Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

April 2004

April Fools!

Several people have suggested each year around this time that I write an "April Fool's" column.

I haven't (I don't think), probably because I'm not a big fan of so-called practical jokes.

When I was about 8, one of the kids in the neighborhood had this great little echo device.

"Just yell into it and push the button," he instructed.

I yelled into it and pushed the button and this thumbtack pierced my sweet little digit to the bone. I yelled again and everyone laughed. Except me. I didn't get it.

So I guess I'm more likely to be the fool than the fooler.

Nevertheless, I thought I would relate a practical joke played on someone else and see if that suffices as my tribute to April 1. By the way, most great practical jokes I've heard described are really just urban legends. You know, like the one where the guy with the new VW brags to all his coworkers about his mileage so they begin to add gas to his tank until he believes he's getting 80 miles to the gallon (how many kilometers to the liter would that be?). Then, they begin to siphon gas out of his car and delight as he despairs that his fabulous little bug gets only SUV-like mileage. Hah-hah.

I've heard that story too many times to believe it ever really happened to anyone except someone's best friend's cousin or whoever believes the story in the first place.

This practical joke is also about a car, except I know it's real because the pranksters videotaped the finale.

Here's the deal. A fellow (described as "not the sharpest knife in the drawer") always joined the gang for breakfast before work. Each day he would walk in, slam his keys on the counter and begin working the crowd. One day one of his buddies grabbed the keys, ran next door to his hardware store and duped the car key.

Out at the gang's golf club, they used their key to have a little fun with their chump. They might move the car to a different space or turn up the volume on the radio or turn it around or change the seat position or set the windshield wipers to high. The mark never caught on so they set up the grand coup.

After their fool teed off in the club championship, they drove his car to a car wash then drove it up to the tee area of a par three. After removing the license plate they put a big sign on it advertising it as the prize for the nearest shot to the hole. When the unsuspecting owner showed up to play the hole, they were right there with a video camera.

He glanced at the sign, then the car, then the sign, then the car again. He started to take his position on the tee then stopped, looked back, shook his head, then looked at the flag on the green, then back at the car, then wrinkled his nose, then walked over to the car and looked inside. Then he walked around the car. Only then did it dawn on him that someone was playing him for a fool. Then, he hit the car with his golf club.

What else could he do?