Today in countries such as the UK, Australia and the USA we are celebrating a rather strange tradition called April Fools’ day. At any time before 12 noon, you are allowed to play a prank on whoever you think will be gullible enough to believe you. These jokes range from a spider in your cereal to larger and more adventurous hoaxes such as Burger King announcing they had created a left-handed whopper with all the sauces rotated 180 degrees in order to make eating it easier for its minority consumers.
Every year most people forget this day until it’s too late. I am one of these people. This morning I was woken up to the “news” published on Facebook that one of my oldest friends was pregnant. After a good half hour in shock and wondering how her mother was going to react (my friend is currently travelling alone in Burma) it dawned on me that maybe this was an April Fools’ prank.
This made me take a moment to look back on the various jokes I have fallen for over the years. But unfortunately I wasn’t alive for what is considered by many as the best prank of all time. In 1957, the BBC released their own April Fools’ report for their Panorama documentary. Thousands watched a black and white video of farmers in a small Italian village picking spaghetti from trees in what was known as the annual “spaghetti harvest” and then serving it up for lunch to the hungry townsfolk. Obviously, the BBC came clean about their hoax, but not before fooling even the channel’s Director General himself into thinking that spaghetti does in fact grow on trees.
Sadly, once you read this it will be past 12 o’clock by which time if you play a hoax on someone it is you the prankster who is considered the fool. On the plus side, you have a whole year to think of a joke which will befuddle your friends. Just make sure you remember to tell them the truth afterwards……