns keeping lookout during swim time, and it became an easy way to scare them into submission at bedtime.
Well, we keep this going until there are only three days left in camp for the session. Another counselor, Jeremy, had to be back at his summer job early the next morning. So we hatched a devious plan.
While there, I retrieved this ginormous stuffed lobster toy that I had won at the fair. I literally went McGuyver with some sheets, the lobster toy, and some other miscellaneous costume stuff from the camp’s supplies cabinet. Before long, we had dressed me up like a giant yellow-bellied lake loon.
The fact that I’m well over six feet tall didn’t hurt either!
At around 5:00 the next morning, when Jeremy had to leave camp, I came bursting into the boys’ dorm, cacawing and flapping my “wings”.
I stormed Jeremy in his bed, dragging him out of the dorm, him screaming all the while. There was total and absolute pandemonium. Kids were screaming, crying, and terrified. Meanwhile, Jeremy got into his car and drove home, never to be seen by the campers again.
We eventually got most of them settled down, but not all. About six of the kids were so freaked out that their parents actually had to drive up and scoop them home early. We never admitted to the parents that we knew anything about it, and never assured the campers that it was just a prank and that Jeremy was safe and sound.
So, yes, that means what you think it means. Somewhere out there in this big wide world of ours, there are a few 23 to 26-year-old men with a debilitating fear of birds, thinking they witnessed a guy’s demise even though he is still alive and well to this day. And ya know what?
It was so much darn fun, that I would definitely do it all again!
2. When Size Does Matter
For several months as a child, I systematically conditioned my younger brother to think it was cool to have a super small…”thingie”.
I’d “insult” him by saying that his was “sooo big,” and I’d “brag” saying that mine was “sooo small”. The efforts all paid off one day when I had some friends over and we did something that made him super angry. He aggressively screamed at me, “Your [you know what] is so big, you gotta roll it up and stick it in a backpack!
I just stood there and enjoyed the feeling of complete and utter triumph. The look on my friends’ faces was priceless. Best moment of my entire life.
3. Bringing New Meaning To “Driving Someone Crazy”
So a co-worker of mine liked to play little daily pranks as he would pass my desk.
These would usually include things such as flipping over my mouse, turning off my monitor, or other little mild annoyances. The usual little things. Nothing malicious, but I warned him that if he kept it up, I would eventually hit back hard.
He didn’t take that warning seriously, and I made him regret it.
As April rolled around, I decided that it was finally time to teach him about the consequences of his actions. Acquiring a few of the “annoy-a-tron” toys from Thinkgeek was step one. For those of you who don’t know, the annoy-a-trons are little battery-powered circuit boards with a magnet that beeps at random intervals.
Once I had my stash of these delightful machines, it was then just a matter of waiting for him to step away from his desk so I could set up my grand plan. Now, a normal human being would have simply hidden the devices in his cubicle, waited until he came back, and laughed at his confusion when the beeping started to bug him.
But I’m no ordinary human being. Like I warned him several times, I hit back hard. Instead of going after his workspace, I snuck over to his desk, grabbed his keys, and snuck out to his car.
I then hid the devices under his steering column. Finally, I locked the doors, returned his keys to the exact spot on his desk where he had left them, and went back to work.
While I spent the next few minutes thinking about how hilarious this was going to be and waiting to see how he would react, I quickly got swept up in my work for the day and eventually forgot all about it.
I went about my normal life, with no recollection at all of what I had done. It never once dawned on me to follow up and try and see what had happened or when he had discovered the beeping.
Four entire months passed before I finally remembered and figured I should try and ask around about what had happened. I finally casually mentioned to another co-worker (who is a close friend of the victim’s) if said victim had ever mentioned anything about a beeping coming from his car. In less than a split second, this guy’s eyes went huge.
He aggressively said: “What do you know about that?!”?! As it turns out, the two of them had recently spent eight hours on a road trip, driving to a ski resort together. The beeping had been going off and driving them nuts the whole way.
The victim had taken the car to the dealership twice to try and locate the source of the beeping, with no luck. He was strongly considering selling the car at this point.
Now, once again, a normal human being would have at this point copped to what he had done, gotten a laugh, called a win, and moved on with life. But not yours truly.
Instead, I took his friend into my confidence, explained what I had done, and then recruited said friend to help me sneak back out to his car, change the battery on the device (which was getting kind of low), and then add yet another beeping device, this time with a different tone.
His friend ate the idea up, and we hid it inside the door compartment on his driver-side door.
Yet another period of two full months passed before anything further happened. By this point, I had told practically the entire company about this gag. And somehow, the entire company had managed to keep the secret, largely due to sympathy for my side of things thanks to his reputation as a prankster.
His friend and I had been watching him to make sure he hadn’t decided to sell the car. Then, finally, one day he came up to me and told me he was about to go and drop a few hundred bucks on an analyzer to see what the heck could be causing all the beeping.
Now, with something built up this elaborately and for this long, I couldn’t just walk up and simply explain what I had done.
I needed a way to ease into telling him the truth.
That’s when I came up with my evilest plan yet. Once again, we waited for him to leave his desk, and then snagged his keys. Recovering the devices from the car, we hid them inside his cubicle walls, and waited.
When he returned, he heard the beeps. Immediately, he jumps up and yells “There it is! That’s the beeping that’s been going on in my car”!
His friend, in a level of acting skills that I can only describe as deserving of an Oscar nomination, managed to say, with a straight face:
“Hey, maybe it’s a low battery warning in your keyfob”. The victim had one of those keys with the remote unlock button. The look of pure joy on this guy’s face at possibly having solved his now half a year-long dilemma would have made the whole enterprise worth it.
It was now time to wrap everything up in epic fashion. Through our company’s instant messaging app, I sent him a link to the annoy-a-tron being for sale on a website. After opening the link, he had a moment of confusion, wondering why I had sent it to him.
He even commented: “Yeah, I’ve seen those before”. I smiled to myself and looked over at his cubicle to watch him put the pieces of the puzzle together in his head.
The series of emotions that crossed his face when the truth finally dawned on him will warm my blackened heart for as long as I draw breath.
But the best part was when he realized that his best friend, who he had been coming to for help in trying to find a solution for most of the time, was one of the main people in on perpetuating it for all that time.
As the news of what had happened spread throughout the office, the rest of that day was filled with people who had known about it yelling “BEEP” as he passed them in the halls. I think I had sufficiently proven my claim to him that when someone pranks me, I hit back hard. Needless to say, the guy steered clear of pranking me again for a while after that!
4. Money (That’s What He Wants)
This is more of a serious one. I had a roommate a couple years ago who was notoriously terrible at saving any of his money. He was in really bad debt and sinking further and further into financial ruin.
He was also my best friend, so I wanted to help him in any little ways that I could. I had tried making him a budget, holding on to his money to give him small allowances, and even lying to him about where I was going so he wouldn’t come out to the bars with me and spend more on drinks.
He was terribly embarrassed and hid his debt from everyone, but I knew all about it. And I had a truly ingenious plan. For the three years that we lived together, I lied to him about the amount of rent we owed and the price of our utility bills.
I would take the extra money and send it to his mom. His mom would then use that money to pay off his multiple credit card debts.
He was so humiliated about his debt that he wouldn’t even have his credit card statements sent to our place, and had them sent to his mom’s instead.
He never thought she opened them. While he thought he was just racking up interest by not paying his bills, they were actually being paid every month. By him. Via us, of course; and without his knowledge.
