Metatalktail Hour: April Fools! April 1, 2022 5:39 PM   Subscribe

Happy weekend, MetaFilter! What's the best April Fool's joke you've ever played or seen played?

as always, feel free to talk about whatever's going on with you!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 5:39 PM (54 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

The National Weather Service posted today that they would be converting all of their weather products to kelvin to avoid confusion between Fahrenheit and Celsius, and I found it to be just perfect.
posted by obfuscation at 5:48 PM on April 1 [23 favorites]


That's a joke?! Damn it, now I'm disappointed.
posted by biogeo at 5:51 PM on April 1 [7 favorites]


I mean I think it would be pretty easy for them to make it an option at least!
posted by obfuscation at 5:54 PM on April 1


Nasal Navigator
posted by Ideefixe at 6:20 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


I saw a small but excellent one this week.

One of the neighboring school districts didn't have school today (for real). Yesterday I saw a father of two elementary school boys convince them that they in fact DID have school today, because the announcement of no school was in fact an elaborate April Fools joke by the school, he was helping them out by spoiling the joke to avoid disappoinment, and that they would be getting up to go to school as normal.
posted by true at 7:36 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


It wasn't an April fool's joke, but I had a thing going with a friend of mine for quite a while. Completely out of the blue, I asked him how he was sleeping. He was, apparently, not sleeping well. After that, I kept asking him that for a while, and he got really concerned about it. As if I could affect from a distance how well he was sleeping;
posted by mollweide at 7:57 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Closest I ever got to this was Mr. Armeowda taking a beer out of the fridge on April 1, said beer foaming over ever so slightly, and me jumping at the chance to pretend that I had carefully orchestrated it.

It was pretty obvious I had done no such thing, but he appreciated my eagerness to take credit.

I’m not very good at pranks, but I think on my feet OK.
posted by armeowda at 8:26 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Last year when that cargo ship was stuck in the Suez Canal, Princess Awesome (excellent children's clothing company that puts dump trucks and dragons and pi on twirly dresses) posted that they'd finally opened a brick and mortar store and provided a map to the location. Which was, natch, in the middle of the Suez Canal, but people who didn't know a little geography and pay attention to current events probably missed it. Brilliant.
posted by centrifugal at 8:59 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


April 1st is groundhog day!
posted by clavdivs at 9:37 PM on April 1


I noticed a distinct lack of April fools in the local media and online after 2016. It felt like the logical response to everything that was going on.
I hope it's not making a comeback. Least favourite tradition.
posted by Zumbador at 10:36 PM on April 1 [11 favorites]




Once near the end of March I mailed out some shiny metal cans to some friends, with the label "do not open until APR 1". But when they opened them, instead of springy snakes, SURPRISE! It's delicious cookies!
posted by aubilenon at 11:40 PM on April 1 [12 favorites]


Did I miss the Mefi April Fool - ery? I looked around a bit and couldn't find anything. Some in the past were ... glorious (the slowly changing Ibackground colour is one I especially liked).

Our AprilFool joke here was horrible weather - it's been unseasonably warm here for the last few months. It feels as though there hasn't been any winter, not really - no snow, no long stretches below zero - it's not my thing, I want a kick-your-ass-worry-about-dying-in-a-snowbank-cold-period, to keep things in perspective. That we haven't gotten it made the sudden turn to normal cool-is April weather seem abrupt and un-called for.

For a friend's birthday I packed a motherfucking Apple!Pie! which I've never tried before and I'm a little anxious that it should taste at least a little bit as good as it looks because damn is it a good-looking piece of oven-product.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:34 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


What's April Fool's?
posted by betweenthebars at 7:04 AM on April 2


I scheduled the oral exams for my Master's in English on April Fools Day. One of the professors asked me about some type of poetry I had never heard of. I said, "April fool?" He said yes.

