"He's a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent life-style, Sidd's deciding about yoga...."
George Plimpton, 1985
I was a bit too young to fall for George Plimpton's spitball of an article. Not that I was some super-intuitive kid...I was- and still am- a bit of a rube. I was just too young to be reading lengthy magazine articles. Had I read it as an adult, I'd have bit.
It happens. Bobby Heenan once said, "It takes a good man to fool Jake The Snake...it just doesn't take him very long." You could switch Monponsett into that statement with no lessening of the overall veracity. I can be had.
My husband likes to walk by my office when I'm online and ask me to find the story he heard on the news driving home. Usually, it's true..."Robert Blake beat the rap," "The Yankees signed Randy Johnson," or something like that.
Occasionally, it's fraud..."The Ashley Olsen Twins just agreed to do Playboy" or "George Bush just threatened to bomb North Korea into the Stone Age." I'll look for it until he snickers. I fall for this again and again and again. I'd make a short-but-fine Washington General.
Back when I was teaching, I sprang this article on my students as a homework assignment. I dropped it on them as Current Events, and all I told them (as I handed it out at the end of the day, March 31st) was that the Mets had a new pitcher who looked almost historic. I took the liberty of altering the "1985" dateline. I'm almost sure Plimpton would appreciate it, and I'm sure he won't complain- he's ead-day.
The kids bought it hook, line and sinker. I had informed the other staff about the story, and we all watched them babble about it. "Thank God he's in the National League."...."I bet Sosa could bang one out on him." and so forth. I was happy to see that some students viewed the article with skepticism. "That HAS to be wrong." "They're just trying to sell magazines" or "Trick ball....big fat diamond in the baseball."
They were pretty upset when I clued them in. A few swore they knew itall along, and a few just swore, period.
Special Bonus: April Fool's Jokes To Play On Athletes
- Secretly replace Barry Bonds' steroid tongue cream with Icy/Hot
- Subtly attach a "Dead Kennedys" bumper sticker to Jose Canseco's wife-beater prior to his Senate hearing testimony.
- Have a maid with a sexy voice take Kobe Bryant's room service order....then send 6 Mississippi-style Hell's Angels up to his room with the food.
- Dig a big pit, cover it with palm leaves, situate yourself so that the pit is between you and Ron Artest....then throw a beer on him.
- Schedule a press conference where Al Davis proudly displays the new Raider jerseys...in pink and pastel blue.
- Find an old law about NCAA athletes having to maintain a certain GPA, and cancel the Final Four.
- Put every guy in the office in a Cavaliers uniform, send them to a Cleveland practice, and tell Lebron James that you traded for all white guys.
- Replace Sammy Sosa's bats with huge, cylindrical pieces of cork.
- Release a dozen starved pirahna into the locker room whirlpool just before Penny Hardaway finishes practicing.
- Dress up like Tony Hawk and show up at Tee Ball games, karate classes, and other sports that you look 25 years too old for.
Weekend Assignment #53: Recount a tale of a particularly successful April Fool's prank you perpetrated, had perpetrated on you, or witnessed personally. As a matter of humor, it's best if the pranks are not merely cruel (i.e., if it ends with someone in tears or in the hospital, that's probably stretching the limits of the phrase "successful April Fool's prank"), but aside from that, bring 'em on.
Extra Credit: Prank someone famous. Tell us how.