April Fools’ Day aims to trick everyone

Maria Nann

Photo illustration by Stephanie Dever | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

At 9:47 a.m. on April 1, 1976, BBC Radio 2 listeners everywhere experienced an astronomical phenomenon as Pluto (then still a planet) passed behind Jupiter.

According to British astronomer Patrick Moore, this alignment would cause a temporary decrease in the Earth’s own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped at exactly 9:47 a.m., they would temporarily hover above the ground. Calls flooded the station with people claiming to have had the hovering sensation Moore had predicted. It wasn’t until after the fact that listeners found the whole thing was a practical joke.

Moore’s extravagant joke exemplifies the extreme to which people will go in order to have a little fun on this playfully foolish day.

Some jokes played on April Fools’ Day, however, can be almost cruel.

Kate Parsons, freshman fashion merchandising major, recalled a time in high school when one of her friends ignored another friend for the whole day.

“She was being really catty and wouldn’t sit with her at lunch,” Parsons said. “My friend was really upset.”

But because it is April Fools’ Day, people can sometimes get away with more because of the playfulness the day entails.

“At the end of the day my friend told her it was just for April Fools’,” Parsons explained. “It’s still kind of funny, because people laugh about it at the end.”

For Becky Alexander, junior political science major, the greatest prank she ever pulled was during high school.

“There was this cop that worked at my high school,” Alexander said. “I wanted to prank one of my friends, who is probably the nicest person alive and would never do anything wrong. We were both together in this volunteer organization, and I got our adviser to get him out of study hall. We had to go to her classroom where the police officer was standing.”

The officer then proceeded to tell Alexander’s friend that the previous night, drug-sniffing dogs had discovered drugs in his locker.

“He was terrified!” Alexander said. “I think the prank really worked because he would have never expected us to bring in a teacher and a police officer.”

Parsons was also familiar with amusing pranks in high school.

“There were these guys, who, during one April Fools’ Day, clipped the ends of ketchup packets and threw them sporadically on the floor,” she said. “Then they would stand around where they threw them and wait for people to walk by.”

Whether or not viewed as an official holiday, April Fools’ Day is still “a cheerful holiday,” said Parsons.

“I think it’s a fun holiday,” she said. “April’s normally a very fun, springy month, so it kind of caps off the month and starts it off in a positive kind of way.”

What will be the big prank this year?

Contact features correspondent Maria Nann at [email protected].