Me and his mom didn’t knock out his debt completely, but we did a pretty good job of taking care of most of it. And for a very long time, he had no idea that we were doing this.
Be smart with your finances, kids! This whole situation was all the result of a lot of stupid financial decisions that he made during college, the most obvious being that he treated credit cards as if they weren’t actual money that he would later have to pay for.
He had gotten to the point where he thought his debt was inescapable and he couldn’t see a way out of it, so he had just stopped paying. I just wanted to help him by shaving off some of that outstanding balance so that he could possibly see the light at the end of the tunnel again.
I know it was a pretty dumb thing to do, but I was young and truly had the best intentions.
Eventually, after more than a year of this secret payment system going on behind his back, he found out.
He was furious when he first realized what we had been doing. His mom ended up sitting him down to explain that he could feasibly pay some of his balance back every month while still making rent…because he had been doing just that unknowingly all along.
5. Waving The Normal Requirements
I once convinced a friend of mine that if you wave at a koala bear for long enough, it will eventually wave back. I’d actually forgotten that I had convinced her of this until she sent me an angry text saying that she’d been to the zoo with her family, proudly told them this “fact,” and then began waving.
They all laughed at her. I called her and laughed too.
6. Room And Board
One day in college, I showed up at some friends’ house to meet them and they all weren’t there, but the door was unlocked.
Suddenly, I had an amazing, terrible idea. I walked in and wrote “You’ll never know what I took” on their kitchen whiteboard, and walked back out. I then forgot all about it. It must have been a year or so later when I heard them casually talking about the stuff they lost in “the robbery”.
I asked them what they were talking about and they mentioned the note on the whiteboard. Apparently, they had been blaming the disappearance of random items around their house on it for the whole year.
One guy who lived there even claimed that his iPod was taken. I still have never told them that I was the one behind the whole thing!
7. An Unlikely Victim
Back in my days in the Armed Forces, a dude in my squad once convinced most of our unit that we were slated to return to our home base a month ahead of time.
The con started with him just trying to mess around with another platoon. Soon, the false rumor spread to the entire company, and then it went battalion-wide. It got to the point where even our Platoon Sergeants believed it.
The best part? The dude totally forgot that he had started the rumor and got angry when it was addressed a couple of weeks before the supposed departure. When they announced that we were not actually returning at that time, he was just as mad as everyone else.
But after a bit of piecing the game of telephone together in his mind, he realized that he was angry at himself.
8. Dog Days
When I walk my dogs, I always keep dog treats in my pocket.
While driving to school one day, I notice I have them in my pocket and my friend, Tenzin, who I am giving a ride to, sees them and asks if he can have one—not realizing they were dog treats. Me being a jerk, I say, “Sure, I forgot I even had these” and give him some.
He eats a few of them, completely oblivious to what they really are, and when he says they are gross I tell him that’s probably because they are dog treats. He gets very angry, but then hatches a plan to get my best friend Colin to also eat some.
Every Friday, me, Tenzin, and Colin go to my house to play pool and stuff, so we knew we could get him to eat some there. During the week, while Colin was around, Tenzin would ask if I had any more of those “mini biscuits” (they looked like hard mini biscuits) and I would always only have one left and give it to him.
Colin would always ask for one also and I would say, “Sorry, I only had one left and he asked first”.
We did this about three times, and Colin would get annoyed because he wanted to try them.
When it was finally Friday and we were all at my house playing pool, I asked if anyone wanted some and he was very excited. The moment I’d been waiting for was finally here.
I have a poker face like no other, so when he tries his first one and says they are good I could keep calm and act like nothing is happening.
But Tenzin couldn’t. By the time Tenzin composed himself, Colin was suspicious. So I grabbed a few and turned the corner, saying I was going to the bathroom to wash my hands before I ate them.
In reality, I was putting them in a bucket we have on a shelf in there. When I came out and had none, I didn’t mention it but Colin noticed it and was again assured that they were good to eat.
I pretended to have a few more, but when he wasn’t looking I put them in the baskets that the billiard balls drop into on the sides. When Colin finished the bowl of a good 30 dog treats, we finally told him what they really were.
He didn’t believe me, so I showed him the ones in the bucket and the ones in the billiard nets. And then he realized he had just been tricked. He was pretty cool about it, just saying the normal, “Screw you guys, what the heck, darn it, etc”.
He then surprised us all by saying: “Well, they were good anyway”! and we moved on with the game.
Me and Tenzin laughed for a good 10 minutes straight, while Colin just had one of those smiling but cheesed-off looks on his face.
To this day, I still tease him about it from time to time.
9. A Con Of International Proportions
This was a six-year con. I convinced my best friend’s girlfriend that I was studying abroad here from the Philippines.
I met her our freshman year when my friend and I were roommates in the dorms. My friend knew I had a really good Filipino accent, so he planned this whole prank of me talking to his girl with my accent and we came up with this whole story of how I came from this poor village and am here to study in America for better opportunities.
It was supposed to be a one-time prank, but we kept it going for no other reason than the fact that we thought it was funny. Soon, it spiraled out of control. She eventually caught me speaking regularly about two years into it, and my friend was able to convince her that I worked on my accent so that it wouldn’t hinder me when I looked for jobs.
Believe it or not, this excuse worked!
Thankfully, I now don’t have to speak with the fake accent around her anymore, but we can still keep the joke going. At this point, it’s been about six years. She and my friend are now engaged, and they are going to be married next year.
We still haven’t told her the truth. It’s not even that funny anymore, but neither of us knows how to break it to her. So we’re sticking with it.
In case you’re wondering, here’s how we keep the joke going. Firstly, I sometimes mispronounce big words, just to make her think there are some words I don’t know how to pronounce correctly.
And then I ask her to help me say it correctly, which always has me laughing my head off on the inside. Next, I can speak some Tagalog; so whenever my family calls, I make sure to have the phone conversation within hearing distance so she can hear us speaking a non-English language.
My family is in on the joke, so when they call, I just say the magic words: “(My friend’s name) and (his fiance’s name) are here with me,” so they know I’ll be throwing in some Tagalog phrases in our conversation.
Whenever our friends want to play along, they’ll ask me how to say something in Tagalog in front of her, and I’ll make up a phrase.
I’m not fluent, so a lot of the time I just string random words together.
It’s really hard not to laugh when we do this, because we all know what I’m saying is total gibberish. One time, we made her believe that my visa expired and that I was here illegally and had to keep a low profile so I wouldn’t get sent back to my home country.
My friend used that as an excuse to hang out with me and the guys more, because, “He needs us guys to keep him company. He doesn’t go out much because he’s afraid something will happen and he’ll get sent home”.
So that’s where this situation stands! Honestly, at this point, who knows if she’ll ever learn the truth?
10. Adding Fuel To The Fire
I’m a firefighter. Firefighters sometimes have too much time on their hands, so our jokes and pranks can reach epic levels.
Years ago, I worked with a guy who was obsessed with his gas mileage. He wouldn’t shut up about it, would give us updates every shift, and was constantly reading up on ways to improve it.
It was ridiculous.
Eventually, the rest of us hatched a plan. We brought in a few empty gas cans and a siphon pump. Every shift, we would siphon off some of the dude’s gas and hide it in the shed out back.
This went on for weeks. Gas Man was going absolutely bananas. He couldn’t figure out what was going on. He said this was terrible, and that he had to run the numbers again to make sure it was really happening, etc.
