Remember the excitement you felt back in elementary school when April Fool’s Day rolled around? Remember your high school years when April Fool’s Day could very well mean a trip to the nurse’s office and getting out of History and Phys Ed due to your injuries or a mandatory interview with local law enforcement? Wasn’t that fun? Why did all that have to end? Society, in the form of our educational institutions, beats the wonder and “fun” out of a child, that’s why.
It all starts in elementary school when they impose the “April Fool’s Day is Only in the Morning Rule”. Even eight year olds see through this and realize teachers cannot handle more than three hours of children’s unfettered imagination in the form of fake dog poo, putting Elmer’s glue on chalk, and an occasional tack on the teacher’s chair.
Then comes high school when all the really imaginative pranks are played — the really good ones result in the police and/or fire department being called. My old school buddies and I still speak in reverent whispers of the day they called in ambulances as a precaution. But do kids magically become one order of magnitude more devious over the summer break between Grade 7 and 8, or is there another explanation for the increased sophistication and savagery typical of high school pranks?
What happens is that the truly creative pranksters are rare geniuses, so the chance that one is in any given primary school class is maybe 50/50. School districts have a roughly 7:1 primary school to high school ratio, and each primary school has two or three classes per grade, so for any given high school there are roughly seven to ten Evil Einsteins per grade, depending on where you draw the line between mediocrity and true talent. Once they realize that they are not alone in this world they begin trading ideas and collaborating on bigger and better capers. Their collective ingenuity is greater than the sum of its parts. The school’s administration knows this so they make sure there’s at least one discipline specialist on staff.
At my high school, the Educational Enforcer was the vice principal. I don’t want to use his real name here (the very thought of him still scares the crap out of me) but if you scramble the letters of his name you can spell out “Pol Pot”. Coincidence? I think not. His one-hour detentions for something minor like loitering in the washroom while not engaging in a physiological excretory process (we kids used to call being found in breach of this rule “not getting caught with your pants down) combined the psyche-warping mind games of a CIA interrogation with the tacit threat of violence experienced when the Taliban Sharia Implementation Squad rolls into a small Afghan town. I don’t even want to think about what The Enforcer would have done had he caught me doing something more serious. But even the carrot of organized sports and the stick of The Enforcer couldn’t keep us down. You know what turned us pranking prodigies into model citizens? Pot.
Cannabis calmed us right down and made us downright jovial. It also taught us responsibility. The year we discovered hash we all ran out and got after-school and summer jobs so that we could afford not only the smoke, but also the LPs, concert tickets, midnight movies, and pizza that were natural accompaniments to our herbal diversions. We used to spend all our free time sitting around listening to our “quad” stereos, looking at the terrific artwork on the album covers (which doubled as great rolling platforms), and trying to remember where the nearest pizzeria was. After a few years we completely lost interest in April Fool’s Day.
Then the ’80s reared its ugly head and the ’70s, and all the good times, was a thing of the past (except in my current car’s CD changer). We started families and straightened up. Also, Ronald Reagan declared his War on Drugs and CDs came on the market. Personally, I believe that Ronald Reagan was behind this whole CD thing… they’re so small you cannot even see the art work on them and they are next to impossible to roll a major boomer on.
And now the years have slipped by, Reagan is dead, I like CDs, and I haven’t even seen cannabis, let alone smoke it, in decades. Stupid adulthood!
But I am beginning to get interested in April Fool’s Day again but April is such a dumb time for it. That’s why August Fool’s Day appeals to me even more. It’s easier to get time off work, you can “own” your mature friends while you’re all sitting around drinking beer (or wine) outdoors where the paramedics won’t have to struggle getting through any doorways. Besides, you’ll catch everyone off guard when you pull some epic prank four full months after the traditional April Fool’s Day. And because no one sees it coming, there are no rules… like you don’t have to confine the execution of your schemes to the first of the month! So what if you cause a pretty good friend to have a life-long limp or partially paralyzed face? By this stage of your life you have equity in your house and can leverage it against your lawyer’s fees if your friend turns out not to have much of a sense of humour.
Frankly, this year I don’t have a lot of extra cash for bail and retainer fees so I’ll be keeping my pranks fairly bloodless. Since this is a considerable about-face for me, I feel it’s only appropriate to share with you a couple of pranks you can play that are not likely to result in a trial or a damages settlement. Appropriately, the theme for this year’s practical jokes is “Switch”. Here they are…
- Flipped Monitor Display: Let’s get things started with one that’s a bit pedestrian but fun just the same. Say there’s someone at work who has a big assignment to finish by the end of the day and they sprint off to a quick lunch. Enter their cubicle and press these three buttons at the same time… Ctrl+Alt+”the down arrow”. This will flip their monitor’s display 180°. Boy, will they be in a panic when they get back! And will you be the turk when you find the problem was a fluctuation in the computer’s “kanuten chip” and fix the problem… after a half-hour of hard diagnostic work! [Note: This three-button combo works on my monitor’s driver but yours might have a different Hot Key combination. Do your research before you strike!]
- Horn to Brake Pedal Switcheroo: This one is more involved and requires that you either have pretty good knowledge of a car’s wiring or you’re willing to pay a professional to do your dirty work for you. What you do is borrow a friend’s car and then hook up the car’s horn to the brake light switch so every time your buddy wants to stop (like behind another car at a traffic light) the horn will sound! If you can possibly swing it, rig it so there is a delay of about two minutes from the time the guy starts his car until the circuit is engaged so he can get well into traffic without noticing anything wrong. Best executed just before your victim has to go to work, pick up his wife at the airport, etc.
- The Laundry Switch : This one’s great if you live in a neighbourhood where people put their washing out on clothes lines. Wait until Neighbour A puts something really eye catching on their clothesline and “borrow” it. Wait a few days until Neighbour B (whose yard must be clearly visible from Neighbour A’s house) hangs their laundry out to dry. Hang Neighbour A’s distinctive article of clothing on Neighbour B’s clothesline. Film the ensuing hilarity and post on YouTube!
- Switched Cat Collar: Does your Neighbour A have a friendly cat who routinely visits your property? What you do is run out and buy a cat collar with a little ID tag and inscribe the address of Neighbour B and “My name is Fluffy” (if the cat’s name is not Fluffy) onto the tag and install the collar on the trespassing feline. Buy several collars and repeat whenever your new collar is replaced by the rightful owners. You can use the same Neighbour A (or B, or both) from the previous prank and really stir up a hornets’ nest!
That’s all I’ve got for the moment. For more August Fool’s Day pranks, see last year’s post.
If you have suggestions for other pranks, please leave them in the comments section below. Also, let me know next how your August Fool’s Day turned out!
NOTE: The pranks in this article and the comments below are for humorous purposes only and should not be attempted. Injury, death, jail time, or lawsuits may result. The author will not be held responsible for any nasty stuff that happens to you or to others as a result of trying any of these pranks. He would, however, like to hear about it in the comments section below.
- April Fools’ Day Pranks By Brands (englishblog.com)
- April Fools Day! (turntoday.wordpress.com)
- Happy April Fool’s Day! (community.tradeking.com)
- Pete Wentz Chills With Bronx, Avoids Ashlee and Nicole’s April Fools’ Day Prank (popsugar.com)
- Pranks against Students and kids (gateway559.typepad.com)
- Media, Google, and shades of grey on April Fool’s Day (forrester.typepad.com)