Culture Feature

9 of the Best Life Hacks (That Are Actually Just Cruel Pranks)

In honor of April Fools' Day, life hack creators have spent years disguising sadistic tricks as useful advice

The world of Internet life hacks is equal parts bizarre and addictive.

The quick cuts, magical editing, and infomercial acting come together to suggest a version of reality where the everyday objects contain the secret potential to unlock true happiness. A handful of companies churn them out by the thousands, and–as silly as they often are–the formula is apparently so effective that they get billions of views each year on YouTube. Turn charcoal into diamonds with just some peanut butter and your microwave! Pour milk in you cola to turn it clear! Hot glue a colander to your toaster as a DIY solution to iron your shirts!

Mixed in with the rare hack that is actually useful, there are hundreds more that are fake, inconvenient, or just plain useless. But the fact that you can't really use baking soda to remove hair isn't likely to ruin anyone's day, and you should be able to clear the smell of smoke from your microwave within a few hours of realizing that your charcoal is still charcoal.

But the life hacks on this list are different. The prankster video creators in Cyprus who never buy anything they can make out of trash have taken the spirit of April Fools' day and planted some hilarious, often lethal pranks in with the rest of their life hacks. Please do not try any of these at home, unless you want to...

Burn your house down to save $10

Considering how many life hacks consist of coating things in hot glue or using hot glue to attach two random objects, this one is really the hack of all life hacks–the hack that will unlock all the others. Let's say you have a bunch of hot glue sticks, but you don't have a hot glue gun and you refuse to spend the $10 to buy one. Now you don't have to! Using just an aluminum can, some cardboard, a coil of wire, a box cutter, a rubber band, a piece of wood, and a severed electrical cord, you can make your very own hot glue gun from scratch! The fact that it won't work and will very quickly catch fire–assuming you don't electrocute yourself first–may be slightly disappointing, but the sense of pride you'll get from making something by hand will make it all worth while.

Destroy your mouth to whiten your teeth

Now that you have your very own hot glue gun made of trash, you can move on to your first hot glue hack. Are you tired of brushing your teeth like everyone else, with boring old toothpaste? Well why use paste when you can use glue? Specifically hot glue, squirted directly from your gun onto the bristles of your toothbrush and then immediately brushed all over your teeth. Will it make your teeth whiter? Based on the footage of this hack... maybe? The fact that hot glue melts between 250 and 400 degrees is beside the point. Will those temperatures destroy any flesh they touch? Absolutely. Is hot glue safe to ingest? Of course not. But her teeth do maybe kind of look whiter!

Break your neck to work out at home

Okay, so now you've gained the confidence of building something from hand, and your smile is looking brighter. You're 90% of the way to a whole new you. The only thing left is to get your body in shape. But going outside for a run is such a drag/illegal health risk. This video of soap-based hacks shows you how to get all the convenience of an in-home cardio workout without the expense of a treadmill. All you have to do is smear a bunch of dish soap all over your kitchen floor, and suspend yourself between two counter tops so your feet can slide freely over the slippery surface without you crashing to the floor...until you're ready to stop running and try to let go of the counter–at which point you will immediately fall and break your neck. To be fair, the video does dramatize this issue, followed by a disclaimer saying not to try it at home. But to be even more fair, that disclaimer comes in the middle of a video titled "31 Amazing Hacks You Should Try."

Heat your tea with a razor blade to make it poison

A particularly strange sub-genre of life hack videos involve hacks that were clearly adapted for life in prison. Whether these hacks are intended to be viewed by prisoners who are currently incarcerated or just by average citizens who want to be prepared, they provide instructions on such useful skills as how to make a tattoo kit from a pen and needle, and how to turn a toothbrush into a knife. This particular prison hack offers another opportunity for electrocution, but if you can manage to avoid that risk, you can transform a glass of cold water into a steaming glass of poison. By hooking up razor two razor blades to an electrical cord, you can pass electricity through the water until it starts to boil. While the resulting liquid may look like tea, the fact that you haven't yet added a tea bag should give you pause.

Pour beer on a stain to make your stain smell like beer

Have you ever dropped a glass of red wine on white carpet? It's exactly the kind of disaster that infomercials are made of. If you move quickly you might be able to get the stain out, but what if you don't have carpet cleaner available? Just throw some beer on it! Let it soak in for a little bit, then soak it up with a clean cloth and voila! Now your red wine stain smells like beer!

