Day 1: April Fools Day

Today is perhaps one of the greatest days of the year, outside of my birthday.

1) It’s April Fools Day
2) It’s the start of the Blogging A to Z Challenge, which I think is actually better than April Fools Day

I was going to go all out and give a history of April Fools Day, which by the way is pretty sketchy. It seems as though there is no real concensous on when/how it began. But there are some pretty awesome pranks out there that I’ll share with you.

Anyway, I came across this quote by one of my favorite authors this morning, Mr. Mark Twain and I thought it amusing. I personally will not take ownership of this, but I do know a few people, I just might stick this to their computer monitor and try and figure out how to jeririg their keyboard so that when they type it will type this quote.

mark twain

Here are some of the best darn hoaxes I’ve seen and heard. A couple of them I remember, but most came as a complete shock that people actually fell for.

Do It Yourself Color Television — 1962

Color television wasn’t widespread until 1966, but some Swedes armed with nylon stockings tried to get it four years earlier. They fell victim to a hoax by Sweden’s Sveriges Television, which trotted out a “technical expert” to explain on-air — in thoroughly technical terms — how a thinly stretched nylon screen in front of a television would bend light’s wavelengths and produce a color image. The thousands who tried it learned quickly that there was no such trick — and were out a pair of stockings to boot.

Gmail Paper – 2007

“You click. We stack. You get.”

Google has long encouraged users of its Gmail service to archive, rather than delete, their e-mail. But paper archives too? That was the idea behind the 2007 launch of Gmail Paper, which promised to provide on-demand printed copies of e-mails for users. The massive costs of printing and shipping would be offset by advertisements on the back of each sheet, printed in “red, bold, 36-pt. Helvetica.”

The hoax website lives on today. But paper lovers beware — there’s still no word on how Google planned to handle the Viagra ads and Nigerian e-mail scams that would undoubtedly clutter every shipment.

Military Working Cats – 2013

The U.S. Army announced it was enlisting cats to reduce military spending. The news release said “a young, healthy cat can jump over eight feet in a single bound so if an enemy approaches a cat, the cat will be able to jump on him and either disable him, or claw him to death if he fails to stop resisting capture.”

I seriously laughed about five minutes on this one.

U.S. Army

And this is perhaps the best I’ve seen.

The Spaghetti Tree – 1957

Switzerland is known for banks and chocolate, not spaghetti, right? Tell that to the millions who fell victim to a BBC April Fools’ report touting the bumper harvests from Swiss spaghetti trees. The report, which ran three minutes, even led some to ask how they could have a spaghetti tree of their own. The Beeb’s response? Put a strand of spaghetti in tomato sauce and “hope for the best.”

If you have a moment don’t forget to check out my A to Z short story over at A Short A Day.

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