Happy April Fools Day, a day set aside to celebrate childish pranks, hoaxes and practical jokes. Given the dower nature of our economy, and our tendency to take ourselves too seriously, a dose of jocularity could be just the thing to lift our spirits. The Museum of Hoaxes (yes, there’s actually such a place) offers a great Web site, www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/aprilfool listing the “Top 100 April Fools Day Hoaxes of all time.” We couldn’t resist sharing a few of our favorites as inspiration to those inclined to a little first day of April mischief.
No. 4: “The Taco Liberty Bell. In 1996, the Taco Bell Corporation announced it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a practical joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known, he said, as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.”
No. 8: “The Left-Handed Whopper. In 1998, Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a “Left-Handed Whopper” specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new Whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day, Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich.”
The final example is an old school classic. Although it’s over 75 years old, it clearly stands the test of time:
No. 28: “Wisconsin State Capitol Collapses. In 1933, The Madison Capital-Times solemnly announced that the Wisconsin state capitol building lay in ruins following a series of mysterious explosions. The explosions were attributed to ‘large quantities of gas, generated through many weeks of verbose debate in the Senate and Assembly chambers.’”
While it’s always possible to take a practical joke too far, a little light-hearted tomfoolery could offer a nice lift to these rainy days.