Best April Fools Ever

No joke, folks! Today’s very non-diet-, non- food-related post is brought to you by the book Why Your Last Diet Failed You and How This Book Won’t Help You on Your Next One.

For the dedicated readers of this blog, I think you know what to expect out of this book. If you’re new here, all I can say is, it’s not a diet book. If I had to sum it up in a single word, it’d be: pickle.

What’s “pickle” have to do with the book? Nothing, but you did force me to pick a single word.

Once I left home for college, I immediately joined a fraternity. I’m not quite sure what compelled me, but I’m glad I did. And you’ll be glad too, once you finish reading this story.

Although some of the rooms in the house were fit for sleeping, the vast majority of us slept in large dorm rooms. There were three main dorms, one per floor, and each one was stocked with six to eight bunk beds. The outer doors (leading to the fire escape) typically swung in the breeze and the windows were kept open year round. Yes, it got down to zero in there from time to time, but that’s what hats and electric blankets were for. I kinda miss it, to be truthful.

Anyway, the main door to each room was fitted with eye hooks and each occupant had a name tag. You hung your tag on the hook corresponding to the time you wanted to wake up: hooks at half hour increments between 6:30 am and 9:00 am. Wake-up duty was rotated amongst the pledges. It was not a bad system.

On an April First, twentysomething years ago, it was Dean’s turn to wake everyone up. He didn’t begin his shift at 6:30. No, Dean began around five in the morning. You see, Dean had a plan.

Dean got up and found the clock in the kitchen and set it ahead one hour. He then found the clock in the living room and set it ahead one hour too. Soon, all the clocks in the common areas were now one hour fast. But that wasn’t enough. He went into the dorms and set personal alarm clocks ahead. He went into rooms and set those clocks ahead too. He even went into people’s desks and set their watches ahead. He even managed to get to a few watches on some sleeping victims.

Then, at 5:30, he began wake-up duty.

“It’s 6:30,” he told the first few early risers. They got up, rubbed their eyes, and went about their business. A half hour later, “It’s 7:00! Rise and shine!” Those guys got up, stumbled out of the dorms, and got breakfast. Another half hour after that, “7:30, boys! Time to get up!”

I got up at eight to make it to my nine o’clock class. I went to my room and found my wristwatch in a drawer. It said 7:00 am. “Hmmm,” I thought to myself. “Must have stopped again.” I put it on and checked other clocks. They all said eight. It must be eight. I walked by Pete’s room. He was wondering why his favorite morning show was an hour behind schedule. I showered, dressed, and had breakfast. Something felt … weird … but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Around quarter to nine, I headed off to campus.

I hadn’t gone fifty yards when Tom was walking back towards the house. Finally convinced something was truly amiss, I said, “Okay, Tom. What time is it?” He just laughed. “You’re not crazy. It’s not even eight o’clock yet,” he said. “Dean got us. He got us all.”

Yes he did. Pulled the wool over fifty pairs of eyeballs that morning, he did. I was amazed, not so much at the thoroughness and sophistication of his prank, but how easy it was for everyone to fall for it. Even with blatant evidence to the contrary, whatever time we believed it was when we woke up: that was the “right” time.

I don’t know where you are today Dean, but I tip my hat to you again. I also hope someone woke you up an hour early this morning. You deserve it.

17 Responses to “Best April Fools Ever”

Zack said
April 1, 2009 at 6:49 am

That’s the prank? He changed the clocks by an hour? What a meanie!

Tammy said
April 1, 2009 at 7:42 am

That is a good one! I’ve been thinking of how to catch my kids today. Too bad I didn’t read this yesterday…

Anonymous said
April 1, 2009 at 8:04 am

gayest shit ive ever read…. waste of internets

Charlie said
April 1, 2009 at 8:35 am

Yet somehow still worth taking the time to leave an enlightening comment. Interesting.

Tom Rooney said
April 1, 2009 at 9:27 am

Always hiding behind anonymous. Must be a real April Fool.

Very nice story Charlie, and now something that will go into my arsenal for next year at home with wife and kids.

Anonymous said
April 1, 2009 at 10:04 am

I was too lazy to plan anything for this Fool’s, but I think I’ll be keeping this in mind for a year ahead…

Anonymous said
April 1, 2009 at 10:35 am

Dude, this is the best prank ever?? Lame as hell

Stephanie said
April 1, 2009 at 10:46 am

One bright April Fool’s day in Iowa 5 years back…my daughter was in third grade. I ran into her room, shook her awake and said, “Haley!!!! It SNOWED last night!! It’s a SNOW Day! NO SCHOOL TODAY!!”

She screamed for Joy! Lept out of bed. Flung her drapes back to see grass. And then ….. burst into tears.

I didn’t have the heart to play the same gag on my third grade son this year….

Charlie said
April 1, 2009 at 10:51 am

I guess what impressed me the most about it isn’t just about setting the clock ahead. It’s the fact that he got fifty some odd guys to all fall for it. The scope is what amazed me.

Anyway, sorry I ruined your day.

haaha said
April 1, 2009 at 10:53 am

GAY joke xDDD

Elemental said
April 1, 2009 at 11:21 am

I hope Dean somehow finds, reads, and remembers this story. Tricking one person with this stunt would have, indeed, been lame but 50 guys?!? Awesomeness ruled his day!

Zenon said
April 1, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Wow, quite a few lame commenters here. I enjoyed reading about it, and I thought it was a nice prank.

Biz said
April 1, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Oh my gosh Charlie, all these years I thought YOU did that prank!

Isn’t that weird??!!

Quix said
April 1, 2009 at 2:42 pm

That’s good…I’m impressed with the thoroughness.

One year when I was in college we had just moved into an apartment with a bat-shite-crazy landlord who tried to evict us on the second day. About 2 months later on April Fools, I grabbed a random piece of paper from my desk and ran into the bedroom waking my now-fiance up all flustered saying “OMG, she finally did it, she evicted us, we have 48 hours to move out.” He woke up freaking out, looked at the paper, and saw me laughing…I don’t think I’ve ever been completely forgiven for that one. We have an April Fools truce on each other. I’m boycotting this year because there is enough strange stuff going on out there without the holiday…

Mandi said
April 1, 2009 at 10:58 pm

That’s great – you rarely see that kind of dedication to pranks these days. And while it’s a little annoying to get up early, it wasn’t a MEAN prank, so kudos to Dean!

James said
April 1, 2009 at 11:09 pm

I did this once on the floor of the dorm hall I was living in back in the 80’s. Most of the guys were very trusting and never locked the door to their rooms so one night I snuck into all the rooms that weren’t locked and set the clocks an hour ahead. I sat out in the hallway pretending to be studying in the morning while watching the guys leave for class only to come back looking all angry. I never told any of them what I done, I just kept my entertainment to myself. That, and I don’t know how many of them would have kicked my *#$#% once they realized it was me. =)

Jennifer said
April 2, 2009 at 10:48 am

I totally remember that story!

And I remember how cold those rooms were. I think that was the year I was at school with you??