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Where tall tales, real and imagined, absurd and compelling, are served with a smile
Ahhh, the prank. In advance of April Fool’s Day, it would appear some determined hoax-sters have thrown down the gauntlet with a harmless practical joke of the roadside variety. The mock warning was displayed along the road leading from Boulder down to Denver. Predictably, nobody bought it (at least I hope so). But the guffaws were many. In total, zero actual zombies were reported though I am quite certain that I spotted a few doing the painfully slow, zero gravity of the moon, ten minute teen-strut through a ten foot crosswalk over by CU. I had to read lips but I am pretty sure they were muttering, “Brains,” over and over again as they slow-walked themselves backwards in time.
While surely the art of pranking has been under development in one way, shape, or form since the dawn of man, there is a regrettably incomplete history of the prank. Some of the more celebrated in modern times include the 1938 H.G. Wells War of the Worlds hoax (The Martians are coming!) and a 1957 prank where a newscaster ran a three minute segment knwon as The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. From The Museum of Hoaxes:
On April 1, 1957 the British news show Panorama broadcast a three-minute segment about a bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland. The success of the crop was attributed both to an unusually mild winter and to the “virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil.” The audience heard Richard Dimbleby, the show’s highly respected anchor, discussing the details of the spaghetti crop as they watched video footage of a Swiss family pulling pasta off spaghetti trees and placing it into baskets. The segment concluded with the assurance that, “For those who love this dish, there’s nothing like real, home-grown spaghetti.”
The hoax was so effective that hundreds of viewers called into the BBC for instructions on growing their own spaghetti trees. The BBC response: “Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.” Cheeky Brits.
Living in fairly disconcerting times, maybe what the world needs is more pranks and hoaxes (this is probably the last thing the world needs). But remember, when conceiving a prank, be sure that it is “unmistakably exciting, original, and reverberating, as well as creative, metaphoric, poetic and artistic.” This according to artoftheprank.com. Finally, if you find yourself the victim of an effective prank, don’t get mad, get even.