April is the cruelest month.
posted by FencingGal at 8:13 AM on April 2 [13 favorites]


Oh hell no that guy is a jerk.
posted by obfuscation at 8:33 AM on April 2


It turns out that JetDirect enabled HP printers with text display panels can have the default display text changed from "Ready" to practically anything you'd like. One April Fools (before the ubiquitous penetration of cell phones, none of the staff had one) I set the laser printer serving approximately 250 lab computers to display "Low Coolant" and then left the office letting my counterpart deal with a stream of users reporting a never before seen and (until that moment) inconceivable error message.
posted by Mitheral at 9:29 AM on April 2 [24 favorites]


Seven(ish) years ago my friend's identical twin daughters switched places for April Fool's Day; difficulty level: different high schools. They had organized their friends ahead of time to help the other sister get around the school; alas, one of the teachers realized they had the wrong girl in class and by the end of the day they were both in some minor degree of trouble. My friend finds it funny in retrospect but was less amused at the time.
posted by sencha at 9:44 AM on April 2 [9 favorites]


A few years ago I was living on my friends very small sail boat in a harbor as an unpermitted live-aboard. Unpermitted meaning we weren't paying the live-aboard fees, didn't have shore power or services and was in direct violation of the covenants of the harbor, which is a great way to get in trouble or lose your dock space.

And on April 1st his then partner (now a close friend and housemate) called him up and said the boat was missing and that she was at the police station filing a report.

I was off of the boat at this moment in a local coffee shop in the harbor getting breakfast, charging up phone and laptop batteries and generally just not being on the tiny boat as you do when you're living on a tiny boat so you can stand up all the way and exist like a relatively normal human.

So he calls me up and says "Where's the boat?" and I reply with "What do you mean where's the boat I was just on it 15 minutes ago!" and he relays what his partner said that the boat was missing and I said "Oh SHIT!!" and ran like hell out of the coffee shop, leaving my computer and everything behind except my phone because having the boat go missing with my stuff on it and my bike still locked to the mast was total nightmare fuel because boats sometimes do get stolen, break their mooring or just randomly sink.

And then I finally got close enough to the water in the harbor to see the mast and color of sail cover on the boom and said "No, the boat is still there OH SHIT it's April 1st isn't it? Dude, she got both of us in one shot what the fuck?"

And then I had another moment of panic remembering I just left my laptop unlocked and a bunch of stuff in the cafe and sprinted back to the cafe to make sure it was still there. Which it was, thankfully.

I've been scheming at how to prank her back ever since but I haven't been able to think of anything that was on that level without it being too cruel. Like, something on the level of "The house caught fire!" kind of pay back, which isn't funny at all.

Like she knows I still owe her for that one and that I intend to pay it back.

But all things considered with the pandemic and how hard things have been I just haven't been feeling it, which is probably for the best. Like I'm sure she's been expecting it every year since then and maybe doing nothing at all is the best possible prank to just leave the anticipation hanging there.
posted by loquacious at 11:41 AM on April 2 [14 favorites]


I once worked at a high school and we had a copier that was super temperamental and it was typical to see a note posted above it about being gentle and not punching the machine.

One day there was a note telling staff the machine was now voice-activated and users had to tell the machine what to do in a very specific way (their name, their class, copy paper size, quantity, staples or no, etc. and if the machine was not responding to do it again but more slowly) and within 10 minutes teachers went to the office, not exactly chuckling at the joke but instead furious.

Some school cultures are not very fun.
posted by Sweetie Darling Sweetie Darling at 1:50 PM on April 2 [10 favorites]


The National Weather Service posted today that they would be converting all of their weather products to kelvin to avoid confusion between Fahrenheit and Celsius, and I found it to be just perfect.

I, on the other hand, consider it Rank inequity!
posted by jamjam at 2:10 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


From a comment I made on Metafilter 11 years ago:

Early one April Fool's day my then high-school age brother Dan decided to pay our dad back for the years of April Fool's pranks that had been played on him. It was a simple plan... in the middle of Dad's morning shower, Dan ran into the bathroom shouting "Dad! The house is on fire!"

Dad didn't miss a beat. He ripped back the shower curtain, grabbed a towel off the rack, sprinted to the bedroom for the checkbook, and then headed out onto the front porch and paused- head full of shampoo, towel around his waist, checkbook in hand - to see my brother rolling around on the front lawn laughing himself to tears.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:38 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


sprinted to the bedroom for the checkbook

I love this little detail.

