When Good Pranks Go
by Mad Dog
think at this point everyone would know what a wedgie is. I mean,
exactly who is the person who has to look it up in the dictionary,
||It’s a high water mark
for linguistics when a time honored childhood practice is officially
recognized by such an esteemed source as Webster’s New World
College Dictionary. The new edition, which won’t be in bookstores
until May so you have plenty of time to sit back, relax, and keep
enjoying those wonderful recreations of the Michael Jackson trial on E!,
includes the word “wedgie,” as in: “noun. a prank in which the
victim’s undershorts are jerked upward so as to become wedged between
the buttocks.” Somehow it seemed a lot funnier and less clinical when
we did it to Tommy Sackett. Every day. For a month.
It’s about time the word was
included in the dictionary. After all, “noogie” is. It’s “the
act of rubbing one's knuckles on a person's head so as to produce a
mildly painful sensation.” Strangely, Dutch rub and pink belly are
nowhere to be found, though to give the benefit of the doubt, they’re
phrases, so maybe we can let Webster’s off the hook.
The editors still deserve a wedgie,
though they should get it for being so far behind the times. The
dictionary’s competitor, Merriam-Webster (motto: “Two proper nouns
are better than one”), has been listing “wedgie” for 10 years now.
Maybe they’re not as conservative about adding new words. Or perhaps
they’re just more on top of teen slang. Or should I say, down with the
kewl lingo. But I suspect the truth is that they’re bigger dorks and
got so many wedgies during high school they thought they invented the
thong and, heeding the advice they received during interminable creative
writing classes, wrote what they knew.
Two Chicago teenagers were arrested after having given a
12-year-old boy repeated wedgies that resulted in bruises which required
medical attention. Hey, underwear intrusion incidents are no laughing
You’d think at this point everyone would know what a wedgie is.
I mean, exactly who is the person who has to look it up in the
dictionary, anyway? Sure if you search Google you might get the
impression it’s a gardening tool, a clown/magician/educator who lives
in Toronto, or a model airplane, but face it, if you have to look online
to discover what a wedgie is then you deserve what you get. And you
should get a wedgie. Often.
Giving and getting wedgies is pretty
universal, though to be honest I have to say I’ve never been on either
the giving or receiving end, this in spite of the Tommy Sackett mention
in the first paragraph. I swear I never touched him or his pants. It was
the other guys. Honest.
Not that I’m complaining about not
getting one. While they seem innocuous enough, they can be the source of
a lot of trouble, and I’m not just talking about the need to go to the
bathroom to sort yourself out, the years of therapy, or the feeling of
dread when your mother does the laundry and you know she’s going to
ask about the skid marks on your underwear. No, it turns out wedgies can
lead to jail.
I didn’t discover this by coming
across a government-funded study that proves giving wedgies is a gateway
crime which leads to robbery, murder, and remaking old TV shows as bad
movies. No, the reason I know wedgies can lead to jail is that recently
two Chicago teenagers were arrested after having given a 12-year-old boy
repeated wedgies that resulted in bruises which required medical
attention. Hey, the Chicago police understand that underwear intrusion
incidents are no laughing matter. The older teen was charged with
misdemeanor battery. The other, a minor, was given three noogies, two
Dutch rubs, a pink belly, and a week with the Horse Whisperer.
horses and children like apples, respond well to whips and spurs, and
need someone to clean up after them. Horses, on the other hand, can be
sold, are respected if they become studs-for-hire, and are legally eaten
in many countries.
Yes, the Horse Whisperer. He might actually be able to help the
boy. It turns out that Monty Roberts, the man who inspired the movie The
Horse Whisperer, has been holding workshops for British teachers
showing them how to tame wild schoolchildren by using the same
techniques he uses on wild horses. “Horses and children are almost
identical emotionally and psychologically,” Roberts told British
newspaper The Observer. “They are both flight animals who wish
to avoid trouble, but will become first bashful, then aggressive, if
intimidated.” He went on to point out other similarities: both horses
and children like apples, respond well to whips and spurs, and need
someone to clean up after them. Horses, on the other hand, can be sold,
are respected if they become studs-for-hire, and are legally eaten in
If horse whispering can reduce the
number of wedgies, then it’s a good thing. It might even result in
saved lives. A couple of years ago 19-year-old Daniel Strouss of Lower
Southampton, PA, was charged with attempted murder for driving to a
friend’s house, laying in wait, then shooting his friend in the arm
and leg when he got home. It turns out Strouss had been holding a grudge
because several months earlier, while at a Phish concert, his friend
sneaked up and gave him a wedgie. It’s a good thing his friend
didn’t also give him a noogie or he might not be alive to be
embarrassed by the tale today.
So remember, just because a word is
in the dictionary doesn’t mean it’s a good thing to try it. After
all, Webster’s dictionary also added “irritable bowel syndrome”
this year and you don’t want that, do you? The good news is that Dutch
rub and pink belly aren’t in the dictionary, so you can still have
plenty of fun.
©2005 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them while trying to ignore the wedgie you were just given.