April Fools

April 1st, 2006 by Potato

April Fools is a tough holiday. It can be lots of fun to plan a funny, minor prank; but things can easily get out of hand. Practical jokes slide all too easily from funny to mean, and lesser puns are just as often annoying as they are funny. It’s also tough to take anything you read in the news seriously today, on the off chance that it’s just a hoax.

I think last year’s “Wikipedia sold” joke was pretty funny. Google has a history of launching services on April Fools’, and people always have trouble determining if what they’re pushing is real. Gmail turned out to be real (as did their huge and continually-growing storage increase). This year they’re launching Google Romance. I can’t quite tell if it’s real or not. On the one hand, a Google dating service just makes me say “what took you so long?”, but parts of the announcement scream prank, such as “…all-expenses-paid dates for couples who agree to experience contextually relevant advertising throughout the course of their evening.” I’m going to go ahead and predict that the whole thing is a prank (but I was tempted to guess that there will be a matchmaking service from Google, sans advertising-supported dates).

Home Star Runner / Strong Bad is upside-down this year. It’s a cute prank, but if you genuinely want to watch a cartoon today, it’s annoying (I can’t find a way to turn it off, either). WordPress’ prank, an announced merger between WordPress and Textpattern was terrible, though at least non-intrusive.

Wayfare’s dad had a decent prank last year. He coaches a running group, and sends out a little email newsletter to them. So in one newsletter, he describes the history of the marathon. To tell it briefly, there was a battle between the Greeks and Persians way long ago, on the fields of Marathon. The Greeks won the battle on the fields, but the dastardly Persians after boarding their boats didn’t set sail for home, but instead continued sailing for Athens — they meant to tell the civilians that they had won the day on the fields of battle and that the city was theirs. So the Greeks sent a runner (Pheidippides) out to deliver the message that the Greeks had actually won, and were returning on foot to defend the city, and that the people of Athens should hold out until their return. Pheidippides managed to beat the Persian army and delivered his message, but died immediately afterwards. Thinking this was a great idea, athletes have subsequently run the 34.5 km distance as a Marathon (the distance from Marathon to Athens). This part of the history, if not exactly true, is well-accepted, and was sent out a few months before April. So on April 1st, Wayfare’s dad sends out his mail telling his runners that new archaeological evidence put the battle of Marathon a further 6 km from Athens than originally thought, and so the next day they’d be running 40.5 km.

Of course, it’s much easier to be cynical about other people’s pranks when you haven’t thought of any of your own. Every year I mean to do one, and like a really awesome one too, but I never get around to even trying to plan anything until like 11 pm on March 31st, and by then it’s a little too late.

I will say this though: my thesis defense date has been pushed back again.

One Response to “April Fools”

  1. Netbug Says:

    Did you check out Blizzards April Fools this year? They were great. :)