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There's No Fool Like an April's Fool . . .
This Coming Friday is Prank Day in Ketchikan

By Sharon Lint

"The first of April is the day we remember
what we are the other 364 days of the year."
Mark Twain


March 31, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - For those of you who have not yet been warned: Friday is April's Fools Day.

On that day, all human life on this planet will regress into a childlike state and then separate into two very distinct groups. These two groups possess widely divergent societal-genetic material and thus, they display diametrically opposed behaviors in response to the aforementioned celebration. In other words, some of us become jokers, the rest become jokees. There are no innocent bystanders.

That said, it should be noted that regardless of whether you are the one playing the prank or the one on whom the plank is played, there's just one day left to research practical jokes online for defense strategies (if one is a joker) or for a really good prank or two on family members, friends or unsuspecting co-workers (if one is a joker).

If you ever wanted to know how this fun and lighthearted annual event began, it is generally believed to have started in 1582. That was the year the French changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar and in doing so, moved a springtime New Year to Jan. 1. Those traditionalists who continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1 were scoffed at as "fools" and sent fake party invitations and gag gifts.

It's a tradition that has lasted thousands of years and has brought the same question to minds of hundreds of thousands of jokers - "What's the best safe prank I can pull off?"

Well, if you're one of those jokers, and if you're low on ideas, here are a couple of good, safe pranks:


-- Fill a glass with water. Add food dye so it matches the color of whatever juice you have in your refrigerator. Serve the "juice" to your family. They will be expecting something sweet and getting water so it will taste funny at first. Don't forget to watch the funny faces they make!

-- Open up all the boxes of cereal and pull the bags with the cereal in them out of the boxes. Put each bag in a wrong cereal box. When your family members go to pour their cereal they will get the wrong kind!

-- Open a bedroom door or any door that you know a lot of people will walk through and put a pillow at the top of it so when the person opens the door the pillow will hit them on the head.

-- Stuff toilet paper or tissues or whatever into the toe part of someone's shoes so they have trouble getting their feet in!

-- You'll need: A needle, Thread and a Bunch of underwear --- How to do the prank on your spouse or family member: Get a bunch of their underwear, and sew all of them together so when they pick a pair up they'll keep coming! This seems like a bad prank, but it's hilarious!

-- take toilet paper and unravel it so that a marker doesn't show through. Then with the marker write: "Help, I'm lost in a toilet paper factory," and roll it back up. Whoever goes to the bathroom next will get a joke out of that one!

-- Turn all the clocks and watches in the house forward one hour. Spouses get up earlier for work; kids get to school an hour earlier. You sit back and relax for that extra hour.

-- Make someone a cake with chocolate icing all around it but the cake will really be cornbread

-- You know the sprayer on the side of most sinks? If you put an elastic band around the push button of the sprayer, and face the sprayer forwards...the next person to turn on the faucet will get soaked. Obviously can't be done on the web, but funny just as well, as long as you don't forget and turn the water on next.

- Tape the power ball show for one week's show. Buy a ticket the next week with the WINNING NUMBER on the taped show. Invite your friends over and slip the show on at the appropriate time, then take out your ticket and go over the numbers as they come up on the show to your friend's amazement!

-- The old sticker-on-the-back routine of the 'Kick Me' variety is not big and it certainly isn't clever - but it's still funny. A good variation on this is to get one of the "COOL" stickers from the Airport (if you are there going on a trip) to put it on someone's back. Hilarious!

-- On a particularly busy day at the grocery, quietly slip strange items into others' baskets - gourmet cheese into a cart full of TV dinners and beer, condoms into an elderly persons cart, baby food and diapers into a suave single guy's cart . . . the possibilities are endless.

-- What about the classic old joke that will be ringing out in every school on April Fool's Day? 'Your shoelaces are undone', followed by 'April Fool!' when your victim looks down to see which one has come untied. This is especially effective if your victim doesn't actually have laces in their shoes

-- In a similar vein is the 'What's that on your jumper/shirt front/coat?' pointing to the area, forcing the victim to look down. Naturally there is nothing there.

-- And don't forget your mustached friends. When with a group of people, look at your friend and without talking, brush your upper lip, he will think he has something in it and keep brushing it. Again, nothing is really there.


-- Does your office have desks with drawers that can easily be removed? If so, try this; when there's no-one else in, swap a few drawers around. It doesn't matter who they belong to, although the effects are best if the victims don't know each other. Don't swap too many because the effect is best when most people are oblivious to the trick! Hiding a sticker with 'April Fool!' on it at the bottom or the back of each drawer and keeping a poker face will also help to keep suspicion away from you. Especially if you swap one of your own drawers!