Put Peanut Butter in your hair to make your hair smell like peanut butter

So let's say you've spent all day dunking hot charcoal into peanut butter, and you still don't have any diamonds. Now you have to figure out what to do with all the peanut butter you ruined. You can't eat it anymore, but you could coat your hair in it. Why? Just cover all your hair in a thick layer of peanut butter, then spend half an hour washing it out and you will know why. Does the peanut oil have beneficial, revitalizing properties? Does it add sheen and volume and allow you to style your hair with ease? Not really. But it does leave you smelling distinctly like peanut butter. That's pretty cool.

Gas yourself with weird fumes to be healthy

Don't you hate it when your vitamins and supplements are made from chemicals? Chemicals are bad, unlike vitamins, which are definitely not chemicals. But how do you tell the good, healthy pills and capsules from the synthetic poisons disguising themselves as health products? Put a bunch of different types in the oven until some of them melt and smolder and bubble. Will that reveal which pills are synthetic? Of course not! Different supplements will respond to heat differently, which has nothing to do with their authenticity. All this fun experiment will do is fill your oven with gaseous fumes that are probably terrible for you.

Give yourself second degree burns to make two pieces of popcorn

Would you believe that you can actually pop popcorn kernels using a flat iron? It's true! Just carefully place a kernel or two between the heated plates and in no time you'll have a couple kernels of popcorn. The fact that the kernels will inevitably roll and slip off the incredibly hot plates just means that you have to keep re-positioning them with your fingers until they sit still long enough to pop. Now just keep doing that until you have a whole bowlful, or until all your fingerprints are burned off. This hack comes with the bonus that you can now get away with crimes–but you can no longer unlock your iPhone.

Give yourself third degree burns for mouthful of cotton candy

Wow, cotton candy at home? That sounds too good to be true. But it's not! All you need is some of those hard caramel candies old people like and a hand mixer. Heat the candies in a pan until they melt--and preferably just before they start to burn and give off a terrible smell--then pour the liquid over the spinning egg beater attachments of the hand mixer. Before you know it, you'll be covered in sprays of 400 degree melted sugar! What a classic prank.

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Most years, April Fool's day is a fun little break from the mundanity of daily life.

It's a day to celebrate chaos and mischief in the midst of an otherwise unremarkable part of the year. Whether you tend to be the prankster or the pranked, odds are that this is usually a day full of practical jokes, playful communications, and general antics.

But this year, things feel a little different. The rhythm of our daily lives has already been thoroughly shattered, and it's safe to say everyone is feeling a little fragile and spooked without the addition of surprise practical jokes. Honestly, none of us have the energy for April Fool's day. If anyone tries to plant a fake spider in my cupboard or rig the sink to shoot me in the face, I swear to f*cking god I will lose my ever loving MIND OKAY, STEVE?! OKAY? DO YOU HEAR ME?

Anyways.

While pranks may be out of the question, it feels like a shame to let a usually enjoyable day pass by unremarked. If you think about, life as we know it at the moment is already one big, startling, slightly mean-spirited joke. So, this year, how about we celebrate April Fool's Day with anti-pranks?

An anti-prank is the opposite of a practical joke. While a practical joke aims to shock, disgust, or otherwise inconvenience a victim in a comical way, an anti-prank aims to soothe, delight, or convenience a victim in a comical way. That's right, this year, April Fool's is all about making people feel good. Here are some examples of anti-pranks you can pull on your loved ones to celebrate April Fool's day in quarantine!

Compliment Drop

While the person in this video put water in the balloon over the door, we recommend filling your balloon with slips of paper that say things you like about the person you're pranking. That way, when they open the door and pop the balloon, a confetti storm of love falls down around them!

Buy Someone Toilet Paper

Whatever you do, don't you dare do any of these toilet paper pranks. Those kind of shenanigans are reserved for when toilet paper isn't worth its weight in gold. Instead, anonymously leave a pack of toilet paper on a neighbor's porch with a note that explains you're participating in Anti-April Fools Day. They'll be delighted and hopefully pass on the random act of kindness.

Call Your Mom

Instead of clogging up the phone lines with annoying prank calls, literally just call your mom and check in. That's it. That's the whole prank.

Make a Treat for the People You Live With

Instead of making something misleading and gross like onion's covered in caramel, just make a delicious treat to share with the people you're quarantined with. They'll appreciate it, and it'll help brighten up the monotony of self-isolation.