Former Nine Inch Nails Art Director Reveals Maddening Tour Prank
Some pranks are fun for those being pranked, while others can drive people to the brink of madness. Thanks to former Nine Inch Nails art director Rob Sheridan, we’ve now got a great story on the latter type of tour prank.
Sheridan was moved to reveal his deviousness after learning that unique contraption company Think Geek was shutting down. In a series of tweets, the art director explained how a prank played upon Nine Inch Nails tour manager went a bit too far and was scary enough that no one wanted to reveal the prank once it was finally stopped.
"For those unaware, the Annoy-A-Tron was an absolutely insidious office prank device, a very tiny contraption with an adhesive back designed to be hidden and stuck in difficult-to-find places,” explained Sheridan. “When activated the Annoy-A-Tron would emit a loud high-pitched electronic beep, not unlike the horrible beep smoke detectors make when low on batteries. The beep had an incredible way of piercing an entire room, but here's the genius part, the part that made it truly evil. The beeps would emit at RANDOM INTERVALS. Not only is there something deeply psychologically irritating about a sound that has no understandable pattern, it also made the source of the device incredibly difficult to locate, because you couldn't easily hone in on it.”
Though not revealing the name of said tour manager (referring to him only as “J”) that was the victim of the prank, Sheridan reveals that he was “the nicest guy, he was also a big man from Texas who didn't take any shit,” but as he was the only one on the crew with a desk, that made him the obvious choice to prank.
He revealed the “team operation” as said manager was lured away from his office so that the prank could be enacted, “We'd find reasons to go into J's office to check in on him. At first it was funny: ‘Do you hear that? Something keeps fucking beeping! What IS that?’ I know, this is all very immature. But it WAS funny,” says Sheridan. “Well, it was funny until J started going so crazy from the horrible sound that he began unplugging every device in the room, trying to narrow down the source: Printers, phones, computers, smoke detectors, etc. Everything was unplugged yet the beep persisted. He was SCREAMING.”
He recalls, “As J grew more furious and obsessed, we started to get concerned. This had gone too far. But we couldn't get into his office to turn the device off without revealing our prank, which at this point would be a very dangerous thing to admit to. So we watched, nervously, as J proceeded to physically remove EVERYTHING from the office. Unplugging wasn't good enough, he had to completely clear the office out to eliminate possible culprits of the terrible noise. He removed everything... except his desk. We were biting our nails watching this unfold … Sweating and filled with rage, J stands on the desk and starts ramming the ceiling tiles with a broom handle, knocking them down one by one, convinced there must be something in the ceiling. He's a man possessed, and the joke has gone way too far at this point.”
According to Sheridan, it took an intervention with a made up issue to get the manager to leave his office and remove the Annoy-A-Tron. Eventually, after realizing the beeping had stopped, the manager began to rebuild his office, while those involved in the prank made a pact to never speak of it … until now.
“J pulled many pranks of his own, and normally we'd have told him, and reveled in how hard we ‘got’ him. But I've never seen someone driven so mad by a sound than I saw J on that day. There was fire in his eyes. He was ready to kill. We didn't dare tell him,” said Sheridan, who hopes the tour manager isn’t on Twitter to read of the prank.
Finishing his story, Sheridan thanked the Think Geek company for their products, stating that they will be missed. The full string of tweets can be viewed here.
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