Monday, November 17, 2014

The Foaming Fountain

Last week on the way to work, someone snapped a picture of a foaming fountain and posted it on Facebook. I felt a little out of it that I had no idea what a "foaming fountain" was...especially when comments started pouring in, showing everyone else knew exactly what it was.

A foaming fountain looks like this:



Or, if its owner is really unfortunate, this:



Apparently it's a popular prank. It happens when someone pours this:


Into this:


Under the Facebook post about the foaming fountain, there were posts laughing about the prank, along with a few posts about how damaging such a prank can be. I decided to research it. Does laundry detergent damage fountains? What about soap, bubble bath, and shampoo--also popular fountain saboteurs?  How could something so fun be bad?


First there's the fact that someone has to clean the mess up. I drove by our local foaming fountain two days later and the whole thing was completely shut down, so obviously that cleanup effort takes a while.


Then there's the danger to public safety if the foam spreads into an area where people walk and drive. This is especially significant since people tend to like to play in the overflow.


Worst of all, it can permanently damage the fountain, leading it to look like this for years...maybe forever:


What's the funniest prank you've ever seen?

97 comments:

  1. I didn't realize it could be so damaging either.
    At one place I worked, we always did things to each other for birthdays. The best was taping a large tube under someone's desk, filling it with confetti, and then attaching it to an air compressor. Yeah, at the right moment, confetti was everywhere. And my co-worker screamed. But it was funny!

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    1. That sounds great! I've worked in place where they filled people's cubicles with shredded paper and taped all their office supplies down to the desk. Fun, but messy to clean up!

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  2. Wow, I didn't know it could be so damaging either... although I would never think to do this then laugh about it... Some people enjoy the weirdest entertainment...

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    1. It's amazing that these fountains are in public places, in a world where surveillance cameras capture everything, and people still don't worry about being caught. This particular fountain was on a major, well-traveled road..

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  3. I have never seen or heard of this either and am surprised soap could damage a fountain. I guess the city uses something else to clean them with or they are just never cleaned?

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    1. I'm assuming it's because certain types of soaps can damage the mechanisms? I do know certain types of soaps can damage a hot tub, so it must be a similar type of thing? The layer of residue, perhaps?

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  4. First I have heard of this prank as well. Guess I'm out of the loop. Wouldn't want to clean that mess.

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    1. I think it's perhaps a good thing that we're behind on the latest vandalism pranks! Although apparently this prank has been around for a while. I never even toilet-papered anyone's house.

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  5. and I'm guessing it can harm birds if they drink it too :( I hate irresponsible pranksters. In my town kids like to bathe in the city fountain on the day of their HighSchool gradutation.... highly stupid...

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    1. I'm sure it could hurt birds. Good point! The Friends cast danced in that fountain--that probably didn't help fountain owners!

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  6. Hadn't heard of this and I'm not surprised it causes more problems than you would think. It's all fun and games until someone gets soap in their eyes and then sues.

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    1. It's a lawsuit waiting to happen, for sure. I'm sure the property manager has to put up warning signs and rope the area off until it can be thoroughly cleaned.

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  7. I'm a prankster, but that one looks like it could go terribly wrong.

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  8. Now harmless dye...that's always good for a fountain...cough cough...I've never done that

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    1. Sounds like it would be an even prettier prank than the foam!

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  9. It is amazing with all the technology around that the people who do these pranks aren't caught. I had no idea it would damage the fountain (things around it yes, I mean, soap can't be good for flowers and grass after all).

    I am not a prankster but my dad certainly is. Last year for Halloween he left a dummy he dressed up in a hockey mask in rooms, back seat of cars...you just never knew when he was going to strike and give you a heart attack.

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    1. There's something about a hockey mask that's terrifying. It's probably Jason Voorhees' fault!

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  10. I remember they talked about pouring detergent into a jacuzzi in a hotel on Laguna Beach once and Lauren Conrad kept saying how mean that sounded. I'm not much of a prankster but I had a friend at Conan whose Dad owned the Bowery and she told me some stories of A listers that trashed rooms in rather inventive ways (though that's not so much a prank as it is just horrible manners...)

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    1. A listers love to do that, or so I hear. Of course, they have to pay for all the damage, but they don't care!

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  11. It definitely sounds like a nightmare that no one would think would be bad until it was too late! I am not a big prank person, honestly. But I have read about some really funny ones, like when George Clooney hung the room service sign on Matt Damon's door ordering breakfast for 8 people at 6:00 a.m.-Ashley

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    1. George Clooney is a notorious prankster--but it sounds like his pranks are fairly harmless!

