April Fools

When I was four, my mom would drop me off at the twins’ house before preschool and then head off to work. The twins went to my school but were a year older, and their mother would drive us all there and then babysit me for an hour after the school day ended until my mom could come pick me up.

I don’t know which of the twins came up with the idea to play an April Fools joke on me. But that morning, the two of them very carefully strung several lines of clear fishing line across the front door, hoping that I wouldn’t see it, and get stuck when I tried to walk through it.

Unfortunately, in their five-year-old excitement, they couldn’t wait to see me trip over the fishing line, and crowded the doorway as I got out of my mom’s car and waved goodbye. I walked up to the front door, and couldn’t figure out why they already had the door open waiting for me, and were standing so strangely just inside the doorway.

“Why won’t you let me in?” I asked

“You can’t come in!” they shouted. “You’re stuck!”

“Why are you standing in the way?” I asked.

“You can’t get through!” they said “There’s a string there!”

“Why did you put a string in the doorway?”

“April Fools!”

They then cut the string free from the door, and I went inside and we got ready for school. I knew I had been “pranked”, but because the joke had failed, I was having huge four-year-old difficulties understanding what exactly that had meant.

A few years ago, we had a housemate who worked from home and therefore often had his laptop sitting open in front of him on the couch. Sometimes we would all be sitting around having conversations in the living room while he was working, and he would chat with us while simultaneously typing away at a programming problem.

One of his favorite tricks was to invent a crazy lie in these situations, which he would drop into the conversation completely deadpan. Then, while the rest of the house discussed how improbable such a fact was, our housemate would quickly update the wikipedia page for the topic at hand to reflect his invented lie.

“Check wikipedia,” he’d say when we all told him he was full of it.

He only fooled us a few times.

Today, the best April Fools prank I saw was the Grosset & Dunlap design team covering director Giuseppe Castellano’s desk in googly eyes.

Unlike the wikipedia lie or the fishline door, this is a prank I understand and can get behind. I think it would be awesome if Hallmark got in on this, selling massive googly eye packets. Of all the holidays to commercialize, I think there’s a market here. Compare, if you will, the googly-eyed scissors or thermostat to the stale “conversation hearts” that are a Valentine’s Day staple. The appeal should be obvious.

Meanwhile, think of the future. Think of the children. Put the plans to work now and in a hundred years we’ll have a googly eyed muppet who “distributes” April Fools eyes like Santa or the Easter Bunny.

Googly eyes on the toaster.
Googly eyes on your steering wheel.
Googly eyes on your math textbook.
Googly eyes on everything.

It will be glorious.

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