Introduction: How to Ham Your Friends' Apartment

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April 1st has just passed, and that means that once again I have put meat in places it doesn't belong (last year it was hot dogs).

The basic premise is

1. Get a pre-cooked meat, preferably one that is just moist enough that it is uncomfortable to touch.

2. Place the meat in places that are not the fridge, where others - the subjects of the prank - will find it.

3. Confusion and hilarity ensue as meat is found and uncomfortably removed.

Step 1: The Meats

Choosing the meat* may be daunting at first, but through examination of the pros and cons of various meats, we can easily determine the best cut.

Filet Mignon

  • Pros
    • The high quality of the meat shows how much you care
    • You can show off, because you bought filet mignon
  • Cons
    • Expensive
    • The subject of the prank may just eat the filet mignon after they find it

Raw Meat

  • Pros
    • Absolutely disgusting
  • Cons
    • Absolutely disgusting (remember, you have to touch this too. Also, how mean are you?)
    • Very unsanitary
    • Quantity is not easy to determine

Hot Dogs

  • Pros
    • Sold in standard quantities
    • Preserved and pre-cooked
    • Moist enough that people won't want to touch them
    • Mechanically robust design
  • Cons
    • I did this last year

Cold Cuts

  • Pros
    • Heavily preserved cold cuts can be obtained
    • Malleable
    • Pre-cooked
    • A slight, uncomfortable dampness
    • Available in a variety of textures
  • Cons
    • Low mechanical strength

These meats could be sitting out at room temperature for months, so sanitation really is an issue. Something cooked and preserved is a good idea.

As for quantity, I find that it's much more satisfying if the subjects think "A standard hot dog packet has 8, so where are they?" Than live in constant fear of hidden meat.

Strength and flexibility of the meat determine where it can be placed and how likely it is to stay in place.

Moisture limits where it can be placed without ruining the material, and to an extent affects how well it will keep. It also affects how much the the subject doesn't want to touch the meat.

Combining all of the above factors, I decided to go with a cold cut, specifically sliced ham. It can be found heavily preserved and quite moist, is pre-cooked, is flexible, and has an uncomfortably rubbery texture.

*Theoretically, this prank should work with fruits or vegetables, but I wasn't willing to take the risk this year.

Step 2: Preparing the Meat

Eat one to three slices of meat from the package. Quickly!

Okay, it doesn't really matter if you do it quickly. You don't have to actually eat them either, but the point is that you shouldn't hide all of the meat.

The ham I bought was too wet for my tastes, so I dried the slices with some napkins. This left a fair amount of residual dampness, but not enough to drip ham-juice.

Step 3: Hide the Ham: Locations

It's important to hide the meat somewhere unexpected or inconvenient; it can be helpful to place yourself in the situation.

Imagine you are reaching into the freezer to remove a frozen chicken breast, but on top of it is a piece of ham! Well, it's unusual, but in context it doesn't seem particularly shocking. On the other hand, imagine you reach into your drawer for a sheet of paper, only to find sliced ham instead!

Comedy Gold!

On the inconvenient side, a piece of meat can be funny while remaining in plain sight, if you can make it unavoidable. Doorknobs and the handles of silverware are wonderful locations.

Other ideas include

  • Light fixtures
  • Clean dishes and cookware
  • Beverage containers and Brita pitchers
  • Ice tray
  • Toilet paper roll
  • Toaster crumb tray
  • Battery compartments
  • Toilet tanks
  • Liquid soap containers
  • On or near washing machines and dryers

Places to avoid include

  • Wood, carpet, and other absorbent surfaces
  • Areas that may smash the meat, ex. under a rug
  • Inside washing machines and dryers. That's just mean.

Step 4: Hide the Ham: Technique

When the subject or subjects of the prank are not paying attention, preferably when they are away, slip into their home and hide the meats.

Now, you may need to modify your meat.

  • Zip-ties can be useful. Make sure to completely cover the zip-tie with meat.
  • Consider placing down a napkin before putting meat on potentially absorbent surfaces
  • When re-sizing meat, consider throwing away the excess instead of hiding it as well. This will maintain the total quantity of meat hidden, and continue the "where are the remaining X pieces?" game.

See examples of meat-modifications and hiding techniques in the included pictures.

Step 5: Leave an Explanation

What's worse than ham in your apartment?

An empty bag of ham in your apartment!

I chose to leave the empty ham bag, hoping they would see the number of slices (8) and know how many to look for. Of course, you and I know that there are not in fact 8 slices of ham hidden in their apartment, but six! Why six? Why not seven? Because I know that they know that if I left the ham wrapper to tell them how much ham there is that it was really another part of the trick to confuse them so obviously there can't actually be a full 8 slices of ham, but instead 7 slices. Except they know that I know that so obviously I would only use 6 slices, which they could figure out, but nobody would be so mad as to go down to 5 slices of ham, which is of course the reason for the devilish water-tank-of-the-toilet slice of ham, which will make them believe there are only 5 slices, causing them to question the entire basis of their logic, and making them believe that in fact, I did hide all 8 slices, and there are in fact 3 deviously hidden slices of ham!


Second, I left a picture of John Hamm, both to grab attention, and for that conveniently sly grin.

That being said, it was six hours before the picture was correctly identified as John Hamm, and another six before the connection between Hamm and ham was made.

Step 6: Publish the Meat Locations

Before all of the meats have been discovered, post their locations somewhere public. You're a nice person, and if your friends need a hint, you want to provide it for them.

Of course, you don't need to tell anyone that there's a list of all the hiding spots. I mean, is it my fault that my friends don't follow me on Instructables?