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  12. that is sad that it can cause serious damage to the fountain.

    i used to toilet paper in my day. that was it.

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    1. I never toilet papered a house, but I knew plenty of people who did! The only bad thing about that is if there's dew on the trees or it rains, it can get pretty messy!

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  13. Someone put some pink dye in a local fountain I think last year for the breast cancer awareness. They didn't ask, they just did. They were not happy because of similar reasons for the detergent.

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    1. I would definitely think it would further the cause to ASK first! There's probably a safer way to turn the water pink. Maybe shining a pink light on it?

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  14. Okay, so...it's funny but not so funny if you're the person who has to clean it up. I can't even recall any pranks that I've seen, now that I think about it. When I was younger, we used to ring people's door bells and take out running. Not sure why we thought that was funny...

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    1. They tend to do that around here, still...around 3 a.m.! These days people are armed, though...so it's not as good idea as it might have once been!

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  15. My daughter's car was egged a few years ago and we suspected we knew who did it, but it's hard to prove things like that. We did have a very discreet conversation with the person's parents about the cost of damage and the criminal aspect of what had been perpetrated. There were never anymore incidents after that and the problems suddenly went away. :)

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    1. We had a kid set of sparklers in our mailbox once when I was younger--with mail in it. We called the police...and they went over and talked to the boy. Apparently tampering with mail is pretty serious, but the police said it was a good idea to maybe give the kid a little bit of a scare! Hopefully it helped stop a lifetime of crime, but I have a feeling it didn't.

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  16. I does ruin the fountain. We had a beautiful fountain in our town that was destroyed by liquid soap. It was a shame.

    I've never been part of a prank. Just never appealed to me. If it had to do with someone's property I surely wouldn't consider doing anything.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

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    1. Oh, that's awful, Sandee! I hope it didn't destroy this one. It was really pretty.

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  17. I can imagine it would be a mess to clean up! Someone did something similar here to a pond where fish lived in. It wasn't soap but something else they poured in (and of course I can't remember now, but they thought it was innocent but turned out to be a disaster).

    I like to think toilet papering someone's house could be an "innocent" prank as long as no one gets hurt cleaning it up or doing the actual prank.

    (In answer to your question about medical transcription being a dying field, it is because of voice recognition coming in where doctors dictate, the voice recognition software prints what it hears the doctor say and then we go back and edit it, instead of straight typing like we used to. They (whoever they are) say we can edit 1/3 times faster than we can transcribe so they cut our income by half (???) for editing versus transcription. My income has dropped 50% since I started with the company I work for in the 8 years I've worked for them. Also, doctors are being trained to do their own dictating and editing of reports on new software. I've been doing this for 35 plus years. If you would have told me when I started that it would turn out this way, I wouldn't have believed it, but technology has advanced a lot and made the industry not as lucrative as it once was).

    betty

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    1. I tried regular transcription briefly once, Betty, and that paid HORRIBLY. I'm sure medical transcription is much better, but this was transcribing focus groups...it was really hard work and the pay was not worth it at all. There are a lot of writing jobs on Elance that require people with medical knowledge...just a thought! You can write and you have that edge. I can't really write about medical stuff, so I have to pass those jobs over when I see them.

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  18. I'm not a huge fan of pranks in general. I hate April Fool's Day jokes, for example.

    Would you call it a prank that, on my ;last day of work at a supermarket bakery department, I hung mistletoe from the back of my belt?

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    1. Sounds like a fun thing to do! I hate April Fool's Day. People try to trick you, then laugh at you when you fall for it. SO annoying.

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  19. If the fountain is in a public place, the tax payers are paying for the repair of the damage, and if someone gets hurt as a result of this thoughtless prank the tax payers are also paying for the lawsuit. It's a no win situation.

    I'm hoping the fountain isn't damaged. It would be a shame.

    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. Good point! I'm guessing we pay in situations where the fountain is on private property, as well. If property management pays for it, they raise their leases and tenants have to charge their clients more...which could be passed onto us if we're a customer of any of those businesses. If they turn it into insurance as property damage (not sure if it qualifies?), the cost of the repairs has to be footed by the insurance companies, who then raise their rates overall due to having to pay to fix this huge fountain. Probably not, but overall it CAN contribute to higher insurance rates when taken with everything else. These pranks actually aren't quite so funny, when you think of it that way!

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  20. I hadn't heard of foaming fountains either. My first thought is how fun! But then there's the damage. I wouldn't have even thought about it causing damage, but w/all the pumps and gadgetry required for a fountain to work, I shouldn't be surprised that is the case.