Eventually, he took his car into his mechanic to see why his mileage had dropped so precipitously. He was practically tearing his hair out, going freaking crazy. Gas Man slowly descended into a funk. Finally, when we decided he had hit rock bottom, we launched phase two.
Every shift, we started taking some of the gas we had squirreled away and putting it back into his car.
Gas Man lost. His. Mind. He’s suddenly getting insane gas mileage! He doesn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
The numbers just don’t add up, but it’s like he’s driving a magic car! And then, after a few more weeks, we were out of gas. And, just like that, everything went back to normal.
We kept our mouths shut. And from that day to this, Gas Man has been telling the story of the Great Summer Gas Mileage Mystery to anyone who will listen.
When Gas Man retires, we’ll let him in on the caper.
But not a day before.
11. The Paper Chase
I once got revenge on my neighbor for TPing my place. He doesn’t lock his house, so for two years, I pooped in his toilet repeatedly, and never flushed.
I would do things to alter my “deposits,” like eating a huge amount of corn or peanuts before, just so he would look at it the next day like, “…I don’t remember eating corn…”.
When I finally confessed, he was so relieved. Apparently, he thought he had been sleep-pooping and was seriously considering seeing a doctor about it. His response, “I always flush”! He admitted to wondering why he was buying more toilet paper than usual.
He waited two years for me to retaliate, not realizing that I was retaliating the whole time right under his nose…
Coulda used all that toilet paper you used on my house, huh jerk?
12. An Elusive Fellow
My dad made up a fictional employee at the power plant where he works.
He started this joke 11 years ago, and it’s still going. No one has exactly caught on yet to the truth, and they all kind of assume this person is real since they’ve heard him mentioned so many times. My dad will occasionally call him over the PA system and watch as everyone gets confused about who this guy is.
The funniest part is that this “guy” has also worked there for 11 years, and nobody has caught on to the whole thing.
13. Maid For This Moment
My group of friends and I have convinced at least five people so far that the romantic comedy film Maid In Manhattan was written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by him as well. Usually, after a while, they watch it or have even had friends over to watch it, and the con ends when they realize it’s not true. Though there was one time when the joke really paid off.
This one guy who we had convinced did work for a major advertising agency.
At work one day, he told his creative director, who is a film buff, that his favorite movie by Quentin was Maid In Manhattan. He thought that this off-hand movie knowledge would impress the boss.
But instead, he just got asked to leave the meeting to think about what he had done.
14. The Next Innovation In Modern Art
I was over at a buddy’s place one time and something he did had upset me.
I can’t even remember what it was at this point. But anyway, I decided to get back at him by drawing male private parts on everything around me. They were stealth doodles, drawn in hard-to-see spots for him to discover at a later time, when he would have no reason to suspect I was behind it.
Every time he would walk away to get something, I would pencil-graffiti another hidden doodle somewhere. On the TV remote, on a paper plate halfway down the stack of plates, on the inside lid of his toolbox, underneath the table, on the inside of his hard hat, on the back of a picture on the wall, on the inside of a cabinet door, you name it.
Literally anywhere I could possibly hide an inappropriate sketch, I did so. As many as I could. He figured it out eventually. The best part was his reaction every time he’d find another one of the doodles.
It’s been four years now since I did this. He’s since moved to a new house, and I still get calls from him every so often saying: “Hey jerk! I just found another one”!
15. Un-Happy Feet
I once convinced my friend that penguins could fly. I backed it up with a video the BBC did for an April Fools prank one year. It worked like a charm. A couple of months later, I heard him passionately telling a mutual friend of ours:
“Noooo, trust me! Some species of penguins can fly!”! He was getting very frustrated at not being able to convince someone of this very untrue thing that he believed, thanks to me!
16. In For A Penny, In For A Pound
This is my one story that everyone always seems to enjoy hearing, as dark as it may be.
I once had a coworker who made our job miserable. Her job title was “secretary,” but we joked that it was “internet quality control”. In general, she was selfish and childish, which we all were, but she also looked down at us and frequently went to the boss crying when we joked back in retort to jokes of her own.
She was a stick-thin, snobbish, blonde know-it-all. But then came the final straw. My aunt sent me a large jar filled with various kinds of candy as a “congratulations”. We went on a video shoot and came back a few hours later to find she had single-handedly eaten nearly half the jar.
Later that week, she ate a half dozen donuts I brought in.
Our long con was developed shortly after discussing my frustrations with the others on the creative team. “What if…” we posed, “…there was always candy in the jar?
What if donuts around our office was a regular thing”? We committed to making her fat by means of a strategic campaign wherein we all brought junk food and bags of individually wrapped candies to the office every day, specifically for her consumption.
I’m still shocked at how well it worked.
In six months, she had put on at least 30 pounds or so, and required a whole new wardrobe. And while 10 years later I don’t feel as beamingly proud of the whole thing as I did back then, at the time it was a badge of honor.
As far as we’re all aware, she never caught on to the fact that we manufactured these changes to her body intentionally.
17. The Ultimate Dad Joke
For the past couple of years, I’ve been “magically” pulling things out of my five-year-old’s ear (and sometimes his nose) to his amazement.
I do it well enough that the belief is sustained, and he refuses to accept that I’m not gifted with magical powers that enable me to pull out chocolate bars, coins, cookies, and other miscellaneous items.
He quite often offers his ears to me for inspection. If I claim to be putting something back in his ear, he’ll then be convinced that the item is in his head causing a headache, and he will often almost cry in order to have me take it out again.
And he has no idea it’s all just me playing pretend. I’ve still got a couple more years left in it, I think.
18. All In The Name Of Justice
A while back, I convinced local law enforcement leaders that I am psychic, so that I wouldn’t be viewed as a suspect in a case that they were investigating.
They believed me. Only a few people know about this. I now routinely get paid to work as a consultant for that department, along with my best friend. It’s been about seven years at this point.
19. Can This Guy Get A Round Of Applause?
At the fast-food place where I worked, I had a running trick where the light switches for the bathrooms were in the main dining room. Essentially, every time a new person would start working there, I would tell them the lights were clappers.
They would go in there and clap to try it out, and I would just flick them off and on. Usually, they would catch on after two or three shifts, though.
Well, we had one person who I was able to convince, who didn’t realize the truth for about a month and a half. She would even clap sometimes when I was away from the switches, and would come out of the bathroom to ask if the clappers were broken.
I would have her try it again and just flickered the lights. Seems like I was a little bored there sometimes…
20. Broken Telephone
This may be more of a long-lasting joke than a long-lasting con, so I apologize ahead of time if this doesn’t quite fit the criteria.
One time, while I was in a phone store waiting to be helped, I picked up one of the “display” phones that they have lying around there. I had the brilliant idea to text one of my friends at the time from this unknown number.
So I sent some obscene and ridiculous text messages to his number. Let’s call this friend Sam. Just as I hit send, the woman behind the counter calls me up and I go about my business for the rest of the day, instantly forgetting alllll about this little prank I pulled. But it wasn’t the last I’d hear of it.
Not by a long shot.
Fast forward seven or eight months down the road. Me and a group of my friends are all hanging out and shootin’ the breeze, when out of nowhere, Sam looks down at his phone and lets out an “ARRRGGHH!
What the heck!! Leave me alone”! Everyone, including me, is confused as can be by this. So I ask Sam “What’s up…”? That’s when the whole truth came tumbling out.