-- Superglue a pen cap to the pen and ask people if they can get it off for you!

-- When your computer friend has left their desk, make a screen capture (print screen) of the person's desktop (preferably with a program open). Go into Windows Paint program and paste. Save as a bmp. Load the picture as the person's background. Sit back and watch them double clicking and rebooting fruitlessly. (Note: you can also create a bmp of an entire black screen and do the same. The mouse moves, but there's nothing to click on if you hide the icons!)

-- One of the easiest (and arguably most effective) computer tricks to set up is this. It will only work if you are in an office where the computers are arranged so that one is opposite another on the same desk; i.e. if the computers weren't there, you'd be looking straight at the person opposite you. All you do is swap either the keyboards or monitors between two computers that are back-to-back - but you don't unplug them. So if you swap keyboards, the keyboard you have is now plugged into the computer on the other side of the desk, and vice versa. When the person opposite you types something, nothing comes up. Until you start typing...

-- Changing the keyboard settings to use the 'Dvorak' layout is also a good prank. Most people don't know that the keyboard layouts can be switched at all, and the only keys that are common between the Dvorak and standard 'Qwerty' layout are 'a' and 'm', so people spend a lot of time typing gibberish and running virus-checks.

-- If you can get the keys to the car, park it by a busy road with a prominent 'For Sale' sign in the window (front and rear). Then put a really low price on it and the number of the victim. They will get calls all day.

BUT THE BEST JOKE - Is one of paranoid anticipation - Before 1 April, select your target (it could be anyone you know, family member, friend, partner, your ex) and persistently tease them about how much you're going to make their life hell on April Fool's Day with your winding up. When April Fool's Day finally does arrive, you just have to sit back and do nothing around your target, they will be so paranoid about what you're going to do that they don't realize you've already got them.

Of course, if these suggestions don't help, perhaps a short recap of some of the best corporate April Fool's Day jokes would help your creativeness. Here are a few good ones:

PASTA TREES - The British Broadcasting Company aired a report about a bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland on April 1, 1957. Video showed farmers pulling pasta off spaghetti trees. The show's anchor, Richard Dimbleby, attributed the abundance of spaghetti to the mild winter and decline in the spaghetti weevil. Immediately afterward, thousands called the station to find out how they could grow their own spaghetti trees. The answer from the BBC? "Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."

RINGING FOOLS - Residents all over the United States were angered when Taco Bell announced they had purchased the Liberty Bell and had plans to move it to Irvine. People were furious and called Liberty Bell National Historic park to express their disgust with the move. A few hours later, Taco Bell sent out a news release announcing the hoax. The marketing ploy resulted in a $500,000 sales increase for Taco Bell on April 1 and a $600,000 increase on April 2.

LEFTOVER BURGERS - On April 1, 1998, Burger King introduced the "Left-Handed Whopper," designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the full-page ad in the newspaper, the Left-Handed Whopper contained all of the same ingredients as the original Whopper, but the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of the left-handed customers. "It's the ultimate 'Have it Your Way' for our left-handed customers," said Jim Watkins, the restaurant's senior vice president of marketing. Thousands of customers flocked to the restaurant to order the Left-Handed Whopper. Others requested their own right-handed version and sales increased substantially for both versions.

I - DWI -- In this 1994 hoax, columnist John Dvorak wrote a piece for PC Computing magazine about a new bill making its way through Congress. The bill, SB 040194, would make it illegal to surf the information superhighway will intoxicated. Dvorak urged readers to send comments to Lirpa Sloof. Careful readers noticed that SB 040194, is April 1, 1994. And Lirpa Sloof? That's "April Fools" backward!

NAPPING FISH -- In 2000, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced it would sabotage a bass fishing tournament in a Texas lake by releasing tranquilizers into the lake before the tournament. "This year, the fish will be napping, not nibbling," the PETA press release said. State officials were ready for them, stationing rangers around the lake to stop the PETA activists from drugging the fish. Numerous newspapers reported the threat. Eventually, PETA admitted it was a joke.

Hopefully, this article has inspired the child in you to come out to play on Friday. Just remember most April Fool jokes are meant to be done in good fun and never meant to harm anyone. The best April Fool joke is the one where everyone laughs, especially the person upon whom the joke is played.

Please have a happy and safe April Fool's Day!


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