Yesterday a Facebook group that I am a part of that does frequent FB Live stuff did a special episode. I did not think about the date and just settled in to watch. They had some special guests on, not that unusual, who were talking about an album they were putting out. They then revealed their album that was coming out that day: The Music of the Beatles as Channeled in 1958 by the Echo Lake Home for the Potentially Clairvoyant (it was also Bandcamp Friday) and then riffed for a solid HOUR about this weird discovery they'd made which, of course, had a Vermont element. The whole thing was so dumb and fun that even once we all figured out it was a bit, we all sat around to see how long they'd keep it up and what details they'd add. People would come into the chat late and we'd be like "Oh hey cool discovery, just listen..." and see how long it would take them to figure it out.

I enjoy smart April 1 stuff, hate most of it, do not generally like being knowingly misled (I am very trusting, it's not a hard thing to do) but this was a really interesting twist on an experiential April 1 shaggy dog story that just left me feeling happy. If people want to see part of it, it's on FB here (it's long).
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:47 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


I mentioned this in a front page thread already, and in retrospect it might be sort of mean, but the one that I remember best is one I played on a high-school career councilor the year after I graduated. The high-school was pretty excited that I and several friends had gotten into fancy universities. We were the first and second graduating class of a new magnet school program at a school that wasn't known for sending kids to college. They convinced the local newspaper to write stories about us.

I was always pretty good at putting on a professional adult voice. I called the guy up at 8:30 in the morning on April 1 and claimed that I was working in the admissions office at the college I was actually attending, from a phone with a campus caller-ID. I told him that they'd found evidence that I and the other former student I was dating at the time had lied on our self-reported transcript and that there were irregularities in our standardized test scores and that the school was planning to expel us. I made him dig up transcripts and grilled him on individual grades from four years previously. I kept him going for around 10 minutes before admitting that it was me. He yelled for half a minute.

To be clear, I knew the guy really well and our cohort had been playing tricks on him for years while in school. He was the sort of councilor would grudgingly write us get-back-into-class notes when we needed an excuse for having ditched school to eat at a nearby diner. He knew he didn't need to worry about us, and he was right, but he also went out of his way to tell us things we didn't know. I *think* he actually enjoyed the jokes. I'm going to find him and write to him today to express my gratitude. Both for his professional efforts and for going out of his way to be one of the very few authority figures I've ever met who treated teenagers as human beings worthy of respect.
posted by eotvos at 3:21 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]

in the middle of Dad's morning shower, Dan ran into the bathroom shouting "Dad! The house is on fire!". . . sprinted to the bedroom for the checkbook
This is great fun. It's also beautifully specific. But, a checkbook is 14 pages down on my list of things to save from a burning house. It costs 8 USD to get a new one. Is there more to the story?
posted by eotvos at 3:36 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]

I, on the other hand, consider it Rank inequity!
I tell everyone that I hate puns. But, it's true that I can't avoid appreciating the good ones. And I participate, because the language part of our brains seem to be wired for that. The boring ones aren't worth hating. Cheers!
posted by eotvos at 3:39 PM on April 2


I started watching Esoterica as recommended by this post then come Friday Justin posts a new episode and NINE FREAKING MINUTES IN...well played, sir. That was indeed low, low, low, low.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 3:55 PM on April 2


Checkbook makes sense to me in that situation. It could be the difference between having a hotel bed to sleep on and food to eat that night or having to rely on someone's charity while you piece your life back together.
posted by biogeo at 4:02 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


a checkbook is 14 pages down on my list of things to save from a burning house. It costs 8 USD to get a new one. Is there more to the story?

My brother was in high school, so this would have been back around 1984. I don't think debit cards were a thing yet. So I imagine he grabbed the checkbook to pay for stuff like a hotel room, food and maybe something to cover his nakedness.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:23 PM on April 2 [10 favorites]


Where I live, April Fools Day coincides with the beginning of the school year. At the end of the previous school year nursery school teachers like me tend to receive a lot of gifts from grateful parents, often chosen by their graduating three year-olds.

This year I was given a pair of ceramic hashioki (chopstick rests) in the form of desserts, one a taiyaki (fish-shaped sweet bean cake), the other hanami dango (a stick of three rice flour dumplings in pink, white and green). They're cute, and my wife and I were delighted with them.

Among the edible gifts was a bag of little balls of fruit-flavored white chocolate with pastel-colored candy coatings - pink strawberry, green melon, purple grape and a very pale yellow lemon.