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    1. What hit me was that when people commented "That isn't so funny. That little prank can cause serious damage," people accused them of spoiling the fun. I didn't see it as spoiling the fun--it made me want to know if it really would cause damage.

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  21. I'd never heard of this either. People don't think about consequences when they plan pranks, I think. I've never been fond of them.

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    1. Pranks definitely create work for someone...in this case, it's probably an underpaid person who has to clean it all up.

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  22. I have also seen colouring added to the fountain foam. Sort of pretty - but a pain to clean up.
    And no, not a prank fan. Too many of them carry the risk of harm (to people and/or the environment) or humiliation - which I don't laugh at.

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    1. I wonder what the impact on the environment of this is...

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  23. I worry about those fountains that have goldfish and koi. People are always throwing things in there that don't belong.

    With a lifetime of pranks and hanging with pranksters, it's hard to pick one. The most recent one I've seen that hurt no one but was HILARIOUS was the spider dog prank. I have an upcoming post about it - but take a look:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoB8t0B4jx4

    I laughed and laughed at that one.

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  24. Funny for about one second, and then the consequences are pretty terrible. As a pond owner with a waterfall, I hate it when kids throw rocks at my koi. Not cool!

    Best prank I've ever seen had to be from that tv show Punk'd where they made Hugh Jackman believe that he had blown up a mansion by turning on the gas BBQ. Firetrucks came, explosions, the works. Hugh looked like he might cry.

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  25. My immediate thought is about the animals. I don't care about rats(ick) but cats, dogs, raccoons etc... may get hurt when they drink water that may be contaminated by this. When Jack Lemmon was in Mister Roberts, there was a soap sud scene and he had a very bad reaction and had to be hospitalized. Now I would have had no idea what a foaming fountain is either:) I went to a wedding and when the bride and groom got into their car and turned it on, confetti blew all over them. They told me that darn confetti was blowing in for a while:)

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    1. Groomsmen love to punk the getaway cars at weddings! Yeah, I don't know about the animals...at the fountain that was posted on Facebook last week, it's on a main road, so the only animals might be birds.

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  26. Hey, you just taught me about foaming fountains! Never seen or heard of them before. And yikes on the damage and the clean up . . . not a cool prank! (Says me, the voice of reason lol)

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    1. I was worried I'd be spreading the word about something that shouldn't be known! But the readership here are mature enough to know NOT to do it anyway!

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  27. Once at an amusement park I saw a roller coast ride suspended for the day. Someone had poured soap in the little water way the roller coaster crossed through. Huge plumes of soap bubbles kept building upward. The children were so upset So were the park.

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    1. That's awful...but I'm assuming the roller coaster was empty? It would have been far worse if it had gotten stuck midway down the track!

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  28. The foam looks so cool so I see why it is a popular prank, but most don't realize the damage it causes.

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    1. Most of the time the people who perpetuate pranks are kids...and they just assume someone's going to clean up all their messes because someone always does.

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  29. I have never heard of this prank. The foam does look pretty- but definitely not worth it because of the damage it can cause. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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    1. I think most people don't realize it causes damage. Hopefully this helped spread the word at least a tiny bit!

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  30. I haven't seen this prank before, but it does look kind interesting, though that's terrible about what it can do. I have seen some pretty funny pranks on facebook lately, though :)

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    1. The one Cherdo mentioned above about the dog spider is HILARIOUS. Watch the video if you have time!

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    2. Oh my goodness, I did! That is too funny!!! :)

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  31. A foamed up fountain might look funny at first glance, but we need to consider what a safety hazard this would be, especially for young children and the elderly.

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    1. And a liability for the property owner, as someone mentioned. Hopefully the properties have good slip and fall insurance!

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  32. oh goodness, I used to be the worst as a teen doing pranks. (shakes head) TPing houses, pulling out chairs from people when they go to sit... but the foam fountain I'd never do. that just too much "job security" involved in that one!

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    1. Yeah...I think toilet papering is considered innocent, since it doesn't really do permanent damage. In today's litigious society, you have to be careful how far you go with that, though! The fountain thing is vandalism, though, and I assume it could lead to an arrest? At the very least, a ticket...

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  33. I admit the foam-monster effect looks silly, even cartoonish, but unlike a cartoon, it can't easily be erased. I'm not a fan of those kinds of pranks, or any really. They're a passive-aggressive outlet for people who think they're "funny." I have no time for that.

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    1. I've heard stories about people putting bubble bath in hot tubs...it always reminds me of that episode of The Brady Bunch where she put way too much detergent into the washer and bubbles filled the whole room and came out into the hallway!

