April Fool’s Day is widely considered the official day for pulling “appropriate” pranks or hoaxes on unsuspecting or gullible friends (or foe), family members, co-workers and neighbors. To be a successful jokester requires three traits; the courage to take risks, the willingness to act silly and the confidence to appear foolish in front of others. These same three traits are not only essential to developing your sense of humor; they are also the barriers that hold you back.
April Fool’s Day is an ideal time for you to step out of your comfort zone and try out some new bold humor techniques and devices. The purpose of the day lends itself to silliness and your reward is the joy of playing.
Pulling off shenanigans came naturally for me. My mom always said it was because I could have been born on April 1st IF… Daylight Savings Time had not in effect, IF… my 9 lb/3 oz first born baby body didn’t require a forceps delivery or IF … she had crossed the Idaho State line earlier that day and had gone into labor in PST zone.
My April Fool’s Day all-time record for the most pranks pulled was set in 1989. Thinking about it still puffs up my chest! 47 out of 55 people fell for my practical jokes. It was no easy feat fooling the same people year after year. It required that I had to come up with a slew of new hoaxes each year. So, I adopted a practice of keeping a small notebook, watching for clues and plotting my strategies from April to April of each year. My prankster reputation preceded me. The regulars I targeted anticipated my contact, hoping they’d deflect my attempts to hoodwink them.
The February following my peak April Fool’s record, a huge utility truck crashed into the back of my car and I sustained a brain injury. April 1st 1990 slipped by. Then April 1st 1991 and April 1st 1992 elapsed. Each year on April 1st, I heard the concern in my mother’s voice when she phoned, “Lois, I waited all day for you to call me.” With all the chaos and confusion surrounding my life, I didn’t notice that my favorite day had come, until it was gone, again.
April 1st 1993 announced its arrival with a phone call from my investment broker. Chuck said, “Lois, I’ve missed your yearly April Fool’s call telling me you plan to withdraw your funds and close your account.”
Later, my grocery store manager friend John called, “How are you? We’ve missed seeing you torment one of our cashiers each year.” I would seek out a new cashier, fake that I didn’t have my wallet and empty my coin purse trying to pay for my hand basket of groceries, as a line formed behind me. The flustered cashier frequently offered to loan money to me.
Next, my ex-boss, Jim called, “Remember the time we jacked up the rear of your car to get back at you for all the April Fool’s pranks you pulled on us?”
Those three phone calls re-ignited my passion for pulling pranks. Mom was the first one I called on April Fool’s Day for the next twelve years. She was the first one who noticed when my calls quit coming five years ago. She’s the first one I’ll call to fool this year, now that the playful silly side of my personality has returned.
To celebrate, I’m revealing five of my Silly Fail-Safe April Fool’s Strategies. Have fun!
1) Prey on vulnerabilities – yours and theirs, work overload, ask for help, something broke
2) Make up a story – evoke an emotion of surprise, excitement, or disgust
3) Deliver extraordinary good news – about you or someone they don’t like (even better)
4) Insist on doing them a favor – make it a BIG deal, something they don’t want you to do
5) Rescue them from embarrassment – pants unzipped, food caught between their teeth