Pranksters get fishy, monkey around

Chronicle Staff

He unzipped his backpack, and a lobster crawled out. He felt a “tap, tap” on his hand, looked down and shrieked.

A crowd gathered in seconds, screaming and laughing.

“I jumped back and screamed profanities and ran around,” Nicky Berger ’07 said. “Thank God the little rubber bands were still around his claws.”

The lobster’s entrance into Berger’s bag began with two male seniors who wanted a weapon against sophomores.

“Originally, we wanted a fish to throw at sophomores who invaded the senior area,” said the prankster, who requested anonymity because teachers have vowed to catch the crustacean-carrying culprit. “But, unfortunately, Ralph’s didn’t have any full fish.”

So, they opted for a live lobster.

“We put it in a bag, and it was, like, moving around,” he said. “We didn’t want to get in trouble, so, we thought, if we politely put a lobster in Nicky Berger’s backpack in the middle of the quad during passing period, everything will be okay.”

The pranksters dumped out Berger’s backpack, removing books and turning the backpack inside-out. Using this small prank as a diversion, they slipped in the clawed creature.

“When Nicky saw it, he jumped back like a seventh grader seeing an abominable snowman,” one of the pranksters said.

What is it about seniors?

“It’s almost like you have to deliver,” school counselor Luba Bek said. “There’s a tradition.”

Some seniors describe an urge to leave a mark on the school.

“Josh [Margolin ’07] and I were talking about really kind of remodeling the area between the cafeteria and the lunch area,” Alex Smith ’07 said.

So, Smith, Margolin and Alex Wilk ’07 tied a basketball hoop to a tree in the quad and erected a cardboard backboard. Although they shot the ball around, basketball was not the point or purpose, Smith said.

“It was mostly there because we could, not because we wanted to play so badly,” he said.

The hoop lasted two to three weeks, by Smith’s estimation, until maintenance workers removed it for back-to-school day.

One possibility for future antics involves laying a cheap Persian rug outside the cafeteria, Smith said.

While some students try to beautify the campus, others refuse to make constructive mischief.

“We gotta find something to do to pass the time before we get into college,” Andrew Pattison ’07 said.

In fact, he and Sean Dennis ’07 created a game they call “Senior Slot Sandal Sling.” Students throw sandals into the senior mailboxes; three successful throws win.

The sport has attracted a significant following, Pattison said. He and Dennis posted official rules in the lounge.

“Students here compete in everything,” Bek said. “This is competing in how many pranks.”

“Also, they’re doing it right now to relieve some pressure from college,” Bek said. “It relieves tension to be a kid. Some people come home and watch ‘The Little Mermaid,’ some people throw bananas or put live lobsters in someone else’s backpack.”

A group of junior boys sat in a circle, enjoying a peaceful Friday afternoon. Seemingly out of nowhere, a banana hit the ground in the circle and splattered in multiple directions.

Seniors about 20 feet away erupted in celebration, yelling “Seniors ’07!” and holding their hands near their ears, fingers triumphantly pointing to the sky.

“The symbol — it’s kind of hard to describe,” Terry O’Neal ’07 said. “It’s like holding wings by your head — Shaq used to do it.”

“It was actually a really good throw,” Alex Wittenberg ’08 said. “It hit the ground and it splattered all over me and a couple of my friends.”

“It was a spur of the moment thing,” the ubiquitous Pattison said. “We found a bat, and we decided to start hitting stuff, and then someone went to the cafeteria and bought about three bananas, and we started throwing and hitting them.”

“One day we saw a couple banana peels around and so we threw them out on the quad,” TJ Taylor ’07 said. “And then last Friday I saw a banana around and I threw it at a couple of juniors, and everyone went crazy.”

“I don’t think it’s very original, so I’m waiting for more antics like the lobster,” Wittenberg said. “Because, that’s genius. It’s just out there — who would think of putting a lobster in someone’s backpack?”