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  34. Oh it's impressive, I don't think I've ever saw something like that.

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    1. Thanks to the pictures, we can enjoy looking at it without having to do it ourselves!

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  35. I've never seen this before. I don't appreciate pranks. The pranksters never think about the consequences if they're caught and all the damage they do. It seems like they have a lot of time on their hands when they can be doing something productive.

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    1. Part of being young and (probably) under the influence... It could also be a fraternity prank, although we don't have any colleges immediately nearby!

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  36. People really don't think of the consequences of pranks, do they? What a mess to clean up!

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  37. I'm not a prank person. I've seen the damage those soap-fountain pranks have done.

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    1. I feel like I've been missing out by not knowing about this all these years!

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  38. Wow, this looked harmless at first, but you showed how destructive this stunt really is. My favorite pranks are the kind that aren't pulled on me!

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    1. Me too. I don't like pranks at all.

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  39. Hi Stephanie! Well, again you are my 'hip blog friend' who can keep me current. I had no idea what a 'foaming fountain' was. I've never seen one either. In a way, it is pretty funny, but I realize that it's damaging too. After all, those civic fountains belong to everyone.
    I really am not a prankster. I guess that makes me terminally boring. And it makes me rely on you for the latest in pranking news!
    Happy Tuesday,
    Ceil

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    1. Well...when it was posted on Facebook, people were commenting, "We used to do that prank when I was a kid!" Probably not smart, since some were admitting to having put foam in that very fountain 20 years ago--is there a statute of limitations on pranks?!

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  40. I didn't see this on Facebook but I think it's just awful=( I feel bad for the people who have to clean up the mess and not only that, but damaging such beauty is just wrong.
    My boss's best friend has the best pranks. She once found out her daughter got a tattoo while away in college so she had a fake letter head from the department of health and made up this bogus letter to email to her daughter. It said something about the tattoo parlor where she was marked had a Hepatitis scare and all those who received tats there should be tested. I think her daughter was literally ready to have a nervous break down. That is probably one of the worse pranks I can think of. Funny but just wrong!

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    1. OMG...I used to work for the Dept. of Health here, for the very department that licensed doctors and nurses. Tennessee's Health dept. doesn't license tattoo parlors (it's under Revenue for some reason), but most people wouldn't know that. I should have swiped some letterhead while I was there for future use!

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  41. Yeah, it's only funny if there's no permanent damage. I would never have thought soap could ruin a fountain- I'd have thought it would clean it.

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    1. It makes me wonder what it does to jacuzzis when guests play pranks in hotel rooms by putting soap in them...

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  42. Looks and sounds fun but yes, it is damaging.

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    1. It is beautiful--we'll just admire the pictures and let that be enough!

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  43. I'm going to shorten my comment, as the last one disappeared! Think it's my wi-fi.
    Teenagers froth up our fountain at the entrance to our beach house. They add red for Christmas. Looks very pretty and they must restrain themselves as it doesn't get near as frothy as the one you shared.

    Your blog is looking awesome.

    Denise :)

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    1. Thank you, Denise! Something weird was happening here a little while ago. I couldn't reply to comments. I think it was a Blogger blip.

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  44. If there were any fish in the fountain, the detergent would kill them. That's why survival guides recommend "fishing" with a box of detergent. It's not sportsmanlike, but if you're hungry, it will kill all the fish in a pond.

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    1. Yikes! And the fish would certainly be clean once you "fished" them out!

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  45. Oh my! I had no idea. I always am amazed that folks can think up this stuff. I would never have known to do such a thing.

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    1. The internet has probably made it far worse...it was easy to research how to put soap in a pond for this blog, so you know it's on "best pranks" lists everywhere.

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  46. I lived through a 'prank' if you can call it that, but it wasn't so funny and impacted lives, including mine. Was it horrible? Kinda. Did I survive? Clearly. Was it fun.... heck no.

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  47. I'd never seen a foaming fountain either, but it only makes sense; all that detergent can't be good for the surrounding plants. I'm not fan of pranks as they often escalate to frustration on both sides. Or as the saying goes, "It's all fun and game until someone loses an eye." :D

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  48. A prank has to bee harmless too be fun. My sister and her friends were always doing things like relocating everything a girl owned from her apartment, someone wrapped everything she owned in tin foil, filled thee area between the door and screen door with fruit. Crazy stuff like that. The April fools jokes where people cover things in sticky notes are pretty funny too.

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  49. There is a really expensive complex in Huntington Beach that had a fountain at the entrance. They finally took the fountain out as the bubbles would flow across the street and really cause havoc. Kind of sad to see it go.

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