Fourteen years ago today, I attended my first San Francisco Giants game at Candlestick Park. They had been my favorite team since birth, but it wasn't until my family moved to California that I got a chance to see them play at home. When I sprung out of bed that morning, my dad was already waiting for me with some bad news: My favorite player (Barry Bonds) had fallen down the stairs of his condo and broken his arm. He would be out for the opener as well as most of the season. I was heartbroken for a moment, even though no such thing ever happened. You see, I remember that the game was on the First of April because I was the victim of a brilliantly executed April Fool's prank.
These pranks happen on the same day every year, but we all still manage to fall for one of two throughout the day. I like the holiday because it's a day when we spend a lot of time and effort on eachother without asking for anything in return. There's a unsuspected sharing core to what seems to some (including one young Barry Bonds fan) a particularly cruel celebration. Done right, pranks are a celebration of our ability to construct community, even if just to say "Gotcha!" The web has upped the April Fools ante, and some of the biggest sites are serial jokers. Here are some of my favorite pranks from around the web (spoiler alert). If I missed a good one, or you've got a good story from today or years past, add it in the comments section.
- Google gets in the prank-game every year, and this one is no exception. Among a handful of pranks (try Googling your favorite font), check out this video explaining "Gmail Motion"
- At Hulu, we seem to have travled back to the early days of the web – good news for X-Files fans.
The tech-news site TechCrunch is enjoying the holiday with headlines like "In Baffling Move, The Huffington Post Erects Paywall Solely For New York Times Employees."
LivingSocial has an ad for Spa-Lami, the first meat-themed spa.
But the day's winner, in my mind, is the site ThinkGeek, where the fake products include an Apple store Playmobil set.