Sam jumps into this whole explanation about how this “jerk” has been texting him perverted and disgusting things for eight months now.
Sam then added that every time he would ask who it was, the response would be absurd if anything at all. He goes, “Dude! It all started eight months ago when I got a gross text from this unknown number?
!?! And then they called ME the loser!”?!
It was at that moment right there when I remembered the one little text I decided to send Sam while waiting at the phone store. Then came the realization that, for the last eight months, random people were walking into that store, rifling through “display phones,” searching through pictures and text messages, and stumbling upon a conversation full of insults with an unknown number.
And, inevitably, when each of those strangers saw this conversation while sitting there with the phone in their hand and realizing no one would be able to trace anything back to them, they all decided to join in on the fun.
You could almost feel their mind begin to turn as they decided what the next ridiculous text message to send to this poor unsuspecting soul should be.
That was a great day!
21. Reading The Fine Print
In high school, I had a teacher who had us read long passages of geography books and outline important information, then put it in our own words.
We later found out that he never read anything past the first page. I guess he was pretty lazy. So as soon as we discovered this, I would just do the first page of the 15-page assignment, then the rest would be an excerpt of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I felt like a genius the first time I tried it, and it worked.
He never caught me for the entire year.
22. The Name Of The Game
My great-grandfather was Ukrainian. Before my grandmother’s sister was born, he had argued with my great-grandmother about the name. He wanted a Ukrainian name and she wanted something more English.
Eventually, he gave in. When she was born, my great-grandfather went and registered her name while they were at the hospital.
When he came back in, he told my great-grandmother that he had registered her name as Agnes, just like they had agreed upon.
Fast forward a lifetime. When she hit her 80s, Agnes needed her birth certificate for some sort of social security thing. She had never been given it by her father, and being born in Canada in the early 1900s, a lot of that stuff wasn’t so easily accessible.
So, she sent in the forms to get the Canadian government to reissue her birth certificate. When it finally came in, the actual first name on it was Agnishka. No one in the family except for my great-grandfather had ever known this until this point, and he had passed many years before, so no one could even confront him about it.
He had taken the secret right to his grave.
If that’s not a long con, I don’t know what is!
23. This One’s Out Of This World
My older brother told my little brother, who was about five at the time, that humans didn’t originate on planet Earth.
According to his story, we had to abandon our original planet because our star was going supernova, and we lost all our technology in the process. Very unoriginal sci-fi plot, but the kid was only five.
So he was somewhat suspicious, but still willing to believe.
Later, he came to me to ask for confirmation, because I wasn’t the type of person to try to trick him. I was going to tell him it was nonsense, but thought it might be funny, so I told him it was true and then forgot all about it.
When my little bro was 16, he informed us that he believed that for years and even convinced a bunch of his school friends that it was true. He was not happy with us. But it was hilarious.
24. Fair Weather Friends
I was “loaned out” to a department to help manage their failing project. From Day One, it was a disaster. The guy in charge was a typical boss’s son. The managers who reported to him stroked his ego, and that seemed to be their only skill.
They couldn’t organize a project if their lives depended on it, they were verbally abusive to their staff, they were technically ignorant…
I could go on, but that’s not the point of the story. So, of course, any time I’m out with my buddies during this period, I’m venting about this awful situation. I can’t wait for it to be over so I can get back to my actual department. At one point, though, after about two months, the guy in charge comes in to chat about the latest dumpster fire on the project.
But I got this feeling something was wrong…
I remember him using the exact words I had used when describing the situation to my buddies. I thought it was odd. At first, I chalked it up to coincidence.
But later that night, I reconsidered. The wording I had used (and that the guy in charge had also used) was just really quirky and unique. I didn’t fully believe that anyone was ratting me out…
But just to be sure, I decided it wouldn’t hurt anything to be cautious. So I decided to temporarily pare down the people I discussed my situation with to just my trusted few—four friends that I “knew” would never gossip. Then it happened again.
About a month later, the boss’s son was back to discuss his latest screw-up. And again, he used the exact same wording I had used when I’d talked to my friends.
It was clear.
One of my trusted friends…was betraying me. I was devastated. I went through all of the stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and finally…acceptance. I’m sure I missed a few stages. It took about two weeks for me to fully recover.
Once I got over my grief, I was stuck with the problem of how to catch the one responsible.
After all, it was easy enough to pare down the people I was sort of friends with and just not bring up the subject when I was hanging out with them.
But these were my best friends. I couldn’t just stop talking to every one of my friends because one of them was a backstabber. It was time to come up with a plan. I decided to set a Canary Trap.
I’d tell each one of them a different story, but make each story very memorable and funny.
This way, whoever was the gossip would feel compelled to tell this story. The silver lining in all this was, I wasn’t lying to anyone. The project was such a trainwreck, I had my choice of juicy stories to pick from.
Once I’d weeded out the culprit, I could fill in the other three on all the details. I decided to start with my most trusted confidant, Jenny.
I told Jenny a story about my project manager’s latest mistake. I picked Jenny because I knew it wasn’t her and I wanted to see if I could actually go through with it before I tried it with anyone else. Long story short:
It was Jenny. I was heartbroken. Jenny and I had shared an office for two years. She was my supervisor when I wasn’t on this special project.
I’d been an usher at her wedding. We’d shared so many ups and downs over the years. I cried when I got home from work.
I had to go through another two-week cycle of grief. After two weeks, though, I was ready. She had used me—now it was time to use her. I invited Jenny out to lunch and painted a rosy picture for her.
That project manager? You know, I was skeptical at first, but it seems like he’s really getting it. The client? They’re really starting to get it together, too.
I made it clear that, as far as I’m concerned, it’s really fun to go to work! About two weeks later, I invited her out to lunch again.
Gave her the same snowjob. I said that everything was really looking up, the sky is blue, it was rocky at first but now it’s all coming together. For the record, it absolutely wasn’t. Then I cut Jenny off.
Until I needed her.
About six months later, I called her up and asked her to lunch again. I told her how I was weighing a new offer from another company and that I’d love to stay put, but I needed a substantial raise to do so. Two weeks later, I got a 9% raise.
There never was “another company”. Jenny, you broke my heart, but in the end, you helped me more than you’ll ever know.
25. Sounds Pretty Fishy
My brother conned me out of months of allowance by setting up a communal “fish fund” which was meant to pay for fish food and other pet stuff.
So we’d both put half our allowance money into it each week, but I didn’t notice for almost a year that not all the money was going to our pet fish. He was fudging the books all that time.
26. Animal Instinct
Years ago, when I worked at Jimmy John’s, I was the day shift manager. A guy who we’ll call Rob was the night shift manager. We were the oldest of the crew, working there for supplemental income, but most of our staff were high school students.
One day, as I’m closing out the shift, I overhear a conversation out on the line.
This sweet, naive girl—let’s call her Jenny—asked Rob what animal bacon comes from. Yep. Rob asks, “Are you serious?
You really don’t know”? Jenny insists she does not know. Rob, without missing a beat, says, “It comes from the tail of an animal called the baco”. “What’s that”? asks Jenny, bewildered but not at all suspicious.
At this point, I had to start stifling my laughter.
Rob goes on to describe an animal with the body of a cow, the head of a goat, and human hands as feet. The tail, of course, is made of delicious bacon.
