april fool's day

April Fool’s Whoppers

By Susan DeLay


April Fool’s Day is my favorite holiday. No cookies to bake. No gifts to buy. No decorating. All it requires is a little bit of creativity and a whole lot of devious.

I’m an Amateur Fool

I’ve scraped the cream filling from Oreos and replaced it with toothpaste. I’ve superglued nails to nickels and driven them into wooden floors, then watched a grown man (my boss) struggle to pick up the coin. He fell for that one three years in a row. Some people never learn.

I’ve left messages for friends to return a call to Mr. Lyon or Jim Panzee or Ryna Soris. The calls go to the zoo, of course. And I can’t count how many times I’ve replaced the salt in the shaker with sugar or covered the toilet bowl with plastic wrap.

I’m a (p)rank amateur compared to the jokesters who’ve launched whoppers on an unsuspecting public.

 April Fool’s Whopper

Burger King pulled a whopper when they placed a full-page ad in USA Today,” promoting the Left-Handed Whopper, designed to appeal to the 32 million meat-eating American lefties. BK rotated condiment placement 180 degrees so excess catsup, mustard, mayo, pickle slices or onion fell out of the right side of the sandwich and directly onto their clothes.

Fast Food and Automobiles Pull Pranks

Taco Bell advertised in several national newspapers, announcing they were now the proud owners of the Liberty Bell. From now on, visitors to Philadelphia would visit the Taco Liberty Bell.

Outraged patriots called the White House in protest. The press secretary knew in advance that a hoax was afoot, and he played along. He confirmed to callers that, yes, the Liberty Bell was owned by Taco Bell. He added the disturbing news that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold and from now on, it would be known as the Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

 Sidd’s Fast Ball

One year at the beginning of baseball season, Sports Illustrated released a story about Hayden Siddhartha (Sidd) Finch. Sidd was a remarkable new rookie pitcher signed to the NY Mets. Although he had never played baseball before, Sidd could throw a baseball at the unheard-of speed of 168 mph. Not only had he mastered a rocket of a fastball, he could do it with near-perfect aim. The magazine’s telephone operators threatened to forward every call to the culprit behind the story—George Plimpton. Fortunately for him, he had an unlisted number.  

Big Ben Goes Digital

BBC reported London’s 165-year-old landmark, Big Ben, was going to go digital. Stately every-hour-on-the-hour bongs would be replaced with shrill beeps. The hands of the clock would be given away to the first four lucky listeners who called into the station. 

Of course, it was a joke, but no one seemed to find the humor, especially the Japanese seaman in the mid-Atlantic who radioed in, only to learn he wasn’t a lucky caller, after all.


The Great Spaghetti Harvest

Panorama, a jolly good news program in the UK, broadcast a story about farmers in southern Switzerland who were experiencing a bumper spaghetti crop. Anchorman Richard Dimbleby described news of the spaghetti crop as viewers watched footage of a Swiss family harvesting strands of spaghetti from trees.

The whole prank was dreamed up by one of Panorama’s cameramen, Charles de Jaeger. One of his elementary school teachers had declared Charles was “so stupid he would believe spaghetti grew on trees.” Who’s stupid now?

As soon as the Panorama program ended, the switchboard was slammed with calls from viewers who wanted to know how they could grow their own spaghetti.

Operators Get Even

No one suffers more from these seasonal jokes than telephone operators, who ultimately have to explain to thousands of callers that it’s a joke and remind callers that it’s April Fool’s Day.

Someday, somehow, I think those operators are going to get even.

© 2024 Susan DeLay

DeLay-Susan HeadshotSusan DeLay is from the Buckeye State where she took her first paying job at the age of 15, writing a newspaper column called Teen Talk. She lived in the Chicagoland area for 20-some years before giving away her shovel and ice scraper and moving to The Villages.

An industry veteran in publishing services, PR, and media relations, Susan wrote “DeLayed Reaction,” a newspaper column, for 25 years. The column is now a blog at www.susandelay.wordpress.com.

She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, The Florida Writers Association, Pen, Paper & Pals, The Writers League of the Villages, and Working Writers Critique Group. She is currently learning that poems don’t have to rhyme and is working on a novel entitled “Saving Jesus.”

6 thoughts on “April Fool’s Whoppers”

  1. Nervous, and jumpy now. Best to stay inside. Maybe take a few spam calls, something my therapist suggested to improve my socialization deficit. Otherwise, stay low. Thanks Susan for the heads up.

  2. Susan’s writing always informs and amuses. In a fictional writing world, if clever James Thurber and soulful Maya Angelou had a daughter, Susan would be it! Let the countdown to April first begin!

  3. Heads up. I just heard they are putting in parking meters around the squares to address people being cars and carts over in the afternoon to save places. They will take credit cards.

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