Hijinks at the Office

One Halloween several years ago, while working in the office where I discovered porn on my computer, I decided to dress up as, Max, one of my coworkers.

Dressing the part was easy because Max, like a lot of young, twenty-something guys, had a predilection for plaid button ups. He loved the Dodgers, and often wore a ball cap to the office. He had a tendency to roll up the cuff of his pants to show off his white athletic socks. He wore horn-rimmed glasses, and maintained some facial scruff.

Valerie, another one of our coworkers, was throwing a Halloween party at her apartment after work, so a bunch of us decided to come to the office in costume.

“Hey, you’re not dressed up today,” a manager, Ben, said when I arrived at the office.

I put up a finger and told Ben to wait, and then went into the bathroom to start applying makeup to my face to mimic facial hair, which sadly, I cannot grow. I put on a ball cap and walked back out into the office.

“You’re Max!” Ben exclaimed.

And then, a few moments later, from the doorway across the room I heard:

“Oh my god, you’re me!”

He burst out laughing, and the room erupted in laughter. Then I started laughing — out of relief more than anything. I had managed to prank Max.

If I had to choose one of the characters from the television show The Office to say who Max was the most like, I’d say he was Dwight Schrute, but much more likable; Max was a neurotic Jewish guy from the West Coast instead of a neurotic guy who lived on a beet farm.

In The Office, Jim Halpert relieves much of his boredom as a paper salesperson by playing pranks on Dwight, his desk mate. In the very first episode, Jim encases Dwight’s stapler in Jell-O. In season three, Jim convinces Dwight and their boss Michael that gaydar is a real device that can be bought, and later sends a fake gaydar device to Dwight which sets off when Dwight makes an attempt to try it on himself. In another episode, Jim pays his coworkers five dollars to call Dwight “Dwayne” for an entire day, and yes, there is even an episode where Jim dresses up as Dwight and mimics his style of speaking.

We were similarly bored at our job convincing people to take surveys. Valerie was the first person to pull a prank on Max.

One afternoon, Max’s phone began ringing off the hook. The first time Max picked up the phone, he listened and then after a few seconds asked, “Excuse me, who is this?” The person hung up.

Moments later, his phone rang again, and Max picked up the phone, listened with a confused look on his face, and then hung up.

“Who was that?” Valerie asked.

“I don’t know,” Max said.

Max’s phone continued to ring, and other people in the office tried picking up the phone to listen to the calls. There was heavy breathing, a low voice, something about someone being someone’s father.

As it turns out, Valerie had placed an ad on Craigslist with Max’s office number saying that he had decided to give away a free television, and that he’d give the television to the person who called him with the best Darth Vader impression.

Once, another coworker named Lucas relieved his boredom by creating a portrait to give to Max, which he created using Microsoft Paint.

Other pranks that were pulled off:

I forget which one of us did this, but you take a screenshot of your coworker’s desktop. Then you hide all of the icons on your coworkers desktop in a folder, and then use the screenshot as the desktop’s wallpaper, so when your coworker attempts to open up a file, they struggle with clicking it open.

I can’t remember if someone did this to Max, or another coworker named Zack, but someone went into his iTunes player and made the list of the 25 most played songs all from The Backstreet Boys.

I watched these pranks get played with amusement, but didn’t really have it in me to participate. And then Halloween arrived, the idea popped in my head, and I went for it. As luck would have it that day, Max decided to wear the outfit to work that I hoped he would wear.

For the rest of the day, I’d do something like walk over to the coffee machine, and someone would say, “Oh my god, I really thought you were Max.”

Max loved it. For the longest time, he even used a photo of me dressed up as him as his profile photo on Facebook. He now lives in Los Angeles and is well on his way to becoming a History professor or some other kind of academic.

Before heading to Valerie’s Halloween party, I decided I’d go home and change into a different home-made costume: I was Maddox Jolie-Pitt. That costume was also a hit.