The best – and by “best” I mean “most convincing” – prank I ever pulled on April Fool’s Day was convincing my girlfriend (long since an ex-girlfriend) that someone had rear-ended her car while I was driving it. And by “most convincing” I mean that she was convinced the story was true – regardless of how ham-fisted my execution of the prank happened to be. I’m no good at bullshitting people – I always end up cracking and only the most gullible will fall prey to my machinations. I’m certain that Sadia knew it was April Fool’s Day – we had talked about it that very morning. And I was probably giggling when I told her the “news” over the phone. But unfortunately for her (and for me, as it turned out), she believed me. She ended up falling so hard for it that she started crying. My frantic reassurances that everything was okay eventually mollified her, but the damage had been done. It certainly wasn’t the reason we broke up (my leaving the country was probably the driving force there) but it certainly didn’t help a relationship that was already in pretty tough shape.

The year before, when I was still in school in Johannesburg, I thought I had pulled a good one.  We were headed on a field trip for my environmental engineering class to see a mine dump, and when we headed outside to wait for the buses I convinced my professor that someone from the administration had passed on a message that the buses had been canceled.  He was a good sport about it when I fessed up, but thanks to an unfortunate coincidence, the buses ended up being over an hour late.  Which meant that every minute that went by I got more and more worried that the professor would take it out on me.  And even though I could feel him directing some his frustration at me that day, I did fine on my final project – and he was even nice enough to dig it out of his archives a few years later when I needed it for a job application.

I haven’t attempted much of anything since those two pranks backfired.  But I did throw a little something into this post – hats off to you if you can spot it.  With regards to the banner picture – it’s adapted from the cover of John Kennedy O’Toole’s classic “A Confederacy of Dunces.” O’Toole committed suicide on March 26, 1969 – forty-two years ago – so we’ll be dedicating this mixtape in his honor and hope that by this point he’s managed to figure out the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.

Enjoy the mixtape. And please feel free to share your own best prank stories in the comments!

Hook, Line and Sinker:

The Ultimate April Fool’s Day Mixtape

The component parts:

It begins…

“I Started a Joke” – Faith No More

Whose idea was it?

“Original Prankster” – The Offspring
“The Joker” – Steve Miller Band
“Liar” – Rollins Band
“Foolin'” – Def Leppard
“The Trickster” – Radiohead
“The Jester” – Sum 41

Who fell for it?

“I’m a Believer” – The Monkees
“Gullible’s Travels” – Soul Asylum
“April Fools” – Rufus Wainwright
“Sucker” – John Mayer
“The Fool on the Hill” – The Beatles
“Chump” – Green Day
“What a Fool Believes” – The Doobie Brothers

How did they react?

“Cracking Up” – Nick Lowe
“Fall Down Laughing” – Lost Causes
“That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore” – The Smiths
“Everybody Plays the Fool” – The Main Ingredient
“April’s Fool” – The Merrymakers
“Shame on You” – Indigo Girls
“Kissing a Fool” – George Michael
“Won’t Get Fooled Again” – The Who

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