I worked for 10 years in an open cut coal mine. "As long as it doesn't break any safety rules...."
These were guys who had been working in faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar flung isolated places for all their lives with nothing to amuse them but their imaginations. And they had enormous amounts of disposable cash to fund said pranks (and to put things right AFTER the prank)
Oh and did I mention EVERY kind of tradesman with too much time on their hands. AND big machines... really big machines... cranes and stuff.
Having said that... if you planned a GOOD prank you had better be prepared for someone else with a bigger imagination and the whole town of 9,000 egging them on with suggestions for payback.
Though some things that happened were totally innocent.
I was 16. Raised in a family with 6 boys so boys didnt faze me. First week at work. First time ever walking around the actual site, so I had an escort with me to show me the safety ropes like where NOT to walk (man V 120 tonnes hauler) etc. Now most people didnt WALK around the site they drove.... but since I was on a getting to know the place tour I was walking; towards the Service Bay and knew I had to get across the access road pretty damn quick; big trucks. So I scampered across well ahead of my guide who was yelling at me to STOP! (No way was I stopping ON the road with the big trucks coming so I ran on a bit... after all... nothing of danger ahead of me except a nice raised island of concrete right? SAFETY!
NOPE! The "island" was actually an overflow pan of engine oil that had crusted over with coal dust and dirt that made it LOOK like concrete.
I stepped on it and the surface cracked and I went up to the oil to my mid-thighs. Thick slimey tarry old engine oil
. Some of the boys from the Service Bay ran over and grabbed my arms and lifted me out. Now... you have to place me in this... I was the new girl in town... a town of about ohhhhh 5 other single girls and a few thousand boys. They had been prewarned that the new girl was doing the rounds so it was just a little intimidating being checked out, but then, I had moved alot as a kid into small towns and know what its like to be the new kid so I didnt put a whole lot of store in it.
The boys toddled me over to the office of the Service Bay and we all stood there wondering what the hell to do about the mess I was in. There was nowhere private for me to change into something else (overalls) and I was far too much of a mess to be put in a car to take anywhere to clean up. Trev, the Senior, a really top bloke and as bushie as they come showed me the 120 gallon tub of degreaser in the wash bay and suggested I "get to it"... but when I tried I discovered that if I learned forward to put the degreaser on my legs then the hem of my skirt would dip into the engine oil (it was short... BUT IT WAS ONE DAY OLD!)and... if I leaned forward then my skirt would come up at the back.
They couldnt use the pressure hoses (well duh!) and even the regular water hoses would have saturated me top to toe and done nothing to get the oil off.
By this time I was getting a bit over it all and just wanted this stuff OFF me.... and my practical nature took over. There was only ONE thing for it. One guy on each leg with a bucket of degreaser each. I tucked my skirt between my legs with my hands and told them to "get on with it". There was a bit of debating about "should it be the older guys or would that be creepy or should the younger guys do it as I had met a few of them the week before at my sisters house"
Oh for heavens sake! I picked two and they started with very tentative applying of the degreaser. I explained that if they were embarrassed it would take a few hours at that rate so they might as well spoodge the stuff ON and get stuck in. They saw the logic of my advice and got stuck in getting the stuff off my legs while one of the other guys degreased my shoes.
Half an hour later I was degreased enough to use some liquid soap to clean the degreaser off my legs (which I did myself now that my dress wasnt in danger of being greased) and refreshed and renewed I headed back to the main office complex.
After I got back I had to report into the Senior Safety Officer. He was another brilliant bloke who was a bit of a Dad figure to us young girls. I remember he sat me down and said something about being sorry the pit wasnt marked and how noone should EVER have been put in such an ambarrassing situation like that...... to which I remember blabbing on to him about "Ohhhh I am sure the boys will get over it! Its not as if they havent seen a girl in a bikini before! Whats a bit of leg!" to which he added that it was MY embarrassment he had been concerned about... but now that he thought about it.....
The pit had guards and signs on the next day. And the guys realised that I wasnt quite so quiet and shy as they supposed and that I would fit in very nicely.
Just keep swimming... just keep swimming.. just keep swimming....