I’m guessing the reason I’m not a huge fan of April Fool’s Day is that my elementary school classmates celebrated it every day. Yep, they were pranksters, alright, and I apparently made the perfect prankee. That’s a hard role to shake, it kind of stays with you. I often wished those kids would find some other target, you know, share the love. I’m not sure there really are “good sports,” when it comes to malevolent treatment, there are just good actors.
So I didn’t truly come to appreciate the art, finesse, cleverness, or imagination of a good prank until I went away to college. Leave it to way too talented, sleep-deprived, architectural and engineering majors to come up with some fairly ingenious capers.
Like the time some guys from the 6th floor completely dismantled and re-assembled a 4-man dormitory suite. Everything -- the beds, bookshelves, desks, lamps, sofas and posters -- all of it was moved in its entirety to the quad down below.
I still marvel at how they did that. So quietly! I’m guessing there were lots of co-conspirators involved and not everyone was staying up all night studying for midterms!
The victims took it very well, continuing to live, study, and sleep in their relocated quarters for the remainder of the week.
I’m thinking there must be some criteria that makes a good prank, well, good. I think creativity plays a role. A water-filled bucket precariously perched atop a doorsill is not a good example. Nor are ones that cause property damage or emotional scarring. And just for the record? Whoever stole the distributor cap from the ’61 Ford Falcon? I got in a lot of trouble over that. Not funny at all!
According to Wikipedia, children in France like to tack paper fish on each other’s back and shout “Poisson d’avril!” Now that’s about my speed. It’s silly, in good fun, and no one gets hurt. Maybe that’s where we draw the line, we declare a kind of a Hippocratic oath for Holidays: “First, do no harm, then be very, very, clever!”