I haven't pulled an April Fools Day prank in years. I was afraid I was getting rusty. It turns out that as long as you remember the basics, it's like riding a bicycle...
1) You can either go for a surprise, or a lie.
The surprise is obvious. A fake roach in the sink, a pop up monster in the toilet, you with a mask jumping out of the dark yelling "April Fools Day!" Meh. Those are fun, but I think I stopped with those when I was in school.
The lie is more fun for me these days. It's taking a set of details about a person, and weaving them into an elaborate hoax that the person completely believes...before you come out with the standard "April Fools Day" line. Sometimes you can pull these off on your own, and sometimes you need a cast of characters.
2) With the lie, it has to be believable.
I find that boys are usually worse at this than women. (Surprise, right?) Boys want the immediate reaction when they realize at the last minute that "Hold up! It's April Fools Day. I've gotta do something!" Women are more methodical and can lay a believable foundation to achieve the final reaction. For a really good April Fools joke, you either have to play on circumstances in the past that work with your scenario, or start laying the groundwork really early. Don't get me wrong, I've met some great male pranksters...but on April Fools Day? Has a woman ever forgotten what date it is?
3) Joking about death is never funny.
Enough said, right? Calling me in tears because you just ran over my dog, having me ready to rush over there and freak out, then saying "April Fools Day" isn't going to be funny.
4) Joke about something with a "freak out" factor of 5 or below.
"I'm pregnant" would be a freak out factor of 10 for a guy you've only been seeing a few months. Or just cruel to a guy who really wants to be a dad. But to a guy you've been dating a while when you're not ready for children? It could be fun if played right.
If played right, the April Fools Joke has no lasting repercussions, leaves the subject of the joke chagrined that they were fooled, and (best of all) can't be repaid for at least a year. (Who's silly enough to fall for an April Fools Day joke on the same day you just played one??)
So, this year, with those guidelines in mind, I set out to play a joke on the boyfriend. It was sheer genius, if I do say so myself. To be fair, a lot of things worked in my favor to have this be a successful prank. Let me explain...
Fact #1 - I handle the household finances. I make sure all bills are paid each month, and then have the boyfriend write me a check for half the utilities. This includes paying the boyfriend's cell phone bill and car payment. I'm better at this sort of organization, and it's sort of soothing for me to balance everything each month...so the task just became mine when we moved in together. (I know. I'm weird.)
Fact #2 - Our mailbox is in a really inconvenient location. It's sort of close to the garage, but not really. Usually the person who gets to park in the garage that month is in charge of checking the mail. However, since the boyfriend "lost" his mail key, this too has become my responsibility.
Fact #3 - We just got new phone lines installed at my office. With caller ID. These are Vonage phone lines, and mainly used for long distance. Since the boyfriend's cell phone is local, I've never called him from those numbers.
Given these facts, plus the fact that I hadn't even mentioned the upcoming date, I figured I could probably pull off a fabulous prank.
So I put together this letter:
I pulled information from the Chase website to make it believable, and once I had it written, had my boss sign it. Then I called the boyfriend, and had a great conversation where I explained that I hadn't been checking the mail regularly due to classes (I keep forgetting) and about the letter that I had found. Much to my satisfaction, he freaked out and reacted as I had predicted, saying that he would handle it this evening. I then dropped the bombshell about the repossession today if payment is not received. (Note: I put that in there specifically because I knew he would put off dealing with the situation. I'm a genius :-)
While he freaked out some more, (Repossession?! I'm at work! How would I get home? Do I need to hide my car?! We've been paying the bill!!!) I offered to fax the letter to his office so that he could see it and deal with it immediately. Maybe there was still time to avoid losing his car... He agreed, and asked that I write the last three payment dates on there for him to reference when he called.
So I sent the fax and waited. Not two minutes later, my cell phone rang. I literally could not keep a straight face at this point, so I let the call go to voicemail. Another minute passes, and the office line rings. At this point, I was about to pee my pants, I was so excited.
My boss answered the phone (with the most ridiculous fake accent ever) and put the boyfriend on speakerphone. The boyfriend's tense voice filled the room with his anger barely in check. A conversation filled with "I've been making online payments" and "I'll look into this, but it might be too late to stop the repossession order that's been issued" ensued. Finally my boss said,
"Mr. Boyfriend, can you please tell me today's date?" (Obviously, his real name was used.)
There was a brief silence while the boyfriend digested this and slowly responded, "April 1st."
I'm sure that if he hadn't realized what was going on in that moment, the cackles of laughter that filled his ears clued him in.
He was definitely amused and definitely bummed that he fell for it. About thirty minutes later I get a text message that read,
"I don't know when and I don't know how, but YOU ARE A DEAD WOMAN WALKING."
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to decline the third call from "No Name" that I've gotten on my cell phone since. Apparently the boyfriend doesn't know the part about how you have to wait a year for retaliation...