I agree with you David, as long as there is a measure of safety first displayed by the prankster, all is fun and is fair game, as far as I am concerned.
We have placed electrolytic caps in reverse (in purpose) for a technician to debug, and the moment of power-up is priceless for those in the know.
Sounds like you've been working with the wrong guys Himanshu!!
Yep, we sometimes work with dangerous stuff but how often do you hear of a practical joke going really wrong? I think most engineers know how far to go without putting someone in danger.
Hence the last line of the post:
"I know, boss," I said, "so I gave him my plastic screwdriver last week!"
Erik, was that the truth or was that just quick thinking on your part?
David, in my opinion engineering is by an large very humorless profession and i attribute it to the dangerous nature of the practical joke. Working with high current, voltages, heavy equipment etc need very careful handling otherwise disasters are just round the corners.
Joshua...there's a saying that's very relevant here.
"It's never too late to have a happy childhood"
Which is I think what most of us were doing when we got up to these pranks. In most cases they did no long term harm to anyone or anything.
As you've observed, Engineers by and large have a good sense of humour (sorry, humor to you!)and often the jokes are appreciated as much by the "jokees" as the joker. I don't think it's irresponsible, jsut makes work more fun.
Thinking back, I wonder sometimes if I was just an irresponsible idiot at times. Maybe i was, but it now seems that my distorted sense of humor is shared by a large number of excellent engineers. I'm relieved to discover that. Thank you all.
Back in the 70's I curiously watched as a technician merrily was twisting together a bunch of 4.7 ohm 1 watt resistors together while across the lab another design group was about to power up a several hundred watt switching power supply for the first time. The dynamics of switching power supply design back in the 70's meant there was quite a bit of trepidation during First Turn-On. Meanwhile, our tech had hooked this string of resistors up to a variable transformer connected to the AC line and place them in front of a computer fan. As they started up the power supply, He turned up the voltage just enough to make the resistors began to sweat. After about a minute a very faint wiff of "O' de Ohm" made it across the room, and suddenly we hear "SHUT IT DOWN! SHUT IT DOWN !". I made it a point to not stand to close to the chuckling tech as these miffed engineers turned around and glared.
I was working on a bench that looked through the risers on my bench and the one facing my bench towards a third bench where the other hardware design engineer was bringing up an offline smps. There had been had a few small explosions of the power switch as the unite was being tested under high line conditions. I had received a new part packed in large bubble wrap. Not intending to cause a ruckus but just because it is fun to role the stuff up and twist it to pop several bubbles at once, I did. I did not know the guy working on the supply was just turning it on as I gave the first big twist with several loud pops. That guy must have jumped nearly a meter in the air and slammed the switch off. Seeing him jump like that I walked around the bench to see him shaking like a leaf. I apologized and he told me that he was just turning the thing on at high line when the bubbles popped. He went out and smoked a few cigarettes before returning to work. On the next power cycle his supply did emit it's own rather loud report again. I eventually took over that project and that supply is now employed world wide. Even in Russia where the power can swing between 190 and 300VAC!