Informant: “When I was in high school, ah…. friends of mine, a year ahead of me, they were getting ready to graduate and there was kind of a tradition of doing some sort of prank, senior pranks. Well that group of guys went out and stole a bunch of turkeys off a turkey farm (laughs) and broke into the high school and put the turkeys in there on like Friday night. So the turkeys are in there wild, poopin’… and turkeys are crazy, they’re out of their surroundings, they just go nuts (laughs). So they are running all over. Of course they got caught and expelled. They finally let them get their degree but they couldn’t attend graduation or something like that. So, you know, they were kind of bragging about their stunt. And I said, ‘you know I hate to tell you but this has been going on for a while.’ When my dad graduated he and his buddies put a cow in the high school (laughs). And it was a four story building and they took the cow up to the top floor because cows will go up stairs but they won’t go down. So the same thing: they left the cow in the school for the whole weekend, cow poop all over… and the top floor was where the offices were, the principal’s office and all that stuff. So cow poop all over the fourth floor they had to get a crane to get it out cause it wouldn’t go down the stairs! (laughs)”
The informant witnessed the first practical joke mentioned in person, and was told the story of the cow variant by his father. Although he did not engage in the same pranks himself, it was clear from body language and speech that the informant found this highly humorous.
This excerpt was recorded during a scheduled meeting at my home in San Diego, CA.
Although I have heard of and witnessed many senior pranks, few of them compare to this one. Pranks at my school were much more tame, such as flipping every piece of artwork on display upside down, whereas these required significant cleanup and even a crane in one case. It was very interesting that both of the pranks were very similar in that they involved animals at school, although it was implied in the story that the kid’s who used the chickens were unaware of the informant’s father’s previous exploits. If I had to guess, either the usage of animals in senior pranks was commonplace in rural schools during that time period, or the kids caught wind of the informant’s dad’s idea and acted as if it were original.