This video took me back to the malicious things that kids sometimes do to each other under the guise of pranks. The nature of the relationship of John, the ice-water splasher, to Nikki, his victim, is unclear, but this is the kind of thing that ten year-old boys will sometimes do to their older teenaged sisters. What does Iceman John mean by “Merry Christmas”? Why do I find this amusing? Sometimes the cruelest jokes are the funniest.

I’ve never pranked anyone like this; if anything I tended to be the victim when I was a kid. During a group sleepover at a friend’s beach house I was given an old-fashioned hot foot (i.e., two kitchen matches put between my toes and then lit while I was sleeping). To this day I can still recall the sensation of my toes getting hotter and hotter, and then the sudden muscle spasm that led to my levitating six inches off the floor.

Later that night the same pranksters put 30 or 40 ice cubes into a guy’s sleeping bag as he slept; an hour later he awoke in a state of uncontrollable shivering.

The only cruel prank I pulled was on a high-school acquaintance named Rick Callahan. He was in a bathing suit and lying sideways on a beach towel on an elevated sundeck next to a large community pool. He was leaning on his left arm, talking to a girl. In the area of the towel where Callahan would sooner or later lie down, three or four inches from his back, a friend and I stealthily placed a burning Marlboro cigarette on top of a matchbook. Then we scampered away and down some nearby stairs to ground level and waited. We were maybe 25 feet away. A minute or so later we heard Callahan’s howl.