Gotcha

Salt in the sugar bowl? Cups of water balanced on the top of the door? April Fool’s Day is only two days away. It’s time to get creative. Why waste your efforts on pranks that have been pulled since Fred short-sheeted Wilma? Yes, my mom always stuck an April Fool note in the middle of my sandwich. But that sort of thing is small potatoes compared to some April Fool’s jokes.

The best April Fool antics are simple to execute, are creative, and harm no one. (If it isn’t funny to everyone involved, it fails, in my book.)

A little research uncovered some pretty amazing stories. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest, 1957: This may be the most famous April Fool joke of all time. The respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop.
  • Burger King Introduces Left-handed Whoppers, 1998: Burger King UK today announced the launch of its latest salvo in the battle of the Burger Wars—the new left-handed Whopper—which will become available nation-wide tomorrow April 1. The UK’s most preferred hamburger … has been re-designed to fit more comfortably in the left hand. … The new Left-Handed Whopper will have all the condiments rotated 180 degrees, thereby redistributing the weight of the sandwich so that the bulk of them skew to the left.
  • Walt Disney Corporation to Acquire MIT for $6.9 Billion, 1998: Top Ranked Engineering School will switch to Imagineering. … The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Walt Disney Company today announced the signing of an agreement whereby Disney will acquire MIT…. This unprecedented acquisition of a non-profit educational institution by a Fortune 500 company will be accomplished by Disney setting up a $6.9 billion cash scholarship trust fund. The fund will be used to reimburse past students for tuition, and provide scholarships for students for the next 20 years.
  • Alpine Legend Xbox 360, 2009: Guitar Hero is very popular, but what about those of you who prefer yodeling? Here’s your game!
  • Gmail AutopilotTM by CADIE, 2009: The easiest email could possibly be. As more and more everyday communication takes place over email, lots of people have complained about how hard it is to read and respond to every message. This is because they actually read and respond to all their messages….

However, most of these are the sorts of stunts that only big corporations can pull off. Let’s get practical. What can one person (or a group of friends) pull off?

I remember my first year of college, living in a freshman dorm well stocked with smart, creative people. That April 1, a bunch of the guys got together and decided to swap the rooms of some of their dorm-mates. Imagine the confusion on the faces of their friends when they came home from class, opened their door… and it wasn’t their room! (Rather than move everything back again, the two pairs of roommates just decided to stay in their new accommodations.)

Not all pranks happen in April. My high school class’s senior prank involved a bunch of old tires and the flagpole. It’s relatively easy to use the flagpole cable to hoist tires to the top of the pole and drop them over the end. It’s much harder to reverse the operation.

A class at our daughters’ high school came up with an even better idea. They made a handicapped parking stencil, and painted blue handicapped parking icons in all of the faculty parking spaces. It was probably politically incorrect, but it was funny. (It was also relatively easy for the maintenance staff to undo.)

What pranks have people pulled on you? Was it funny or malicious? What have you done to others? What’s the best April Fool joke you’ve heard of? Care to share what you’re planning for this year?

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One thought on “Gotcha

  1. I remember sitting in Senior English when all of a sudden we started hearing “chirp chirp chirp.” Someone had freed all of the crickets from the Biology room throughout the school! We heard chirping for months after.

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