MOUNT VERNON — April 1 has been an unofficial day of celebration for centuries as pranks and practical jokes crop up worldwide on this date. Some of the more memorable antics include Johnny Carson harvesting spaghetti from a spaghetti tree, a London newspaper reporting Big Ben would be going digital and several accounts of a freak snowstorm showing up. This year, of course, that one about the snow is not an April Fools’ falsehood.
A few area residents responding to an informal survey by the News shared their thoughts about the day and revealed their favorite April Fools’ pranks. Their names have been withheld to protect the innocent — and not so innocent.
One respondent said, “I usually forget it is April Fool’s Day so I guess the joke is always on me.”
“I try not to do any because I hate having one done on me,” another said, “but in high school several of us put glue on quarters and put them downtown on the sidewalk around stores and where you wait for stoplights. We then watched as people tried to pick them up. It was funny how long some people took to pick up a quarter!”
The glue and quarter trick has also often been pulled in college cafeterias, including, we were told, the one at Mount Vernon Nazarene University several years ago.
Some local office personnel look forward to April Fools’ Day each year as a break from tax season stresses. One year someone’s car got wrapped in cellophane, and another person likes to use a voice changer — one year it was the Incredible Hulk voice — to leave phone messages to staff.
More than one person said they enjoy April Fools’ Day when it comes on a Saturday. They have gotten diabolical pleasure out of [wrongly] telling their brothers — or children — they need to hurry up and get ready for school or they will be late. Of course, school is usually not in session on Saturdays.
During school, a teacher or two has been known to assign mounds of homework to the students’ chagrin, then informing the class it is “April Fools’.”
Students also sometimes pull pranks on teachers as well as each other, like telling tall tales and placing “Kick me” signs on someone’s back.
Sometimes, though, the best April Fools’ jokes are not really jokes at all. One retired teacher gave an example.
“The most funny one,” she said, “was an April first when a gal in fifth period told me that I had mismatched shoes on. I did not look down right away because I knew it was April 1. When I did look down, I did have two different shoes on. I used to get my shoes out of the closet in the dark so as not to wake my husband and I had two different shoes on — they were not even the same kind. One was an open-toe sandal and the other was more like a loafer. I had appointments uptown after school for a hair cut and other things and the shoes were really conspicuous! I still laugh about it.”
So, enjoy the day and be careful out there — your shoe’s untied. April Fools’!