A good April Fools' Day joke engenders not vows of revenge, but rather laughter, perhaps a bit of blushing, and even a nod of appreciation for a well-planned gotcha. To see how Bellingham Herald readers match up, check out their stories below.
It was 2008 and I was working for a grocery store in my hometown of Bothell. Everything that day was pretty normal at work until I got an amazing surprise when my girlfriend showed up for work on my lunch hour and brought me some snacks.
In particular, she brought me cake with lots of frosting (the way I like it). As I bit down for the first taste, I realized I only got frosting and no cake, because well ... it was a sponge cake.
Literally, a sponge covered up by cake frosting.
- Chris Mitchell, Bellingham
My best prank was when I called my mother's husband and asked him what he knew about posting a bond, as my husband had gotten into a fight defending my honor at the bar last night.
I told him I had to have the money within one hour. He was taken aback and said he did not know, so I asked him if he could lend me $10,000 to post bond. He stammered and stammered and I finally told him "April Fools."
I then called my uncle, who is president of a bank and very conservative, telling him the same story. He informed me how to post bail, then I told him I had to have it within one hour and could I borrow $10,000 from him. He got so flustered he could not respond. It was a great prank.
- Shelly Clark, Bellingham
THEY DID IT
I grew up in a row house, 40 to a row, in Baltimore.
Everybody had a doorbell. In the week before April Fools' Day we had "doorbell night," where we would stick a pin in the doorbell and wait for the occupant to come out and remove the pin.
Then we had "soap night," in which we would soap up every thing in sight. The bigger the window, the better the fun!
Then there was "moving night." We moved every thing that was not nailed down - garbage cans, cars, outhouses.
I didn't participate, you know, but the bad kids did! What ever happened to good clean fun?
- Dorothy Gonsalves, Bellingham
BOYS WILL BE BOYS
We lived on Alderwood in the 1940s. I had three younger brothers, and there were only boys living in the homes around us. A total of four boys next door, two across the street, and a couple more down the street. All of them middle-school age or younger.
Carla, a single woman, lived across the street. Carla had a root cellar in her side yard.
We all had gardens and fruit trees. Most everyone home-canned their fruits and vegetables for the winter. Carla's were stored in her root cellar.
April 1st, as my Dad was leaving for work, he said to my mother, "I hate to tell you this but the boys, along with the neighbor boys, went into Carla's root cellar yesterday and broke all her home-canned fruits and vegetable jars."
Dad left and Mom got on the telephone and called all the neighbor mothers. The mothers and their sons came over to the house to discuss the situation. And to decide the punishment. The first - an apology to Carla.
While the boys all denied their guilt, the phone rang and my Dad said, "April Fools!"
Guess who was in the doghouse for a long time?
- Myrna Bond, Bellingham
The staff of the Biological Control Division at the Multiversity of Uniformia (aka University of California) routinely gathered for coffee breaks in the Insectary lunchroom. The Agricultural Operations Crew usually brought "girlie" magazines.
That morning, I exchanged the covers of these with the covers of California Agriculture. The virile young iconoclasts, looking forward to a few moments of cheap thrills, were treated to pictures of cows out standing in their fields.
The older scientists, after a morning of ponderous contemplation, anticipated light, socially acceptable reading. These gentlemen were rudely greeted by an assortment of curves that provided an unexpected jolt to their ancient and presumably long dormant libidos.
- Jim Milstead, Bellingham
TEACHERS DO THE DARNDEST THINGS
I enjoy playing jokes, especially on April Fools' Day.
But I had a class that enjoyed always trying to play an April Fools' joke on the teacher. After they tried several times to fool me unsuccessfully, we went on through the lesson for the day.
Toward the end of the period, a student approached me and said that there was a long-distance phone call waiting for me at the office. Since there was only five minutes left in the period, I figured I could leave the seventh-graders for the remaining minutes and take the call.
So I went down the main hall to the office, but when I got there the receiver was hung up. When I asked why someone hung up my long-distance phone call, I learned that, in fact, no one had called me at all. It looked like I had been fooled.
I went back up the hall toward my classroom, only to find my class in the hallway laughing and calling "April Fool!" at me.
So I hatched a plan of retaliation. The last bell hadn't rung for the class, and it gave me an idea.
"OK," I said. "You got me this time! But I have something to tell you. When I went to the office, I heard the principal say that they were going to have a fire drill and that it would happen any minute. So you need to be prepared to head out when the bell rings."
The students pulled the curtains, lined up at the door and waited. I grabbed my gradebook for roll call. A minute later, the end-of-class bell rang. (Note: the school bell and the fire bell were one and the same. The fire bell was continuous; the schedule bells were not.)
The students thought that this was the fire bell and filed out quickly. A light rain was falling. The students waited outside listening for the next bell signaling "all clear."
I went to the nearby kitchen and poured myself a cup of coffee, returned to my room, sat down at my desk and put my feet up on it. Eventually, one of the students came back and told me that there were no other classes outside for the drill. I said calmly, "Tell the rest of the class outside 'April Fool.'"
So the drenched student went back to tell the others they had "been had." The rest of the students came back in, admitting that I had really fooled them that time.
This particular class I had for two successive periods, so they were not late getting to another class. Toward the end of the second period, a student came up and said, "You really got us good with that April Fools' joke, Mr. Storms, but would you do us a big favor? Could you get the eighth-graders too?"
I replied that I would if they promised not to play a joke back on me by letting the eighth-graders in on it.
"That's fine" they said. "We really want to get those eighth-graders. We would love to have you do it!"
So I agreed. I told them that they would have to leave the room quickly so that the eighth-graders could come in and believe that the tardy bell was, in fact, the fire bell. This they did, and the eighth-graders came in and sat down. I explained to them about the "imminent fire drill" and reminded them of the normal instructions about no running, no talking, waiting patiently outside until the bell rings, and so forth. I grabbed my gradebook.
The tardy bell rang and the eighth-graders walked outside as directed, stood in the rain, and waited. The seventh-graders, meanwhile, went through the building to a section where the windows looked out upon the dampening eighth-graders, opened the windows and yelled "April Fool, you dummies!"
When the eighth-graders came back in and asked, "Mr. Storms, was that an April Fools' joke?"
I replied, "Yes, it was. Did they get you?"
"Yeah, they got us good."
I actually received thank you cards from several seventh-graders, and even got a few notes many years later from some students recalling our prank. It seems they really appreciate a good joke.
- Robert Storms, Ferndale, from his book, "School Stories - The Funny Thing About Music" (currently out of print)
Reach DEAN KAHN at email@example.com or call 715-2291.