Before I start writing the actual post, I just want to run this concept past you. Trust me, you'll understand exactly why in a moment:
WHITE TYPE ON A RED BACKGROUND LOOKS LIKE THIS:
WHITE TYPE ON A PURPLE BACKGROUND LOOKS LIKE THIS:
BUT WHITE TYPE ON A WHITE BACKGROUND IS INVISIBLE:
Okay, so I've pulled a few pranks in my time, but this will always be one of my favourites. This happened in the early days of email, long before most offices and corporations implemented policies for use of the Internet and office-based email.
A very close friend of mine - and a terrific worker, I should point out - was having a bit of a chuckle about an email he had received. The attachment contained a file that I would classify as risque, rather than anything totally offensive. He spent several moment spluttering with laughter and then called me over to have a look at the file.
``That sort of stuff could get you into a lot of trouble,'' grunted another colleague - with a twinkle in his eye. I took that as my cue. I hatched a plan and returned to my desk. I rang the office IT support team to tell them what I was doing. I told them my friend would soon ring to report a computer problem - and I told them exactly how to respond to his phone call.
That was the easy part. The hard part was finding the opportunity to take over his computer for about ninety seconds. Midway through the afternoon, my good friend left his desk for about five minutes. I quickly raced over to his computer and changed the settings on his control panel. Instead of the default setting of black text on a white background, he would now get white text on a white background.
In other words, anything he typed would be invisible! (And he’s not a nerd, so I knew he wouldn’t figure out what had happened!)
Sure enough, when he returned, he thought his computer was playing up. Bless his cotton socks, he's a wonderful bloke but he's hopeless with computers. And he gets really, really narky when technology ceases to function as expected.
When he returned to his desk, he soon realised there was a problem with his computer. Speaking through gritted teeth, he picked up the phone, rang the IT department as I had predicted - and asked them to come and sort out his ``bloody computer''. The two IT experts who had been ``coached'' by me appeared shortly after. They could have each received Oscar nominations for carrying out their parts without betraying the game. In a nutshell, this is what transpired ...
IT experts: ``Do you have pornographic material on this PC?''
Colleague: (startled) ``No.''
IT experts: ``Any offensive downloads?''
IT experts: ``Have you recently opened any email attachments?''
Colleague: (cautiously) ``Er, yes.''
IT experts: ``Can we inspect them please? There is one attachment doing the rounds that is classified as pornography - and it is causing a strange virus that is wiping out the hard drive of the computers of everyone who opens the attachment.''
Colleague: (with a slight stutter and showing signs of cracking under the strain)``There is one email attachment that I opened today ....''
For the next five minutes, the IT guys shook their heads as they sternly inspected the email, opened the attachment and told my colleague, stony-faced, that he could be responsible for IT mayhem in the company.
Just when he started sweating bullets, they told him there would be serious consequences.
Colleague: ``Like what?''
IT experts: ``Like if you don’t go and talk to your mate David McMahon, who orchestrated this entire prank.''