Wednesday, August 15, 2007

We got got

As many of you may know, Danny Groner has had an intern employed in his office this summer. Due to Dan’s paranoia, we were never allowed to know her by any name other than “The Intern.” About a month ago, with the help of super sleuth Jaws, we were able to learn her true identity – Susan. Now that we had a mole in the office, it was only a matter of how exactly we would use her to our advantage in order to carry out some sort of elaborate prank against Dan.
At this point, we knew that we would be spending the first day of this trip in D.C. and decided that this would be a good time for the climax of the prank. (As you will soon see, we ended up covered in our own jizz.) Thus, when Dan requested a copy of outr itinerary in mid-July, we sent him a dummy version of the itinerary, in which we would be visiting Dorney Park on Day 1. (Abe still prefers we had gone with the dummy itinerary instead of the real one. He is bitching about it as I type this sentence.)
After some discussion and brainstorming, we devised a scheme with several steps:
1. The make a hole in a box phase: We enlisted our jolly friend Eh Steve, who has a history of impersonating senior citizens, to call Dan’s office and ask for him. He claimed to be a Korean War veteran named Paul Rodgers, and was very angry about an article Dan wrote in the most recent issue of The Beacon. His complaints were ridiculous and totally invalid, but that was the point. Dan transferred him to his editor; Steve hung up.
2. The put your junk in a box phase: A week later, we sent an email from a woman named Amy Orndorff from a fake yahoo address bearing her name. Amy identified herself as the daughter of Mr. Rodgers, whom she said was deeply insulted by the way Dan spoke to him on the phone, claiming that Dan called him an “idiot” before hanging up. (This didn’t actually occur, but Dan had once mentioned in passing that he occasionally does this and we assumed it would be impossible for him to recall if he did it on this specific occasion.) She also identified herself as a staff writer for the Washington Post and lectured Dan on the importance of professionalism in journalism, demanding an apology.
3. The get her to open the box phase: Dan responded with an apology, which led to a series of emails back and forth, concluding with a demand that Dan meet her father in person for a face to face apology to set things right. The meeting was set: 5:30 PM, Starbucks, Silver Spring.

Everything seemed to be going without a hitch, until this past Saturday night, when we observed Dan spotting the intern’s name in Etan’s Gmail contacts list. We immediately reached a sad conclusion: it’s over. We later retracted this mental surrender, but this was likely partially us deluding ourselves and partially wanting to see how things would play out.

We arrived at Starbucks on time and sat in the store waiting for Dan to arrive. 5:30 came and went. As did 5:40 and 5:50. At this point, we knew for certain that the prank had been reversed on us. It was only a matter of sitting and waiting and seeing what would happen. At 6PM, a young girl, who Jaws identified as Dan’s sister, walked into the store holding a cardboard box, which she deposited with a Starbucks employee, and then walked out of the store giggling. The employee then handed us the box, which was labeled “Thread—Fragile.” We immediately went into character, desperately crying and asking “what’s in the box?” We opened the box to find 5 envelopes with our names on them. We were being Kobayashied. In them, Dan explained how he had known for approximately a week that it was us, detailing all the steps along the way that tipped him off. If you want to learn more about this, you can ask Dan to send you his manifesto. We will not attempt to do it justice by summarizing it in this space. He also included an email exchange with the real Amy Orndorff in which she confirms his suspicion: she had never contacted him; it was us.

The problem with our prank was its ambition. We went for the homerun and swung and missed. Bringing Amy Orndorff in was the move that made the prank amazing but it was also the move that caused the entire thing to unravel. Additionally, the intern was of absolutely no real help to us and did more to tip Dan off than to aid us in our efforts. As far as shtick goes, she was out of her league and was totally lost trying to perform on this stage. In short, she screwed us with our pants on. After a quick check of her facebook profile, we decided that we would have preferred that she had screwed us with our pants off.

The most amazing aspect of this saga was the commitment all parties involved had to carrying out the prank to its conclusion, especially when considering we all spent the entire previous weekend together. Kudos to all of us. In the words of a wise man, “All’s well that ends with good shtick.”



Yassi said...

yes, ive been refreshing all night, good times

Danny the Manny said...

I have much to add to this abridged writeup that'll help explain how deep this spy vs. spy went:

1. As I waited and killed time in the parking lot on Monday before 6 PM, I started to wonder if they had rented a car with Maryland license plates. Every car that drove by caused me to duck behind my steering wheel, once even hitting the horn with my chin.

2. I contacted the real Amy Orndorff in order to get her to come along with me for the big reveal. She declined my invitation. I then considered bringing a fake one along or sending a fake one inside as my representative. The guys told me they considered sending an actor to play the fake Mr. Rodgers. If two actors had shown up and nobody else that would have been amazing. Especially if they were hired from the same talent agency and they knew each other.

3. I basically assumed from the time I figured out the plan that everyone I knew was involved in this plot in some way. I could talk to nobody about the scheming. If you know me, you realize how hard those six days were.

If you'd like to read my manifesto - the one that appeared in the box along with correspondence with the real Amy Orndorff - e-mail me at


Danny the Manny said...

Two more things:

1. After reading the transcript of the conversations that the guys had with the intern the past month, I noticed someone there suggested contacting the real Amy Orndorff to bring her in. If that had happened, and then I contacted her myself separately weeks later, I would have been had. I pushed the prank up a notch on Monday, but in that case they could have taken it a notch above me. Imagine if at the Starbucks Amy turns heel on me. So much potential there. She's the Stephanie McMahon of journalistic prankiture.

2. I spent about a half hour on Thursday trying to crack the password for the fake Amy Orndorff e-mail. I didn't know what I planned to do, but locking them out of their own e-mail address seemed like a good play. Alas, I couldn't put together the correct combination of numbers and letters. I must say, however, I did try out "shtick" as a password and that turned out not to be too far from the actual password.


Danny the Manny said...

Lastly, the intern claims I should have flipped her on Wednesday. If I had, she promises she could have delivered the real Amy Orndorff. She would have been more greatly invested on my side of the scheme than she was on the guys'. It turns out that Orndorff is a childhood friend of hers and attends the same church. Had Orndorff known that intern was involved, says the intern, then Orndorff would have surely been game for the re-prank. This story will surely be brought up the next time the intern and Orndorff break bread (or wafers).


rafi said...

How far reaching was this shtick you may ask, well.....
I take the A train home from work every day. There's never anyone on the train i know because im home before the usual rush. On said day i got off the train to realize uri was on the train with me. We began talking and he tells me how danny has this whole plan to get the road trippers. I start cracking up telling him that really the road trippers are out to get danny. Neither of us were part of the shtick yet it was if you're interaction with danny was being mimicked in New York. Both of us in shock and only knowing half of what was going on.

rafi said...

Ohh, just want to add that i told this story to my co-worker. Without him understanding the true meaning of shtick or our group, his reponse: "this danny groner charachter is my hero."
I concur.

Jaws said...

1. The intern was ready to bring in the real Amy Orndorff?!?!?!? I asked her so many times to do that for us, but she declined. Could there be an office romance going on here (see side-shtick)?

2. True story: When I created the fake email account the password was originally "shtick", and I changed it to "shtick123" because I thought Dan might crack it. The day I changed it: Wednesday. Feel free to verify this story with Meri.

3. Unmentioned shtick highlights:

My father going 5 days without a cell phone so that we could change his voicemail and pretend it was Amy Orndorff's.

Setting Dan up for the Quiznos Foddy and then the Starbucks actually being next to a Quiznos.