I woke up on April first to a nicely set table, with our chopsticks resting on our new hashioki. I puttered around making breakfast quietly so as not to wake my wife, sat down and took my chopsticks from the new ceramic dango and thought something was a little odd. The middle dumpling was pale yellow instead of white!

I picked it up, laughing, and sniffed the fruit flavors coming from my hashioki. My wife had fashioned a replacement out of candy and a broken toothpick, stuck together with rice glue. It was delicious!

What a great April Fools joke, a discovery to make me laugh, at the expense of no one at all. I'm still smiling.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 4:54 PM on April 2 [21 favorites]


Maybe not the most elaborate or involved prank I've ever seen, but probably my favorite.

My kids are 8 and almost-5, which means this is the first year April Fool's pranks are on the table. My oldest was up to the challenge, and has been prepping for weeks. I left it to the last second, like I do everything, but fortune smiled upon me, because the kids' grandma was here visiting last week for the first time since COVID happened, and brought treats. Oh did she bring treats. We had to disappear the bag of candy, with stern admonitions that it would be meted out slowly if everyone behaved. I peeked into the bag and noticed a couple of Kinder Eggs, which are far and away the kids' favorites.

Cut to Friday afternoon, and me with a tube of superglue, oh-so-carefully resealing four little compartments across two modified plastic eggs. On Friday after dinner, I allowed as how everybody could choose their own dessert tonight. Both kids instantly went for the candy bag, and with heroic effort I kept a straight face as they went straight for the bait. The look on both their faces when the eggs were not full of chocolate-hazelnut candy and a little plastic toy, but instead contained two small pieces of raw broccoli, was perfectly :chefkiss:

(I gave them the other, real, Kinder Eggs immediately after. I'm not a monster, I just love me some dad jokes.)
posted by Mayor West at 5:33 PM on April 2 [31 favorites]


Oh what I would give for a *real* Kinder Egg! My father sent me the sorry excuse they sell in the US, right after they started selling them. He didn't know they'd arrive on April 1st, but I still tell him that was the worst April Fool's joke ever!
posted by MuChao at 6:19 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]


Not one I did, but a friend of ours is a master at this-he’s one of those super high energy fun elementary school principals, who as his brother said at his recent 50th bday, has been making everyone around him look like a shittier dad in comparison for 20 years.

His son and my daughter have been in school together for years-last night we looked at pics of the son in fourth grade. He’d been sent to school with a full jar of mayonnaise, which he proceeded to eat in front of the other kids. It was vanilla pudding.
posted by purenitrous at 8:34 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]


two small pieces of raw broccoli

Oh my god this is amazing
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:24 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


When I was a kid, the local newspaper had two editions- morning and evening. On April 1st, the morning edition had a big article about how the road into the nearest city was becoming a toll road effective 4/1 the following year. The local unions had emergency meetings, the mine nearby shut down for the day, and people were near riotous.

The evening edition sheepishly said it was an April Fools joke.
posted by Torosaurus at 10:49 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


When my sister got married, a night or two before the wedding I drove up to central Mass from nyc and the night before the wedding she and I were opening wedding presents from distant relations and one of them was a vase of some sort. We were kind of making fun of these gifts from people she barely knew, having a fun bonding moment, and I remember I put my hand in the round, sort of goldfish bowl type vase, made some joke about being a super villain named GLASS FIST or something, and my wrist just big enough that I could lock it and pretend my hand was stuck in the vase.

"Connie oh shit I think my hand is stuck."
"Oh shit! Let me help!"
"No, it might brake...Get some butter or olive oil we can try to lube it up and I can slip out..."

I kept her on the hook for about three minutes, really hammed it up. She started to panic (she was under a LOT of pressure) and I gave up the joke and we both started laughing so hard we ended up weeping. It is one of my top 3 memories from my sister's wedding.
posted by vrakatar at 5:46 PM on April 3 [7 favorites]


I had an ex who prided herself on being quite the prankster. Top troll, undefeated, best in her friend group etc etc. She was also a neat freak at heart and had a very tidily arranged bedroom, including an enormous rock collection that was displayed just so.

So for April Fools I kicked it up a notch and knolled everything she owned, creating a room-wide lattice that I accentuated with squares of clear packing tape at 6" intervals. Walls, ceiling, floor, bedspread, dressers... all was GRID.

