Fun Things That May Get You Fired…

…for horseplay in the workplace. Far be it from me to suggest that cops, EMTs and firemen ever adopt anything other than serious poker faces and engage in a harmless prank every now and then.

Nope, the cops sit in their cruisers reading up on the criminal code, firefighters spend their time at the station washing apparatus and memorizing the laws of thermodynamics and the Emergency Response Guidebook, and medics laboriously study the pharmacodynamics of the latest Wonder Drug of The Week. Occasionally we get struck with an attack of whimsy and do something really frivolous like study up on left anterior hemifascicular block and other Really Cool Ventricular Conduction Defects.


Please note that all of these pranks were designed to be played on co-workers and loved ones. Under no circumstances should you throw imaginary spiders on your hallucinating psych patient or hand a box of EKG electrodes to the alcoholic street person with the instruction that they are timed-release aspirin patches. That’s just unethical.

The following pranks are not to be construed as anything that actually should be performed in the workplace. Any resemblance to an existing prank, real or imagined, is purely coincidental. The following pranks were performed by trained professionals. Do not try this in your workplace. Exposure to said pranks may result in incurable silliness, improved demeanor and relief of workplace stress. Occasionally, the humorless or easily offended may experience the following adverse side effects: anxiety, humiliation, anger, itching, rash, feelings of alienation, and anal leakage, and may result in allegations of unprofessional conduct and whiny calls to the Human Resources Department. Not approved for use in animals, except EMS dispatchers.

1. Saran wrap the toilet bowl. A timeless classic used in squad room and firehouse restrooms since the dawn of time. Or at least, since the invention of toilets and Saran wrap. Best used with muted lighting, since the glare off the Saran wrap tends to give the prank away.

2. Apply Armor All to the squad bench in the ambulance. All it takes is a hard braking maneuver while your partner is sitting on the bench…okay, forget I said anything about that one unless your ambulance has padded cabinetry.

3. Paint your squad mate’s fingernails while they sleep. Requires a delicate touch and a high degree of stealth. Best applied to the most macho, homophobic guy in the station. Pick a daring color like Slut Red. Testor’s enamel model paint works well in a pinch.

4. Swap the PA and radio mikes on their respective holders. Simple, but effective. Best used on partners who like to use the PA to berate motorists on emergency calls and moo at cattle as they drive past.

5. Call in a license check by DL number to the rookie police dispatcher. You cops probably know the numbers by heart. When the license comes back to Delicious Peters, or Santa Claus…try not to snicker too loudly. If you use the DL number for Mickey Mouse, always ask for a spelling. Priceless. Extra points if someone else on the channel chimes in the last…Emmm Ohhh Yoouuu Esss Eeee!

5a. Cops, if someone gives you Ronald Reagan’s DL number, avoid calling it in unless you like having the U.S. Secret Service call the Sheriff and ask pointed questions about what a Deputy is doing calling for a criminal background check on the former Commander In Chief. Not that I know any deputies who have done such a thing, of course.

6. EMTs…find a length of oxygen tubing. Attach one end to the fill line in the toilet tank. Route the oxygen tubing behind the tank and tape the other end to the bottom of the seat, pointing forward. Wait for someone to flush the toilet and you get…instant bidet. Not recommended for people who flush as an afterthought, because the sodding thing will run forever and flood the entire ambulance station, forcing you to spend $120 on a shop vac and a carpet shampooer to clean up the mess, and forcing you to make up elaborate lies to keep the boss from finding out and firing you. Or at least, that’s what I’ve been told.

7. Cover the insoles of your partner’s boots with KY Jelly and put them in the freezer overnight, then slip them back in place when he isn’t looking. Works best with removable insoles.

8. 20% Benzocaine spray on the toothbrush is a classic. It’s even funnier if you get a call immediately afterward and your partner has to go out in public with his face threatening to slide off his skull. Be sure to provide a bib to catch all the drool.

9. Suspend your partner’s car keys on a string, then hang them in a gallon jug of water. Put in the freezer overnight.

10. Rub a squad mate’s bedding down with Owens Corning fiberglass insulation. This is the prank that ends the prank wars. The Shock and Awe of practical jokes. The H-Bomb of horseplay. For any victim with a history of severe allergies, it might be a good idea to have the Epi and Benadryl ready. I’m just saying.

11. Next time your partner is in the shower, find the outlet valve on the hot water tank. Turn it off. Listen for the screams and giggle.

12. If you’re mechanically inclined, crawl under a co-worker’s Jeep and run a jumper wire from t
heir brake lights to the horn. It won’t give a full honk, but they’ll wonder what the hell that sound is every time they hit the brakes.

13. Medics, don’t throw away that unused bag of IV fluid that you spiked but never got to administer. Instead put in in a pressure infuser and stow it behind your partner’s seat. Tape the end of the tubing inconspicuously to the headrest of your partner’s seat. Kink the tubing, and paper clip it to the shoulder restraint. Open the roller valve wide open. Wait for your partner to put on his seat belt. Extra points if you can convince him that the ambulance roof is leaking.

14. On the next hot day you pull up next to a co-worker’s ambulance in the ER ambulance bay, see if they locked their rig. If they haven’t, switch the all the climate controls in the cab to “Hot.” Turn on the fan full blast. Sit just around the corner and wave at them as they drive past, stewing in their own juices. Salute them with your Slurpee or ice cream cone.

15. Now this one only works on rookie EMTs and first year medical residents…but next time a patient shows a lot of artifact on the EKG, extol the virtues of the Modified Scrotal Lead. Pick any rationale…

See all that schmutz there that obscures the tracing? That’s bony artifact, son. Bone don’t conduct electrical current near as well as soft tissue. What you wanna do is find an alternate lead placement that avoids all those bones. I prefer MSL 1. Take this here black electrode and move it down to the bottom side of the patient’s balls. See how that looks straight up through the pelvis to the patient’s heart? Ain’t nothin in the way but soft organs and empty space. Only reason I ain’t doing it now is cuz Mr. Johnson here is awake and alert. But you can bet that if I had to…

Then wait for the inevitable moment when the rookie tries it for real. Hopefully the EMT will do it in front of a Stuporvisor or Field Training Officer. Even better if the first year resident tries to impress an attending physician with this new addition to his Bag O Tricks. That’s the kind of gag whose legend grows over time.

Until next time…

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