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Professor reveals 'irrational fear,' and students respond with epic prank

After having already freaked out by his students' pranks, the professor also faced a bunch of scary yet amusing responses online.

Professor reveals 'irrational fear,' and students respond with epic prank
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Walter Torres, X | @ZirconsForever

As humans, it is natural for us to feel scared about something. Even the most fearless daredevils would have the tiniest hint of fear hidden in their minds. However, the real question is, "How 'irrational' is that fear?" It all depends on an individual's perspective. For instance, Dr. Jeff Amato, a professor of Geological Sciences at the New Mexico State University, has a fear of sharks, not just any shark but the "hammerhead" type. Amato—who goes by @ZirconsForever on X—shared a hilarious instance when his students who came to know about his "irrational fear" decided to play a prank on him.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Ben Phillips
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Ben Phillips

In his post from November 2022, the professor mentioned that during an icebreaker session at one of his graduate seminars, the question, "What is your irrational fear?" was the topic of discussion. Amato then answered that his irrational fear was "hammerhead sharks." Weeks later, Amato walked into his classroom to find each student dressed in a hammerhead shark costume.The pictures shared by the professor left the internet rolling on the aisles, laughing. "I've since learned that the prank was orchestrated by my graduate student, who goes by 'Amahi' and wishes to otherwise remain anonymous," Amato added in the thread.


Amato told Newsweek, "It's sort of a running joke with my family about how I don't like hammerhead sharks. My daughter bought me a book about sharks for Father's Day one year. So, when the icebreaker topic was 'What's your irrational fear?' that was the first thing I thought of." The professor added that he was caught off guard while entering the class during the prank and it took a while for him to realize why his students were dressed that way. Little did Amato know that this prank would become a laugh riot on the internet. People in the comments were humorous. Many tried to scare the professor with videos of hammerhead sharks.




The professor didn't even realize he was going viral online until one of his students pointed it out. "I was blown away by how many people saw the post and enjoyed it. Overall, it's one of the most memorable experiences of my 25 years of teaching," Amato told the news outlet. What seemed to be a silly prank by young people also depicted the amiable relationship between the professor and the students. It was probably the comfort and friendliness the students felt with Amato's class that gave them the idea of pulling his leg. While many in the comments were ridiculing Amato's fear, some pointed out how he had a fun class and that he was a great professor.


The impact of hammerhead sharks seemed to have stayed with the professor even after a few months. Last year, he again brought up the "irrational fear" through a post with an X-ray of the hammerhead shark. "Look at this X-ray of a hammerhead shark and tell me that my fear is irrational. I dare you," wrote Amato. This post, as well, garnered huge attention, with people still mocking the poor man's phobia.

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