Jenny can’t visualize it, so she asks Rob to draw one. He drew a very crude sketch. Jenny immediately then says, “Oh, I know those! I saw one at a petting zoo when I was little”.
I, still in the back, am speechless at this. I am still stifling laughter to the best of my ability, but it’s getting hard. I finish counting down the AM shift cash and return to the front to leave.
Jenny, apparently trusting that I wouldn’t lead her astray, asks me, “Do you know what animal bacon comes from”? I couldn’t believe my luck. “Of course,” I say, looking at her like she’s crazy for asking.
“Everybody knows bacon comes from the baco. It’s the tail”!
Well, apparently that was enough vetting for her, because she was totally sold. A few minutes pass. The store is quiet mid-shift, and Jenny is toying idly with a piece of bacon on the cold table.
She speaks up finally and says, “Don’t you think it’s sad that the baco has to go through life without its tail just so we can eat bacon”?
Rob gets a pained look on his face and says, “Um…Jenny, they don’t…live without their tails”.
Jenny looks horrified. “The red lines on the bacon are the arteries. They die of blood loss”. Tears start welling up in her eyes. “They don’t survive”? she asks. “Well… yeah,” Rob replies. “That’s what they’re bred for”.
Jenny was not happy.
“But… what do we do with the rest of the baco”? she asks. Rob replies, “Nothing. It just goes to waste. It’s not good for anything. The meat is tough and the skin is too rough”.
That was all her poor little brain could take. She bursts into tears. I leave because I cannot keep my laughter in any longer, and I don’t want to deprive Rob of control of his masterpiece.
The next day, when Rob and Jenny come in for the evening shift, Jenny is FURIOUS. Apparently, she went to school and started campaigning against the horrible mistreatment that the poor, innocent baco has to endure just so we can eat their tails.
Did I mention she was a senior in high school? Yeeeeah. She was a bit upset with us. I, however, have never laughed so hard in my entire life.
It’s been eight years since that happened, and it still does not cease to amaze.
27. Ain’t That A Kick In The Head?
I got migraines a few times during my teenage years. They only happened maybe three to five times and then went away, never to return. I’m 28 now and haven’t had one in about 13 years.
However, the very fact that I’d had them in the past meant that I could milk it a little bit and pretend I was having an episode so my mum would let me stay home from school.
Usually, this trick was saved for days when assignments were due. However, one day I didn’t feel like going in because I’d been up on the internet till 2:00 in the morning. So, I put on the usual act and Mum let me stay home from school.
The next day, I still didn’t like the idea of going to class, so the migraine continued. And the next day. And the next. For two whole weeks. I couldn’t believe it worked, but it did.
The reason I finally gave up? Apparently, my teachers had been really concerned about my weeks’ long absence and sent me a get well card that was signed by all the kids in my grade. There was a note saying how much everyone missed me and how my name had been mentioned at morning assembly, where the whole school had prayed for me.
This was kind of surprising, considering I was the unpopular nerdy library kid. But nevertheless, I felt so guilty that I went into class the next day. Writing this out, I’m beginning to wonder if that was their ploy all along…
28. Sock It To Me
I have told someone who is sort of annoying to look up this video on YouTube called the “purple sock video”.
It doesn’t exist. I know that it sounds really stupid, but he will continually lie about what he has or hasn’t done. So, I told him to look this video up that doesn’t exist because the concept is really funny to me.
I claimed that it was supposed to just have a ton of different animals attacking a sock.
I don’t know why, but that’s just the type of humor that he likes. So, what I wanted to see him do is say that he has watched it, just to prove that all he wants to do is fit in with me.
So far, he has said that he has watched it five times…and still does not realize that it doesn’t exist. It has been around six or seven months since I first started this shtick.
29. Fake It Till You Make It
I was in junior high and high school band for five years…and never learned to read sheet music. I played the trombone, so it was pretty easy to fake. There are only seven positions on the instrument, so I would just write the positions above every note.
If I got lost during a song, I could just peek over and see what my fellow trombonists were doing.
Needless to say, band class was a pretty big waste of time for me, but at least I got all As and Bs.
30. Choosing Your Words Carefully
This one is really dumb, but still in the works. I’ve always loved colloquial phrases—things like, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat”. So I decided to bring up my son using one that I’ve made up.
My wife and I decided that the phrase, “It’s like basil on the front porch,” is just vague and innocuous enough that, if we use it consistently, he will make up and adopt a meaning for it.
I’ve told several co-workers and friends about it, and it gets used ironically in conversation when we feel that it “fits”—so it actually gets more use than I expected. The end goal is to have my son use it casually around future schoolmates.
Think Ron Burgundy trying to wrap his head around “When in Rome,” but in reverse. I secretly hope it takes off in my area.
31. We Hear You Loud And Clear
Throughout high school, I convinced everyone that I was completely deaf in one ear and only partially in the other.
As a result, people got careless when talking around me and I learned a whole bunch of stuff that I wouldn’t have learned about people otherwise. As a result of this, for all of high school, my friends always wondered how I knew all the latest gossip and juiciest secrets.
They called me spymaster general.
I got into a small fight with an old friend of mine and he smacked me in the sides of the head with two wooden sticks, which was the backstory that allowed me to fake my hearing loss.
32. Starting The New Year Right
During the whole Y2k thing, I was around 13 years old. My neighbor’s family was convinced that something would happen. They stockpiled food and water, and bought a $500 generator. I had an evil idea—but I had to see if it would work. In our neighborhood, the fuse boxes were on the back/outside of the houses.
So, naturally, my brother and I snuck over the fence on New Year’s Eve and switched off the power at exactly 12:00 AM.
To this day, they have no idea it was us, and still think Y2k was real.
33. Channeling Some Energy
A couple of years ago, when I still lived at home with my mom, we had some sort of “optik” cable you could control via smartphone through the WiFi. Well, no one in the house except for me was aware of this.
For the last year and a half that I lived there, I would change channels on their TVs from my bedroom, causing much anger and confusion from everyone!
It lasted for about a year and a half.
About six months in, they concluded that the remotes were broken. But in all reality, I was laying in my bed snickering while they were yelling profanities at the “stupid freaking TV that keeps changing channels conveniently while a good show was on”.
They still don’t know to this day that it was me.
34. This Excuse Is Brand Spankin’ New
Not me, but my dad. My half-sister from dad’s first marriage is 11 years older than me. One time, she and her son (who was 3 at the time) came over to visit.
This was one summer back when I was about 13 years old. Her son was misbehaving and wouldn’t listen to her. We were driving to the store and he was throwing a tantrum in the car, screaming at the top of his lungs that he didn’t want to go.
My dad then turned around and yelled “Hey! Listen to your mother. I’m the Northwest spanking champion, three years running. You DO NOT want a spanking from me”. My sister’s son just stared at him with his mouth open, in shock.
35. Possessed…Or Not?
Growing up, my older brother and sister always pranked me.
But there was one prank they collaborated on and successfully conned me with for two summers. They secretly created this game I now call “Fe Fe”. Pretty much anytime I would make myself a hot pocket, sandwich, or the like, my brother always wanted to take a bite or two.
Me being a selfish six or seven-year-old, I would always push my brother away and tell him not to eat my food. As soon as I hit him, the game would begin. He would immediately start saying, “Fefe, Fefe, is that you?
What happened? What’s going on?! FEFEEE”! Now, no one that I had ever met was named “Fe Fe,” so immediately I panicked, thinking I surely had broken my brother.
