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April 1 – The Day that Reminds Us What Are the Other 364 Days

March 30, 2018

By Jim Rhodes

When our children were small, our son’s favorite day was April 1. He would jump out of bed, run into our bedroom and say to my wife, “Your shoelaces are untied.”  She would look down at her feet (in bedroom slippers), and he would scream, “April Fool” and howl with laughter.  Naturally he couldn’t stop. Two minutes later he would try it again – and again, and again – each time laughing his little head off. He tried it on his sister, but she just shrugged and said, “Whatever.”

Sunday is April Fools’ Day – and for 24 hours there will be a merry round of pranks, tricks and hoaxes, mostly harmless. Some will be outrageously funny.  Others may be borderline malicious.  This being 2018, I’m sure there will be no shortage of fake news stories floating about. Some of them may be April Fools’ hoaxes. Others will not.

As for me, I’ll probably wear loafers without shoelaces. Just in case.

There have been some classic April Fools’ Day hoaxes.

One of my favorites was April 1, 1957, when the BBC ran a story on the bumper spaghetti crop in Switzerland, with images of happy farmers harvesting the noodles from trees.  The network fielded a number of calls from people who wanted to know how to grow their own spaghetti. They were advised to place a sprig of spaghetti in a pot filled with tomato sauce.

Then there was the Australian millionaire who announced he would be towing an Antarctic iceberg into Sydney harbor, where it would be chopped up onto ice cubes, which would be sold for ten cents each. The media dutifully turned out at the waterfront on April 1 to see the barge towing the iceberg, which turned out to be sheets covered with shaving cream and firefighting foam.

And how about the Taco Liberty Bell?  On April 1, 1996, the Taco Bell Corporation announced it had purchased the Liberty Bell, which would be renamed the Taco Liberty Bell, causing a flood of calls from outraged citizens.  When White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale, he replied with a perfectly straight face that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would be renamed the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

I’ll leave you with this story, which was published March 21 in a Devonshire newspaper. https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/april-fools-day-2018-cancelled-983604