Okay, so I know April Fool’s Day passed, hopefully with a couple of chuckles. I’ve played my fair share of jokes. Last year I went to pick up pizza and told the man at the counter that I was there picking up 30 large pizzas for a charity event. He told me they were right out back and it would be $250. When my jaw dropped open he laughed and told me my husband had called and told him to play the joke on me.
Anyway, after some research, I found 13 of my favorite jokes of all times.
1. 1985: Sports Illustrated published a story about a new rookie pitcher who planned to play for the Mets. His name was Sidd Finch, and he could reportedly throw a baseball at 168 mph with pinpoint accuracy. This was 65 mph faster than the previous record. Surprisingly, Sidd Finch had never even played the game before. Instead, he had mastered the “art of the pitch” in a Tibetan monastery under the guidance of the “great poet-saint Lama Milaraspa.” (Turned out to be straight out the imagination of sports writer, George Plimpton.)
2. 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. Later that day, White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale and responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known, he said, as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
3. 1976: The British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on BBC Radio 2 that at 9:47 AM a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur that listeners could experience in their very own homes. The planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen the Earth’s own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 arrived, one woman reported that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room.
4. 1975: Australia’s This Day Tonight news program revealed that the country would soon be converting to “metric time.” Under the new system there would be 100 seconds to the minute, 100 minutes to the hour, and 20-hour days. Furthermore, seconds would become millidays, minutes become centidays, and hours become decidays.
5. 1915: On April 1, 1915, in the midst of World War I, a French aviator flew over a German camp and dropped what appeared to be a huge bomb. The German soldiers immediately scattered in all directions, but no explosion followed. After some time, the soldiers crept back and gingerly approached the bomb. They discovered it was actually a large football with a note tied to it that read, “April Fool!”
6. 1994: An article by John Dvorak in PC Computing magazine described a bill going through Congress that would make it illegal to use the internet while drunk, or to discuss sexual matters over a public network. The bill was supposedly numbered 040194 (i.e. 04/01/94), and the contact person was listed as Lirpa Sloof (April Fools backwards).
7. 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.” Accompanying the article was a picture showing the capitol building collapsing.
8. 1980: The BBC reported that Big Ben, in order to keep up with the times, was going to be given a digital readout. The announcement received a huge response from listeners shocked and angered by the proposed change. The BBC Japanese service also announced that the clock hands would be sold to the first four listeners to contact them. One Japanese seaman in the mid-Atlantic immediately radioed in a bid.
9. 1973: Westward Television, a British TV studio, produced a documentary feature about the village of Spiggot. As the documentary explained, the stubborn residents of this small town were refusing to accept the new decimal currency recently adopted by the British government, preferring instead to stick with the traditional denominations they had grown up with. As soon as the documentary was over, the studio received hundreds of calls expressing support for the brave stand taken by the villagers. In fact, many of the callers voiced their intention to join in the anti-decimal crusade. Unfortunately for this burgeoning rebellion, the village of Spiggot did not exist.
10. 1965: Politiken, a Copenhagen newspaper, reported that the Danish parliament had passed a new law requiring all dogs to be painted white. The purpose of this, it explained, was to increase road safety by allowing dogs to be seen more easily at night.
11. 1980: Soldier magazine revealed that the fur on the bearskin helmets worn by the Irish guards while on duty at Buckingham Palace keeps growing and needs to be regularly trimmed:
The most hair-raising fact about the bearskins has been discovered by scientists recently. The skins retain an original hormone, which lives on after the animal has been skinned. Scientists call it otiose and it is hoped it can be put to use in medical research – especially into baldness.
The article quoted Maj. Ursa who noted, “Bears hibernate in the winter and the amazing thing is that in the spring the skins really start to sprout.” An accompanying photo showed Guardsmen sitting in an army barbershop having their helmets trimmed. The story was picked up by the London Daily Express and run as a straight story.
12. 1997: An email message spread throughout the world announcing that the internet would be shut down for cleaning for twenty-four hours from March 31 until April 2. This cleaning was said to be necessary to clear out the “electronic flotsam and jetsam” that had accumulated in the network. Dead email and inactive ftp, www, and gopher sites would be purged. The cleaning would be done by “five very powerful Japanese-built multi-lingual Internet-crawling robots (Toshiba ML-2274) situated around the world.” During this period, users were warned to disconnect all devices from the internet.
13. 1993: Westdeutsche Rundfunk, a German radio station, announced that officials in Cologne had just passed an unusual new city regulation. Joggers going through the park would be required to pace themselves to go no faster than six mph. Any faster, it was felt, would unnecessarily disturb the squirrels who were in the middle of their mating season.