I love comedy. I’m both a fan and practitioner of practical jokes. But there’s no place in the woodshop for fooling around. Ever.
There’s a video going around Facebook, and if you’re a woodworker chances are someone has shared it with you. In it, a woodworker who thinks he’s hilarious pretends he fired an enormous staple through his finger. In reality, the staple – sitting high on the wood surface – has one side cut off so he could slide his finger underneath that side. A bit of ketchup or red ink or whatever on his finger, and it looks real. The “fun” begins when he suddenly yells out in pain to a coworker who, upon seeing it, is understandably horrified.
Yuk-yuk-yuk. Gosh, I can’t think of anything funnier to do than to fake an accident in a professional shop. And I say that because it is clearly a working shop with multiple employees, and this apparently bored worker thought it’d be swell fun to fake an accident for laughs. What kind of idiot thinks pretending he had a bloody accident in a working environment is funny? Well, were that my shop it would be an immediately unemployed idiot.
Before writing this, I curiously did a quick YouTube search and was shocked to learn that “funny” videos of workshop pranks are anything but rare. One involved setting a sander in the locked-on position so the tool launched across the shop when plugged in. Another featured the sidesplitting antic of tossing a firecracker under a guy’s feet as he worked.
Even sadder, most of these seem evenly split between pranks done in pro shops and school shops. I can possibly understand the ones in school shops, as those are kids and kids are stupid. But what possible excuse does an adult in a pro shop have? Here, let me answer that for you: None.
On “Saturday Night Live” or “Home Improvement,” this can be funny stuff, and no one will laugh more appreciatively than I. But put it into a real shop environment and it’s not only seriously unfunny, but potentially dangerous. At best, it’s crude, childish and uncaring.
If you think this in-the-workplace nonsense is funny – or, worse, you’re a practitioner – do us all a favor and find another line of work better suited to your “talents.”