Esmeralda and the TV “Broken” TV Clicker…


Sometimes “joking opportunities” just present themselves and are too good to resist.

One such opportunity presented itself one day while our friend Esmeralda was visiting.

She was a frequent visitor to our place and pretty much had run of the house. One day she came over and plopped herself down on the couch in front of the TV. On my way back from retrieving some food from the refrigerator, I went through the front-room where she was relaxing watching TV, when a clever trick came to mind. Now I’m the joking type, so I figured this opportunity was just too good to pass up.

Let me share with you that formula for fun. First, let me just say that a sociologist plus an opportunity to play a trick equals a really funny prank. And, sometimes life presents opportunities when you’re least expecting them.

As I began walking down the hall towards the back of my house, an idea struck me. Shortly after the idea came to me, I decided to go for it. I realized that the cable remotes in our house were identical. Thus, the remote from my room would work on the TV in the front room where Esmeralda was watching TV.


I took the remote from my room and quietly snuck into the hallway. Meanwhile, Esmeralda was lying on the couch engrossed in her movie. As I hid just around the corner, I lifted the remote and pressed the Last Channel Viewed button. The cable box immediately changed the channel. Esmeralda must have been somewhat confused, but took this part in stride and figure it was merely a random event. So she pointed her remote control at her TV and returned to her movie.

Although the temptation was to quickly change channels, I thought it would be more fun to space out the joke and build some anxiety. After 30 seconds or so, I again pressed the Last Channel Viewed button. Again, the TV changed programs. Now Esmeralda began to wonder what was happening. She once again pointed and aimed the remote control at the TV and switched back channel.

This time I barely waited to switch the channel. I change it back in about 5 seconds. Esmeralda was now confused at to what was going on. By this time, the switching was happening instantly. She would change her channel, and I would immediately change it back.

After a few iterations of this, Esmeralda yelled in an annoyed voice, ” Pete, there’s something wrong with your cable box!”

Figuring it would probably be unethical to continue doing the channel switching, I walked around the corner and into the front room laughing my behind off!

The look on Esmeralda’s face was priceless. At first she was not very happy with me messing with her. However, soon enough she began to process what had happened. As she processed the information, I could see a smile began to form on her lips as it dawned on her just how clever of a joke I had just played on her.

Sociology training can come in very handy when applied to pranks or practical jokes. The opportunity to play a trick presented itself, and because of my sociology training, this trick was not only fun, but educational as well. In order to pull off the prank, I had to use a sociology concept called the involvement contour. I had to be very aware of the involvement contour (not clicking too often, or often enough) but also had to be aware of fronting (hiding where she couldn’t see me), being aware of the nuances of my actions helped me pull off the prank. Sociology jokes rule!

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real world sociology pete padilla 

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