Practical Joke – California

In 2007, at the end of Jeremy’s senior year, he and his fellow classmates were brainstorming possible ideas for a senior prank. One of the ideas was to cover the entire football field in poppy seeds. Poppies would then grow all over the field and it would be illegal to remove them because poppies are the California state flower. So, the poppies would hypothetically always be all over the football field.

Senior pranks are supposed to be done at the end of senior year, a little before graduation. Brainstorming ideas for them usually begins at the beginning of senior year, though sometimes people start thinking about possible senior pranks even earlier. Seniors usually start making concrete plans about a senior prank a few months before they actually plan to pull the prank. This means they probably choose which one they want to pull, decide when to pull it, and start preparing by collecting necessary materials and items.

One of Jeremy’s classmates came up with the idea. Jeremy is not sure if his classmate got the idea from somewhere else, or if it was his classmate’s own original idea.

While he was telling me about this senior prank, he was laughing throughout the story. He did not think of this practical joke as something destructive or malicious, he just thought of it as something seniors do. Seniors are supposed to pull some kind of prank before they graduate; it is not an attack on the school or the faculty at all. Putting poppy seeds all over the football field would have just been in the name of good fun and humor.

The period between two phases in life is called a liminal period. In this period, we usually find practical jokes being performed and that is what senior pranks are. Pulling a senior prank is a social and psychological rite of passage. It is supposed to mark the seniors’ commencement. They are exiting high school, ending that chapter in life, and beginning a new chapter at college. I feel as if seniors are obligated to pull a senior prank because it is tradition. I agree with Jeremy that senior pranks are just done in the name of good fun; no harm is meant by these pranks. They know they are leaving high school soon, and they are both nervous and excited. So, they put that excitement and nervous energy into an intentionally silly prank. Although these seniors are celebrating graduating and are happy to leave high school, I think the fact that seniors feel the need to leave a mark through pulling a prank, to leave a trace of themselves, shows that they want to be remembered. This necessity to leave a trace of themselves behind, to be remembered, is even more evident by how much time and energy seniors put into making these pranks particularly clever and humorous. They would not try so hard to make their pranks clever and distinct if they did not want their pranks and themselves to be remembered. This effort shows that seniors have a nostalgic tendency. Most seniors are going to miss high school or parts of it and they just want to always have a piece of themselves there in their past.