I started sobbing, I was terrified.
For years, I wondered who Fefe was and what kind of dark secret they were trying to hide from me. But as it turned out, it was just a random name my brother made up to create a diversion so he could sneak a bite of my food.
This went on several times during two summers, and only ever while my mom was at work, so they didn’t get in trouble. My brother was a diabolical genius. I guess he earned that hot pocket.
36. The Last Laugh Is The One That Counts
When the first Pokemon games came out, they were crazy popular and a ton of people would have Pokemon battles at my school. There were two types of matches. The first one was your standard set where everyone fought for fun.
The second was “playing for keeps,” where the winner could choose any Pokemon the loser used and keep it.
Naturally, these were pretty rare, and people tended to stick to using a B team that they didn’t mind losing. So an all-out intense match with the best Pokemon on the line was a pretty big deal.
Now, there were these two kids that hated each other. Brad was the local “rich kid” and kind of a jerk, while Kyle was your more traditional nerd who was nice enough but kind of annoying, since he took the games a little too seriously.
To make a long story short, they had this big hyped-up match with their best Pokemon.
Everyone watched Brad completely CRUSH Kyle. It turned out that Brad had two gameboys, both versions of the game, and was using a team of multiple Mewtwo’s (the most powerful Pokemon in the game and impossible to get more than one of except by trading).
Kyle is upset, but goes through with the trade and gives away his high-level Charizard.
In Pokemon, you can’t just give a free trade. Both players have to give a Pokemon. In exchange for Kyle’s favorite Pokemon, Brad gave him a low-level Rattata. The real kicker, though, was that he took the time to give it the nickname “KyleSux”. That…was a mistake.
Kyle takes this really badly and freaks out. He starts screaming and swearing at Brad, and rips the cord out of the gameboy. But the trade has already been made. He ends up storming out while we all laugh at his outburst.
Kyle just stops playing Pokemon with people after that. We figured that was the end of it…until he pops up like a month later and challenges Brad to a rematch.
Everyone gathers around in anticipation of another giant freak out, but Kyle isn’t going down easy this time. Turns out, he basically spent a month building a team that was specifically engineered to defeat Brad.
Not just beat him, but annoy him. We all tended to just choose the hardest hitting moves we could get, but Kyle had a team of insect types that were resistant to psychic damage and specialized in making their opponents slow down, miss more, fall asleep etc.
It was hilarious to watch. Brad would send out a psychic machine and Kyle would send out a caterpillar. Then we’d all laugh as he missed 50% of the time, while getting his health chipped away. Brad wasn’t losing by much, but as the battle dragged on he was clearly getting more and more annoyed at every missed attack and lost turn. Finally, Brad was down to his last Pokemon, a badly wounded Mewtwo that was out of its most powerful attacks.
That’s when Kyle revealed his secret weapon.
Brad managed to score a hit and force Kyle to use his last pokemon—a level 99 Raticate named “KyleSux”. KyleSux finished the fight in one hit. I’ve never seen anyone look more smug than Kyle when he did it.
37. Bad Business
Software developer here.
I was working for a company that couldn’t get me enough work, the work I did get forced me to interact with total jerks, and I had no power to change the real bottlenecks that stopped us from accomplishing great things. So, I would do my tasks in less than two hours a day and spend the rest of my time working on my own projects or experimenting.
Eventually, I conjured up a larger project and was managing it and working on it at work. The same month it shipped, I put it on my resume and had a job interview where the only thing I talked about in the interview was my hobby project.
I got the job and a lot more money. I also have the respect of all my peers at both the old and new company, learned a ton, and it costs me just a few dollars a month to host and show off forever.
I work a very full eight hours every day now and am quite happy. Before you say “this isn’t a con,” I’d like to say that my pet project had some VC funding without the parent company ever knowing…
38. You’ve Got Some Egg-splaining To Do
In my senior year of high school, I brought a bagged lunch to school every other day.
In this bag lunch was always a single, solitary hard-boiled egg. A friend of mine, being an outstanding gentleman, would always offer to crack the egg for me. He would then proceed to use the head or shoulder of whoever was closest to him as a hard surface.
Everyone made a game of it: he had to be sneaky, or enlist others to distract his target. All in all, it was good-natured, immature fun. We probably would have gotten bored and stopped after a week or two.
But then I had “The Idea”. The Beautiful, Perfect Idea. I started tossing him the egg. I changed things up, slowly tossing it harder and further, till it was more a game of how hard and far we could throw it without it cracking.
For six months, I trained him like my perfect little egg-catching monkey. He could and would catch an egg in his sleep. Heck, he had become genuinely PROUD of his ability to field hard-boiled eggs.
And then, on the final day of school, I arrived on campus with a single, solitary, uncooked egg. For half a year, I had imagined my friend’s face as he crushed that egg in his bare fist like a tiny little soda can.
I will never know a joy as great as the good ten seconds he stood there, egg seeping out of his hand, utterly and completely confused as to what had just happened.
39. Love Life
This long con is two or three years in, and it’s still going. I convinced my girlfriend that my cousin is gay.
I started out joking about it being the reason why he dumped this hot girl I hooked him up with, and I made up a short story about how after sleeping with her, he just realized that he’s not really into women and is actually attracted to men.
I said that afterward, he hung out with this gay dude and, to his surprise, became infatuated with him, and then later on came out to me about it because I’m family and he trusts me.
She didn’t believe me of course…AT FIRST. And then I just casually said, “Well, just go ask him. Like don’t be direct, just ask him privately. Say that you heard he has a boyfriend now and wanna know how things are going”.
Then she got all nervous and didn’t want to ask him about it. I got all serious and said, “Look, it’s okay for you to know. He just doesn’t wanna tell his parents and grandma yet, but he said I could tell you.
Just go ahead and talk to him about it”. I was expecting she would ask him, but then a few days later she still didn’t, and then she asked about the girl he has in his new Facebook pictures.
I said: “Oh that’s just his friend, because his parents are on his Facebook and he wants them to think they’re dating. And of course they’re not, just look. They never kiss or have that lovey face in any of their pictures, or send each other love messages on their walls, and we never hear him call her and talk to her like a regular boyfriend.
It’s just to cover himself so his parents won’t know the truth”.
I then took the story even farther: “I’ve seen his boyfriend, just talk to him and maybe he’ll even show you pictures”.
I’m paraphrasing of course, but that’s basically what went down. At the time, he was living with us too, and every day she would just try to notice both gay and “ungay” things about him, but would always be convinced he’s indeed gay.
And she would never ask him about it.
Now, here we are like two or three years later, from whenever it all started, and she still thinks he’s gay. It’ll be sooooo funny to me, the day she just casually says “Hey, so how’s your boyfriend? Are you still with him”?
or something like that, and he’ll be like “….What”? Man, I wonder when that day will come.
40. If It Quacks Like A Duck…
For many years, when he was little, I convinced my brother that duck sauce is made from real ducks.
He was horrified. I would make a big show of putting it on an eggroll and saying how good it was. He continued to be nauseated through the years. I finally told him the truth when he was in high school.
It still took him several years before he would actually try it again.
41. Vegging Out
I once had a long con pulled on me. I was doing my PhD at the time and sharing a house with two other students.
I was the first one home that day and found this gigantic zucchini at my front door with a cryptic note, “Thought you might be able to do something with this – Mike”. Firstly, I was bewildered by the enormity of this zucchini, and secondly, I had no idea who the heck Mike was.
