I have been asked if I know how to short-sheet a bed and would explain the process to our 11-year-old granddaughter.

I don’t know how to fold a fitted sheet neatly but, yes, I know how to short-sheet a bed.

You take the flat sheet, pull it up over the top of the bed and tuck it beneath the mattress. Then you smooth out the flat sheet and fold the bottom up just below the pillow, making a pocket of sorts. When an unsuspecting victim, say a younger brother, gets into bed, he is unable to stretch out his legs.

Our granddaughter wishes to prank her brothers. Frankly, they probably have it coming.

I’ve seen them reach in front of her and around her to steal icing from the bowl while she decorates a birthday cake and jump out from behind the door when she is carrying a full laundry basket up from the basement.

From one older sister to an older sister, I understand the desire to level the playing field.

Yet my first response is, “Why bother?” The boys sleep in bunk beds. Bunk beds are difficult to make in a traditional manner. You scrape skin off the back of your hands trying to tuck the sheets in against the wall and get knots on your head working close to the ceiling. Is it worth it?

My second thought is, “Would they care?” These boys are outdoor sorts who love camping. Dirt and mud are second skin. They might not even notice that the sheets are messed up. They might consider it fun and start making their beds like that every day. It’s difficult to prank people who are rarely annoyed and easy going.

My third hesitation is that she has not done the math. Not only will they pay her back individually, they will pay her back as a team. Compute a 3-1 payback, multiplied by a conservative estimate of three paybacks a week, for the next 10 years of her life, and is it worth 1,560 paybacks?

Absolutely, she says.

Finally, my fourth concern is this—in the end, who will pay the price for the prank? The mother. The mother always pays the price. She will be the one brokering peace, trying to determine which party is guilty as pranks and counter pranks continue. And we know with 100 percent certainty, when momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

I share my reservations about her request and advise her to wait. Wait until the next time they come to visit. Then I will show her how to short-sheet a bed on a double bed that rolls out from the wall – the bed the boys sleep in.

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