Just like New Year's Eve is amateur hour for drinkers, so is April 1st a wanna-be day for jokesters. Pros like myself sort of hang back and watch the kids play, knowing that the day before and days after, these saran toilet wrappers and packing peanut office fillers will be dilligently back at the spreadsheets looking for the latest accounting error that seems to have bankrupt Lichtenstein.
Nonetheless, the day exists not for naught and some good things, prank-wise come out of April Fool's day or Poisson D'Avril as they might say along the banks of the Seine just before they also summarily command you to donnez moi toute votre argent et ce montre la, toute de suite mauvaise touriste!
So let's celebrate them; the top five April Fool's pranks known.
5) Pope for a day. Michel Beauharnois was wakened to white smoke pouring from a neighbor's chimney in April 1272, just outside of Paris. His wife sensed his morning grogginess and immediately exclaimed "isn't it wonderful, you've been elected pope!" Michel apparently believed her entire story, such as it was and spent the rest of the day harmlessly blessing the village. Of course, the excommunication of his least favorite brother in law and condemnation to be burnt at the stake later that afternoon put a quick end to the ruse. Not quite in time to save the brother in law, though.
4) False taking of Richmond. Confederate president Jefferson Davis apparently took his cook's ruse of "They done taken Richmond, it all over and we free" in 1864 a little too seriously. By day's end he had freed his slaves, incorporated them as majority shareholders in his plantation empire and when the real news caught up to him by 5.05 that afternoon he was almost done polishing Luther Holmes' last set of riding boots, now that the man was free not to cook for the old codger ever again.
3) Enron. Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay cooked up a plot to trade energy "futures" and "shares", really constructs of no value rather than engage in the business of power generation...uh. Never mind.
2) King of Laredo. Using a half dried bottle of White Out, friends of Tommy Cruspnagel of Texas convinced him that his genetic markers indicated a direct lineage to the 19th century monarch Lumile Uppsula of Middle Silesia. Cruspnagel declared a sovereign kingdom in territories formerly known as Under The Palms Trailer Court of Laredo, had the authorities of that lost part of Texas either deported across the street or in the case of the park manager "locked in the worst damn toilet in a single wide you can find" for a few hours. He, by the time Laredo SWAT caught up to him, had granted himself a divorce, levied 92% usage taxes on residents of the park he "kinda didn't favor" and had taken that "hot little divorcee Wanda" as his queen. It all ended rather badly.
1) Super Treasure Hunt. Using desktop publishing tools, friends of Bobby Rye of East Onk, Tennessee concocted a "decoded" Captain Morgan go for the gold
Treasure Map. Stating that "to get the chest of pure gold bullion buried just a foot under lush lawn", Bobby would surely have to face down uniformed "Bullion Guards" and "all manner of physical and mechanical obstacle" in his quest. A fake GPS coordinate and handheld guide unit sent Bobby to the site where he indeed did get past guards, walls and other security devices. What he failed to do was tie his GPS data to a conventional map and address of 1600 Pennsyvania Ave. Bobby will be eligible for parole in 2098.