My supervisor was named Mike, and a fellow senior PhD was also named Mike. Neither seemed the type to do this, though. My housemates came home and remarked on the ludicrous zucchini, asking me who gave it to us.
They didn’t have any idea as to the identity of Mike, either. We hollowed it out that night and filled it with mince. Pretty good, but the zucchini was mostly water.
Anyway, at the next meeting with my supervisor, I brought up the zucchini.
Nope, it wasn’t him and he seemed a bit weirded out by the suggestion. Okay, it’s gotta be the other Mike. He’s real friendly and might do random acts of kindness. I tried to grill him.
“Nope, wasn’t me”. I was confused and a little humbled by this mysterious zucchini benefactor Mike. But this was just the tip of the iceberg. I had to find out.
Next, I thought maybe it was the friendly retired guy in the house next to us.
I had chatted with him on occasions but didn’t catch his name the first time. Six months later, I was way past the point of being able to ask. For months, I tried listening out to see if his wife called him “Mike”.
I peered over the fence to see if he habitually grew monstrous zucchinis.
No luck. When they got us to look after their mail for a while, every single goddamn letter was for his wife.
Seven years later, our shared house had long since broken up and gone our separate ways. One of the guys was in town, so we caught up for coffee. We did the usual nostalgia thing, going through old stories, and I said, “You know what, we never did figure out where that zucchini came from…”
At this point, my friend fell out of his chair laughing. It turns out my housemates had visited another shared house.
This shared house discovered a zucchini plant they never knew they had (as you do). My housemates didn’t keep regular hours, so while I was working, they went visiting, were gifted the zucchini, brought it home, didn’t know what to do with it, and got the idea to make me cook dinner for them.
So they left the zucchini for me, but thought it was weird to not have a note. They scribbled down a quick note, but still wanted to get away with me cooking dinner for them, so they signed it with some random bogus name.
Mike. To their credit (or my shame), they did an amazing job looking surprised at the gift and “figuring out” what to do with it for dinner.
For years, I had been telling people about this weird zucchini story and the mystery Mike.
In my odd hours, I thought deeply over who it could possibly have been. I spent the best years of my life pondering that freakin’ zucchini. So when my housemate finally told me, my response was a long pause and then a, “Youuuu little brats…”
42. It Takes One To Gnome One
This is the story of the Gnome Conspiracy.
A friend of ours found a weird garden gnome in her backyard, and it seemed to be pointing at her. She didn’t put it there, and when we showed up for a barbecue, we found it right where she saw it.
She was oddly afraid to touch it, but we all said it was obviously just some kids pranking her. It disappeared the next day.
A few weeks later, she saw a gnome just like it on her way to work.
She even took a picture of it and, I have to admit, it was pretty similar. She left it be and thought nothing of it, until she saw another near the house of a friend of ours.
And once or twice more in town. Huh. She then saw another one outside a B&B in Edinburgh that we recommended, then in a hedge in Provence.
Then, she saw it in the background of a picture we all took in Vegas on our last day there, near the pool at the Mandalay Bay.
Now it was getting scary. We all agreed, it did look similar. But, we assured her, it must simply be a popular model. I mean it can’t possibly be the same gnome. But what she doesn’t know is that it is the same gnome. The owner of the B&B in Scotland is an old friend of ours, and he got it in the mail two days before she arrived.
I positioned it on the side of the road several times, but she only saw it once or twice. I think she was beginning to suspect me, so when it showed up at our friend’s neighbor’s house, I was conspicuously out of the country.
She actually accused me of doing this, but I just laughed and said that I was on a different continent, and that it couldn’t possibly be the same gnome.
If it was, there’d have to be dozens of people involved in some sort of conspiracy.
That’s actually pretty accurate, including several of her sisters and most of her friends. Oh, and it’s been going on for 11 years now. The gnome is actually in the background of several more of her vacation shots, most recently in a coffee house in Seattle.
I have a friend there and they met for coffee. And the gnome was there. She hasn’t spotted it yet in the ‘met your friend’ picture they sent me. But she will. And when she does, we’ll all certainly poo-poo it, just as we always do.
I’m pretty sure she’s not a big internet user, and I sure hope she doesn’t somehow come across this and read it. I’d hate to ruin this after so long.
43. Throwing The Book At Them
If you hang around at your local library on the right days, you’ll eventually discover a cheap-as-heck book sale going on.
These are events during which old, damaged, or otherwise unwanted books are sold for incredibly low prices—sometimes as little as a quarter—with all of the proceeds going toward some nebulous goal or another.
It was at one of these book sales that I got the idea for what should have been a harmless prank.
But it quickly got SO out of control. The whole thing was supposed to be pretty simple: Most books contain a sheet of blank paper (near the front or back cover) that’s the same size and consistency as every other page.
I figured that I could carefully remove that piece, duplicate the font found in the rest of the text, and then replace a randomly selected passage with something that I wrote. With my doctored literature thus prepared, I’d encourage a friend to read the book, at which point they’d discover my not-so-subtle editing job.
Confusion would abound, laughs would be had, and the whole thing would go down in history as being an example of too much effort for not enough payoff. But as I said, things didn’t go exactly as planned.
Creating and inserting the altered page was easy enough, as was convincing my friend to read the particular book in question.
For those curious, the book was a “Bobbsey Twins” young-adult novel, chosen because it was short enough that an adult could read it pretty quickly, but hopefully still entertaining enough to keep that same adult interested the whole way through.
Unfortunately, said friend was so amazed when she found the altered text—a Nostradamus-like “prediction” about the years after the book’s publishing—that she decided to share it with her English professor…who turned out to be a collector of young adult novels.
My friend was tasked with asking if her professor could buy the book from me, and I was left with the rather embarrassing responsibility of explaining the entire prank.
But that’s not where the story ends. The punchline to the whole affair was that the professor in question still wanted to buy the book anyway. He had me explain how I’d made the edits, laughed out loud, and then told me to sign my name inside the front cover.
He said that I could have signed the book on that blank page that most books tend to have behind the front cover…but, unfortunately, someone had mysteriously removed this one! So, to sum it all up, my one and only attempt at book forgery made me twenty dollars richer—which can’t possibly be considered a bad day in my book!
44. The Days Of The Week
My friend successfully convinced a group of people from Texas that in Ireland, we don’t have Wednesdays.
And, as far as we know, they never realized that we had made the whole thing up!
45. Someone Should Have Flagged This
I worked at McDonald’s back in high school. At one point, they hired a new manager.
We’ll call her Tina. Tina was a Grade A moron. The sort of person who isn’t just ignorant, but takes pride in their dogged determination to hold fast to their ignorance. I have a few long stories that I could share to demonstrate this, but just trust me.
She was an idiot.
Our restaurant was in a shopping center that, for some reason, had a restriction against signage taller than the building. This meant that, unlike most McDonald’s stores, there was no set of flag poles out front.
Despite this, my buddy and I made sure that, whenever Tina was around, we’d talk about taking the flags down, or putting them up in the mornings, or how nice they looked in the morning light.
This went on for weeks. Finally, we got a big rainstorm while Tina, my buddy, and I were all working. It was a real soaker. My friend came up to me while Tina was standing close by and asked if I’d taken the flags down, because regulations stated we could not leave them up in the rain.
I replied that I couldn’t because the store manager had said regular employees were no longer allowed flag-handling privileges.
