It’s a grand thing, to commit some beautiful mischief.
Now, “beautiful mischief” is not pranking or practical joking, neither of which I’m very fond of because they can easily (and relentlessly) be used by abusive jackwads. Many’s the time a toxic person has pulled something horrific as a “prank” or “practical joke” and used “well, it was just a joke” as cover, and I dislike that right down to the ground.
I know a lot of people love board games and card games and plenty love practical jokes, but after seeing all three weaponized so often while growing up, I’m not a fan. Other people can do my share.
But beautiful mischief is something else. For example, if you know your bestie is writing a book or story centered on a circus, you could set up an entire three-rings-plus-ringmasters on her desk (most in brightly colored wind-up plastic, bless you, Archie McPhee) in the dead of night, and wait for her to find it. Or you could throw a Zombie-Tiki Surprise Party for someone who enjoys that sort of thing. Or you could do something like the Great Sock Monkey Incident(s). Or you could conceivably Tuckerize a friend into a limited-edition story about an undead woodland creature and clacking bronze testicles.
Beautiful mischief must be something that won’t upset or creep out a beloved person. It must not cause a problem for them to solve, either–all cleanup must be handled by the mischief-makers. It must show careful attention to the beloved’s likes and dislikes. It must be a surprise, and it’s best if one can enlist a whole group to spread both the cost and the enjoyment. Not that the cost need be prohibitive! Beautiful mischief can be as simple as texting pictures of garden gnomes or owls you know the other person will get a chuckle out of, or as complex as a multi-month wrangling of several moving parts for party planning or art commissioning. It could also be, say, a velvet painting of a certain fandom figure. (Or a glittery Sailor Moon tumbler. Hm. Someone I know could give THAT a good home…)
It’s delicious to keep a beautiful mischief secret and wait for the discovery. There’s nothing quite like it. I love both the secret, personal arrangement of beautiful mischief and facilitating it with an entire group. I think I like the facilitation best though, because then I can completely disavow any knowledge or responsibility. “What, me? I’d never, whoever did that must be a genius though…”
Ideal, of course, is the beautiful mischief nobody ever finds out one has committed, leaving it a loving little mystery. They can suspect, of course, but, “Don’t thank me, because it wasn’t me, it must just be that you’re so cool the universe itself has arranged itself to give you something nice, which I wholeheartedly concur with because I think you’re awesome…” is my favorite way to finish off a bit of beautiful mischief, right next to letting someone else take the credit–though it must be credit; if there is blame for mismanaged mischief, step up and take it like an adult.
Fortunately, by obeying the rules of cleanup and non-creepiness, I have never had to take blame. I have, however, been fortunate enough to dodge a great deal of credit, which suits me roundly. It makes everything even more hilarious.
Anyway, I love doing this sort of thing when I’m a bit down. It’s even better to do it just-because, for no earthly reason at all. Striking without warning is the very essence of love and warfare, isn’t it?
Very soon–well, maybe not soon, given the vagaries of international shipping–I will hear a deeply horrified as well as utterly admiring “JESUS CHRIST NO WHAT THE HELL WHO DID THIS??!?!!” ringing across a whole-ass ocean. Then I will smile, knowing that lovely mischief has been managed, and get ready to blink with baffled innocence when accused of perpetrating or facilitating some hijinks of a deeply hilarious and caring nature.
And I will already be planning my next great scheme. Because I perpetually, solemnly swear I will never be up to any damn good.
*evil laughter fades into the distance*