BY DEBBIE BARR
To say that 2020 was a difficult year would be the granddaddy of all understatements. 2020 wasn’t just difficult – it was uniquely difficult. Along with the rest of the world, Americans weathered a global pandemic and were catapulted onto a political roller coaster the likes of which had never been seen before. People lost loved ones, lost jobs, and lost their work-life balance, spending more time at home than they would ever have thought possible, working remotely, learning to Zoom, and doing their best to home school their children.
Considering all we’ve been through, we’ve never needed the levity of April Fool’s Day more than we do this year!
To get you into the spirit of things, I strongly recommend that you watch “Spaghetti-Harvest in Ticino” on YouTube. This April Fool’s Day 1957 prank by the BBC is one of the best ever. This 3-minute broadcast convinced so many viewers that spaghetti grows on trees that some even phoned the BBC to ask how they could grow their own spaghetti trees. CNN called it “the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled.”
The great spaghetti tree hoax is a good model to follow because, as one YouTube viewer commented, “Now THIS is how you do a prank. It’s not hurtful or cruel or mean-spirited. It’s imaginative.” That’s the definition of any good prank: not hurtful, cruel, or mean-spirited, just imaginative. And, ideally, one with a “gotcha” that makes everyone laugh.
Early one April 1st, when my son was about five years old, I came into his bedroom, presumably to tell him it was time to get up. When I knew he saw me, I gasped dramatically and stared at him with an expression of disbelief. The conversation went something like this:
“What’s wrong, Mom?”
“I can’t believe it!”
“Overnight it…it turned…blue.”
He couldn’t get to a mirror fast enough.
“April Fool’s!” We both laughed and also gained a fun memory.
Fooling kids isn’t too hard. Fooling an adult, however, may require a little more thought and planning. If you want to put a smile on the face of a friend, family member, or coworker, but you’re short on imagination, adapt one of the four tried and true April Fool’s Day pranks below. Have fun, but make sure that anything you do at work (if you are back at work) doesn’t cross the line from funny to fired!
That’s a Wrap
Wrap everything in your coworker’s or spouse’s office in aluminum foil. Everything includes wrapping their desk and every item on it, right down to each piece of candy in the dish and each pen in the cup. Cover the desk phone, the whiteboard and eraser, the shelves, the trash can…you get the idea. What a shiny shock awaits when they open the door to their office on April 1st! Have your camera ready.
Fill an office or a closet, pantry, car, sun porch, bathtub, or a whole bathroom with colorful balloons. If you’re going for a room-sized prank, you’ll probably need to recruit your kids or coworkers to help you blow up or otherwise inflate so many balloons. Be prepared to capture the hilarity on camera when the intended person steps into balloon heaven!
This idea comes from the pens.com website. Borrow a frequently used object from a coworker’s desk, such as a stapler, or an item from mom’s kitchen. Make Jell-O in a mold. When the Jell-O is slightly thickened, place the object in the Jell-O and let it reach full firmness. Then pop it out of the mold and onto a plate. Place the Jell-O encased object on your coworker’s desk or on mom’s kitchen counter just before she brews her morning coffee.
Don’t Bug Me
Draw a large roach or spider on black construction paper. Carefully cut out the bug and tape it inside of a lampshade in your living room, bedroom, or on someone’s desk. Turn the lamp on and sit nearby so you will be there to enjoy the reaction that is sure to come!
In the unlikely event that someone should fail to appreciate your April Fool’s Day prank, remind them of this tidbit of wisdom from writer, Max Eastman:
“It is the ability to take a joke, not make one, that proves you have a sense of humor.”