The dawning horror on her face as she walked through the door.. (!)
posted by lloquat at 11:46 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


I got a reputation for being a (good-natured, I hope) baldfaced liar after convincing someone that Columbus Day was cooked up as a marketing ploy to celebrate the city of Columbus, Ohio.

An old coworker and I had an ongoing prank war in the office for several months. At one point, he brought in those party popper things - pull on the string on the back, and it fires a cap that makes a little bang and shoots confetti out the other end. We then set out to try to rig them in each other's cubicles as traps. I won after setting one up such that it fired when my coworker picked up a very expensive piece of computer hardware off his desk... and nearly shat himself thinking he just ruined five figures worth of electronics.

Nowadays, as one of the very few childless couples among our friend group, it has become my time-honored duty to teach our friends' kids to swear and play the harmonica loudly and other things like that.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:28 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


The college I attended was famous for never shutting down for snow, despite its location in Massachusetts. My Senior year we had a freak snowstorm the night of March 31st that dumped almost 3 feet of snow on the area. Classes were actually cancelled on April 1st for the first time in many many years, and early risers attempted to help out their dormmates by putting signs on the doors heading out that classes were cancelled. Of course, most folks thought the signs were an April Fool's joke and trudged out through the snow to classes that did not exist.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:53 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


I took my kid to the convenience store and they picked out snacks while I bought a few scratcher tickets. When we got home, I mixed in one I'd ordered from Amazon. For about four minutes, I let them believe they'd won a cool million dollars. They were only mad at me for like half an hour, but now agree it was pretty funny.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:07 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


One of my boys did the old Saran/plastic wrap on the toilet bowl trick. His brother was the first to try the toilet. Didn't look that closely and just sat down to do his business. He ended up essentially shitting himself. That was one of the few fist fights I actually decided to break up. 12 year old boys. Heh.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:46 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]




Another one that comes to mind: I worked in an open-plan cube farm with a co-worker who was really precise about where tools and things went and always had a tidy desk. She was horrified by the messy workstations the rest of us kept. Several of us used little shims to very slightly tilt her free-standing under-desk drawer units downward and placed little foam bumpers at the back of each drawer so they wouldn't entirely close. We added a little dab of rubber cement so the drawers stayed closed until she opened them. It wasn't my idea, but it was brilliant to watch. (She was a known prankster who loved such things and enjoyed it.)
posted by eotvos at 12:24 PM on April 4 [1 favorite]


When I got my first dog, I thought it was funny to get her every squeaky toy I found that looked exactly like real food. And one of my happiest memories was the day I was home at my parents' house, and came into my dad's home office with a piece of layer cake on a plate with a fork to sit down and keep him company... My dad (whose sweet tooth was legendary) immediately asked, "where'd you get that from?," and I generously offered him my plate and fork, saying I'd get more from the kitchen.

Watching him stick the fork in and having it go SQUEEEEEEEK was glorious. Having the puppy come tearing in from two rooms away and jump all over him made it even better.
posted by Mchelly at 2:34 PM on April 4 [28 favorites]


Once when I was a preteen, I (following a list of pranks) put a rubber band around the faucet sprayer attachment in the kitchen sink, so that when someone turned the water on, they'd get sprayed directly in the chest with the attachment. Soaked my dad's work shirt. We still laugh about it.
posted by knownassociate at 7:50 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


One April Fools (before the ubiquitous penetration of cell phones, none of the staff had one) I set the laser printer serving approximately 250 lab computers to display "Low Coolant"

One day, though I doubt that it was April 1, I set a couple of printers to "Insert Coin To Operate". Which caused someone from the export department to get all hot under their collar, furiously storming into the IT wing proclaiming that they wouldn't be effing paying just to be able to do their job.
posted by Stoneshop at 9:15 AM on April 6 [5 favorites]


My favorite of the printer-display pranks is "LOW MAYONNAISE".
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:25 AM on April 6 [4 favorites]


…when I managed to persuade the entire orchestra, five minutes before a general rehearsal (on April 1st), to begin with Bach’s St. John’s Passion instead of the scheduled St. Matthew’s passion. We all knew the first page or so by heart…
The face of the conductor was priceless.
posted by Namlit at 11:26 AM on April 6 [8 favorites]


