Title: The Lost Camper
General Information about Item:
- Customary, Practical Joke
- Language: English
- Country of Origin: United States
- Informant: Noah Schwed
- Date Collected: This data was collected during a one-on-one interview in the library of Dartmouth College with Noah Schwed on October 29th, 2018.
- Noah Schwed ‘21 is a male student studying Economics and Computer Science at Dartmouth College. He is originally from New Jersey. Noah participated in a hiking trip before the start of his Freshman year at Dartmouth as part of the First Year Trips DOC program. He has an older brother (Eric Schwed ‘18), who attended Dartmouth, but Trips were his first true introduction to life as a Dartmouth student.
- Social Context
- Noah encountered this joke, which is not specific to the hikings section of trips and is actually quite common, when he was a tripee during August of 2017.
- This joke is typically played by upperclassmen or students leading trips on their first year tripees. As the objects of the prank, the new freshmen are supposed to be initiated and bonded together as a new class by going through the embarrassment of this prank together.
- Cultural Context
- This joke occurs on first year trips, which close to 95% of every incoming class at Dartmouth College participates in. Trips are used as a way to welcome each new class to Dartmouth and to break down whatever misconceptions they might have. Accordingly, jokes on trips are used often as they offer a great way to subvert expectations and to make everyone have a good time. Typically, the practical joke is played once the members of the trip and the leaders have left Dartmouth’s campus and are together somewhere in the surrounding wilderness of New Hampshire/Vermont. In this way, practical jokes like this one are very common to the Trips setting as they serve to bring everyone closer together through group humiliation/embarrassment.
During First Year Trips each year, Trip leaders will have a member of the Trips Crew staff participate in their trip for a period of time, especially during hikes or travel oriented trips. Eventually, this individual will break off from the group, and the trip leaders will attempt to scare their tripees by claiming that the individual is now lost in the wilderness. Once it is clear that the tripees are legitimately concerned and that they have bought into the prank, the Crew member typically returns from hiding with food for the embarrassed tripees.
- Jackson: Hey Noah, I understand that you went on trips and I’m conducting an interview regarding pranks that were played on trips. But, before we get started, could you say a little bit about your background, where you’re from, what you’re studying?
- Noah: Yeah, so I’m Noah Schwed. I’m a 21. I’m from New Jersey. I’m studying Econ and CS, and, as of now, I haven’t declared an official Major yet.
- Jackson: Cool. So, when you think back on your time on Trips, were there any like especially notable or like memorable pranks that were played on you or on your trip section?
- Noah: Yeah. So one memorable one was when one of the trip leaders coordinated with one of the kids on Trips [Crew] to pretend that they got lost. When they disappeared from the group, the trip leaders told the rest of the kids on the trip, trying to get everyone to freak out that we’d lost someone.
- Jackson: Did people like fall for it? Were people pretty into it?
- Noah: Some, yeah, but it wasn’t the first prank they [our trip leaders] had pulled.
- Jackson: Alright, great! Thanks.
Associated file (a video, audio, or image file):
- “They [the trip leaders] had some people on my trip pretty scared for a while. Ironically, I think we actually came together as a group during that moment.”
- This prank plays off of a scared fear of having lost someone. As Noah mentioned, the group rallied together when they were under the impression that they had lost someone, bringing them all closer together.
Collector’s Name: Jackson Baur
- Joke. Pranks. Practical Jokes. Trips. Dartmouth.