Caller: "Is your refrigerator running?"
Caller: "You better go catch it."
April Fools' Day practical jokes and pranks come in all shapes and sizes. Some are elaborate and can be carried on throughout the day while other pranks are able to "get" someone immediately.
The following is a sampling of the April Fools' jokes we received from our readers.
Right place, wrong jeans
Dawn Voss, 34, Brainerd, wrote, "This was a long time ago, but I still remember it clearly. I was in fourth grade.
"My dad always put his jeans next to the bed all ready for the next workday (his belt in the loops and his change and wallet in the pockets).
"Well, this one year my mom had a great idea. After my dad fell asleep she tiptoed into my room and woke me up. We grabbed a pair of my jeans and put them in place of my dad's jeans - belt, change, wallet and all.
"Mom made sure to be up a few minutes before Dad so she could see his reaction. She said the confused look on his face was priceless when he tried to slip "his" jeans on and couldn't get them past his knees!"
Leaving on a jet plane
"I still feel bad about it. I sent an e-mail to friends telling them I was moving to Africa to begin sales on the continent for a well-known multi-level marketing company. I said I was leaving immediately, but that my wife would stay through the end of the school year. She would be selling the house and tie up loose ends and then she and our son would join me in Africa.
"Several friends immediately recognized it was a joke, but others didn't. One expressed tactful concern. After all, this seemed very sudden. Maybe I should take some time to think it through. A couple others wished me good luck.
"But then there was my good friend who shall remain nameless. Her e-mail back read, 'Dan, I have tears in my eyes as I write. I am so happy for you and this wonderful adventure and opportunity.'
"Oh no! What to do? How to respond? I almost moved to Africa. I felt lower than low. I never thought anyone would believe it! I had to respond immediately. It was one of the most difficult writing tasks I have or will ever have.
"Fortunately, good friends understand. Today, we laugh about it. She introduces me as her friend who made her cry. Then we laugh.
"A couple years later I sent an e-mail asking people to contact their U.S. senators and representatives as they were considering legislation that would require new TVs to come with a pedal-powered generator. Since we watch too much TV and don't get enough exercise, you would have to exercise to generate the electricity to run the TV.
"I thought it was a good story but nobody fell for it." -Dan Hegstad
Those crazy firefighters
Deb Doucette wrote, "I work for the city of Brainerd at the Brainerd Fire Department. It is no secret that fire departments are notorious for practical jokes. I have been the recipient of a few myself, so I thought it was payback time.
"Unfortunately one of the biggest prank pullers that I really did owe a payback to was not with us anymore, but I thought it was still fair to pull this one in his memory.
Thanks to her "winning" Powerball ticket, Deb Doucette of the Brainerd Fire Department had the last laugh on a previous April Fools' Day at the fire hall - no small feat given firefighters' propensity for a good prank. Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls
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"It was April 1, a Thursday, the day following the Powerball drawing. The two firefighters I was working with that day always bought tickets and checked them for winners first thing in the morning when they came on duty.
"The drawing was up to a very large amount of money so everyone was particularly interested in 'who the winner may be.'
"I normally do not buy lottery tickets because I usually misplace them and forget to check. On my way to work that Thursday I stopped at Casey's and bought a ticket with the previous night's winning numbers on it. The clerk kept trying to explain to me that it would not work to buy the ticket after the drawing - I kept reassuring her that 'it was OK. I knew it was a loser. It was for a joke.' She really didn't get it, but I got my ticket, threw my ticket in the bottom of my purse and went to work.
"Sure enough - like clockwork - the guys came in and opened up the paper and started checking tickets. When they were done, I said, 'Oh yeah, I bought a ticket the other day when I was in the express lane at the grocery store. Wonder if I can find it?' So I emptied my purse out on my desk, found the ticket and read them the numbers from my office (so they could be the ones checking the winning numbers in the paper).
"It was quiet for a minute then, 'Read them again,' so I did. Then the fun started.
"They said, 'Let me see it.'
"I carried the ticket in the day room and held my finger over the date so they could see the numbers for themselves. It actually went on for quite awhile before anyone caught on.
"I played along that I would keep working even though I was now a millionaire but maybe would buy a new car. My husband was away at a conference so I thought it would be fun to buy him a new boat!
"They went crazy.
"'What are you thinking? You can't even comprehend how much this is, can you?'
"I asked them how late the lottery office was open because I did not get off work until 4:30 p.m. so I wasn't sure I could make it. I was having a great time with this!
"Once my co-workers caught on, we replayed the joke over and over for anyone that came in. (Made it a little easier for them to have been taken that they were in on it now). I was kissed by retirees and hugged by many others. I was never any good at joke pulling - my face is always a dead give away, so I was amazed that I could really pull it off without laughing.
"It was great fun!"
Secret was 'leaked'
"When my husband and I started dating we were both teachers at Franklin Junior High. Only a couple other staff knew about it and didn't tell anyone. In February 1976 we decided to get married and were looking for a clever way to announce it to the staff at Franklin, since we'd kept it a secret for so long. John came upon the idea to have it 'leaked' on April Fools' Day.
"Their first response was that it was a joke, but by the end of the day they realized it was for real.
"We were married later that summer and will be celebrating our 32nd anniversary this year." -Mary Backlund, Nisswa.
Watch your back
"I don't really know where to start with all the jokes my family has pulled on each other throughout the years, so I guess I'll start with my earliest - and one of the most fun - pranks that my mother pulled on me and my two brothers.
"She was always baking cakes or cupcakes as we were growing up. We thought nothing of it when it was April 1 and she handed us some cupcakes.
"Unbeknownst to us, she had placed a large cotton ball in the middle of them! We ate the cupcake which of course gave us 'cotton mouth,' and then she sprang the family mantra of 'April Fools'!'
"We then proceeded around the neighborhood, 'getting' our friends and parents of friends.
"Mom was really the queen of April Fools' in our house and her antics included: Sewing my dad's pant legs and fly shut, putting a female mannequin in my brother's bed (He screamed like a girl while Mom lie in her bed smiling), to putting tons of black pepper in chocolate frosting, placing waxed paper between graham crackers and frosting and the list really does go on.
"So, as an adult, I pulled a few on her from telling her my wedding was off to the next year being pregnant. Hook, line and sinker, I got back at her.
"But I think my most favorite one was the year that I called my dad and said I felt badly for all the pranks I'd pulled on her and would he please go to Hornbacher's in Fargo, N.D., and buy her a bouquet of flowers from me as a truce.
"Then on our family's unspoken favorite holiday, I called Dad and said, 'April Fools! I'm not paying for the flowers for Mom!' I don't think he was really too upset nor was she!
"My brother just tried to pull the ultimate joke on the family. He and his wife were expecting a baby, due on April 1. He was waiting to tell us until that day, calling all of us and saying that they just had a baby.
"Can you imagine how much fun that would've been for him to have 'gotten' us on the 1st?
"Baby Teddy had the joke on him as he arrived three months early, in healthy condition, I might add. I guess he didn't want to be the family's joke for years to come!
"Peace and grace and Happy April Fools' Day to you and watch your back! We do!" -Jill E. Mattson, Deerwood.
DeLYNN HOWARD may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5850.
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