Well, nothing pleased Tina like special managerial privileges. She volunteered and was out the door in a flash.
The store manager had been observing this exchange and wanted to know “What are you two up to”? I replied that we thought Tina’s talents were best suited for that kind of work, and he only chuckled about it.
Finally, after about 20 minutes, Tina returns, soaking wet and looking irritable.
Somehow I managed to keep a straight face as she stalked past me and went straight to the store manager, who was having his lunch in the back.
She leaned in and discreetly asked, “Where are the flagpoles, again”? Without missing a beat, and without even looking up from his meal, he replied, “On the roof. Duh”. It was an amazing moment.
46. Music To His Ears
So, in my group of friends, we have a buddy who is a crazy music snob.
He had terabytes of music back in 2008, mainly because he refused to download MP3s, instead going for “lossless” formats—which supposedly keeps the music sounding slightly more like the original records. He prides himself in being on the up and up about all the new underground stuff coming out.
So one of our more clever friends casually tosses out a reference to a group that he totally made up on the spot, and we all pretended to know their entire catalog. We claimed we were all the biggest “Guinea Pig Tribe” fans. Our music snob friend took the bait.
Hook, line, and sinker. He scoured the Internet searching for this fabled “Guinea Pig Tribe”.
He tried to call us on it, stating they didn’t exist. We said he wasn’t searching hard enough.
One of us then produced a track and played it for him. He continued his search. The dude got laughed out of dozens of underground music forums asking about it. Any time we found out he couldn’t go to a show we were all headed to, one of us would photoshop “GPT” into the flier.
He would get so mad that he couldn’t attend. This went on for a solid year. It all came to a head when he was lamenting once again that he was going to miss another performance by the most innovative music act the world has ever seen, when the friend that started it all, just as casually as it began replied, “What are you talking about dude?
You’re the one who introduced GPT to us”!
He then sent him a photoshopped photo of all of us in a group, complete with him wearing a “GPT” shirt. He refused to talk to us for a solid month.
My college roommate of two years thought our dorm was haunted. It started with an intoxicated game of Ouija Board. Another of our friends, a good actor, was slyly moving the lens without any of us knowing, so our reactions were genuine.
He later fessed up to me, and the clear move was to make the most of it at the expense of Jim, the more gullible of our group.
So it was that we contacted Hesochel, a Native American toddler whose life was allegedly taken by the chief of his tribe.
According to our story, the chief lit fire to Hesochel’s home and burnt him to his demise. There were some memorable answers along the way. Us: “How did you lose your life”? Him: “FIRE HOT SLEEP SCREAM”.
Us: “Why did it happen”? Him: “BAD REVENGE JEALOUS FAKE”. And here was the clincher, the one that honestly made us all shudder. Us: “Hesochel, are you lonely”? No response for some time. Then, finally, Him:
“ALWAYS”. Starting the next day and for many months after, I or our friends would sneak into the dorm during improbable times to hide or move books around, make messes, write on the mirror with soap, etc.
The kind of stuff a kid would do. I programmed my laptop to play Metallica’s “Unforgiven III” at 2:00 in the morning one day. Full volume. If you don’t know the song, the lyrics reflect a theme of loneliness and anger with the past.
Jim started losing his mind. He found a local paranormal society, who agreed to come in and take readings, make observations, etc.
They were either phonies or totally incompetent, because they found all sorts of stuff to further confirm Jim’s fears.
Yes, I was playing along the whole time, acting afraid, not wanting to sleep alone, denying that it could be a ghost, or egging him on as strategically as possible to maximize his suspicions that it was real.
A few times, we would color pictures and leave a blank piece of paper and crayons for Hesochel to enjoy. We started saying good night to him each evening, to give him the childhood he never had.
We even left a kid’s show on while doing homework, so Hesochel could watch. It was painful, but the longer it went on, the worse it would be if he were to find out that it was me all along.
So it continued. For two years. Naturally, word eventually leaked out and people started to make first subtle (“Hey Jim! I heard your room was haunted”! wink), then not so subtle (Hey Jim! How’s that ghost… I mean roommate of yours doing)? jokes to him about it.
What still makes me feel like a terrible friend is that, despite these rather obvious giveaways, including even people telling him outright that they knew it was me, Jim still trusted me.
I lied point blank and told him that I had nothing to do with it, so he thought people were trying to mess with the both of us even more.
The worst part is that after we moved out, he suggested we visit the dorm and warn the next occupants about the ghost. So we did. I was now lying to strangers as well. What could go wrong…
He eventually found out the truth a year after college ended, when I was joking about it in a bar with him and some friends. He said:
“Hey, I finally found out it was you. Alan told me”. Of course, I fessed up. But, as it turned out, he had been bluffing and I walked right into it. So, even after all that, he got the last laugh.
The moral of the story? Always call the bluff when it comes to Native American ghost children.
48. Seeing The Light…Or Not
This story happened when I transferred to a new office across the country. I was in the field most of the time, but occasionally I had to go into the office.
Just inside the men’s restroom at this office, there was a short hallway that took a 90-degree turn into the main area of the bathroom, but the light switch was right by the door.
Once inside where you were doing your business, whether just washing your hands or taking a pee, you couldn’t see the outer door. That gave me an idea. So, every time my annoying boss went into the bathroom, I’d wait just long enough for him to start whatever he was doing, and then I’d reach in and turn off the light. Inevitably, he’d shout something to the effect of “DARN IT, YOU IDIOTS!! I’M IN HERE!!!”!
I lasted through almost seven years of this, with him blaming it on just about everyone but me.
Right before I left, I recruited a young guy to keep it up for me, cause screw that boss!
49. A Feeling In The Air
I rented this inner-city apartment from this lawyer scum back in the 1980s. The windows looked out on the alley, right above the dumpsters.
And it was winter. Not being a noob, I asked about air conditioning, as dumpster stench will typically prevent you from opening your window on hot days. He pointed out that the unit had one.
Come summer, the air doesn’t work. I call him and he says, in the most lawyer-like way imaginable, “I pointed out the air conditioner, but I never said it worked”.
I held back rent, but he tried to take me to court.
Not being able to afford court costs, I reluctantly paid up until the lease was over, in sad defeat. But there’s one thing he didn’t consider: I had his home phone number. I decided that when the time was right, I would enact my vengeance.
I waited two years until one beautiful Friday afternoon in the spring.
At around 3 o’clock, when I knew he wouldn’t be home, I called his trophy wife and informed her that her husband had better stop sleeping with my wife or I was going to beat both of them with a baseball bat. She was most interested.
And angry. And I knew enough about the guy to satisfy the grilling she gave me and make her believe my story was legit.
I bet he had one lousy weekend.
50. Snack Time
I was long conned by a coworker.
I worked in a factory with an Indian man who was a really nice guy. He would talk about how he and his family would get together on the weekend and make big sausage pizzas, and he recommended I try it.
He told me to look it up, but I just kept putting it off. Every Monday, in his thick Indian accent, he’d bring it up: “Oh, did you try out the big sausage pizza?
Just check online for the recipe”.
After several months, there finally came a night when I didn’t have any dinner plans and thought I should check out this big sausage pizza that I’d heard so much about. I decided to check out the website he had provided, since he had been so insistent.
This must be some good pizza for someone to give it so much praise every week.
Nope. Turns out it was just a man’s privates, on top of a pizza…