We did a similar thing once in high school stage band. The chart for a particular tune ended with a one-note sting played by all instruments on the "1" beat, but in the recorded version (that the chart was adapted from) there was a silent beat followed by the sting on the "2". We conspired among ourselves to land on the 2 instead of the 1, but continued to play it on the 1 during practice and saved the unveiling for an upcoming concert. So in front of students, teachers, parents, etc. the director made this dramatic arm sweep on the 1 only to hear silence...his eyes got really big in the endless-seeming moment before we hit a perfectly-executed sting on the 2! The director ended up loved it after getting over his shock, and it was very gratifying all around.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:03 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


There was this one year where people kept making posts about Pepsi on the blue...
posted by piyushnz at 1:52 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]


This was a pretty good one on Good Morning Britain.
posted by essexjan at 2:17 PM on April 6


I saw two great ones when I was in grad school, orchestrated by TAs who had access to the offices of the professors they worked with. One year, the TAs picked one professor's office (the one likeliest to find this more funny than annoying) and wrapped that wasn't furniture in plain white paper. The lamp, the stapler, the printer, the art hanging on the walls, every single individual book (hundred and hundreds of books)--all neatly wrapped in white paper. When they were done, there was a desk and two chairs visible and everything else was wrapped. It was beautifully done. That's what really made it amazing--how carefully and neatly they did it all. I really appreciate the kind of prank that requires hours and hours for the prankers to accomplish but much less time for the prankee to undo.

The next year, buoyed by their success, they again pranked that professor, plus one of his colleagues, but completely swapping their offices. Everything that was in one office was moved into the other one, two spaces down the hallway. They took pictures beforehand so they could but everything exactly where it belonged, just in the other room. Finally they switched the nameplates and the doorknobs. The next day, when Dr. C arrived at the office, he walked to his door as usual, tried to insert the key and found that it didn't work. Then he noticed the nameplate said Professor A. He walked to Professor A's office, saw his own name there, and discovered that his key worked. Entering--it was his office, with everything perfectly in place. Just amazing work. The only thing the prankers couldn't switch was the phone lines.

The TAs, because they aren't horrible people, spent that afternoon and evening moving everything back where it belongs, but said it was worth it for the minutes of utter disorientation they caused their favorite profs.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:24 AM on April 8 [6 favorites]


That office swap, Pater Aletheias, is brilliant. I often take the stairs between three identical floors in an academic building, and we all have keys that open everyone's office in the department. At least once a month I forget which floor I came from and wind up walking into the office directly above mine which has the same furniture but different personal stuff. It's incredibly disorienting, even when pranking oneself.

There's a story that might be apocryphal, but I have always found delightful and seems plausible. The story goes that some students inflated 2000 party balloons and slowly shrunk them by placing them into several large styrofoam coolers containing liquid nitrogen, then leaving the coolers full of balloons in a faculty office late at night so that they entirely filled the room the next morning.

(The mean version in a similar style involves leaving a cardboard delivery box sitting on the desk containing thousands of ladybugs and no bottom. I don't know anyone who claims to have actually tried that one.)
posted by eotvos at 9:46 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


My dad worked for the local newspaper before I was born, and did all kinds of parts of it, from photojournalism to helping fix the presses if they were down. One April Fool's, he took the syndicated crossword and filled out a few answers poorly in a colored pen (I think red?) and then ran that page with two colors. The paper got angry calls all day about paper carriers trying to ruin people's mornings. No paper carriers were harmed in the making of this prank.

When I was in seventh grade, I conspired with my art teacher to give me a false detention to take to my mom that day for her to sign. The teacher and I looked at the list of possible infractions and decided that "Indecent Exposure" was the funniest one we could find. She and my mom were in a number of civic clubs together and we knew it would be hard for my mom to even begin to picture what I could have done to get written up. I brought it to my mom at her office, looking all ashamed, asked her to call the teacher to explain, and walked into the next room. My mom called the middle school and got my teacher and Mrs. D played along for a good scandal-implying couple of minutes before she laughed and everything was well.

I think pranking can be a real act of love, given the exact right circumstances. My mom and brother and I used to sneak clothespins onto each other's clothing in the morning throughout elementary school. My friend just pranked her five-year-old with a piece of cauliflower where a ring pop should be, all wrapped up nice and everything. She and the daughter then pranked the kid's piano teacher with the exact same gag.
posted by lauranesson at 6:34 PM on April 11


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