Thursday, 31 March 2011

Poisson d'avril

Early evening in the Waffledome, and it is total fucking chaos, as usual. Homework is finished, but Lashes has decided that we must form a production line to make him paper fish for tomorrow, April Fools Day. Poisson d'avril, see. They stick paper fish on each other, for some reason. Don't get the fish thing? Nor me. It's not being French, I think. Lashes is wildly excited by April Fools, mysteriously. "It's a special day tomorrow" he told me reverently, when he got up this morning. We are going to Disneyland for the weekend on Saturday (oh yes, hipflask and benzodiazepines at the ready) and this has had no discernible effect. April Fools though? Frenzy. So, I am colouring, minutely, carefully, like a nutjob, making a particular effort to get realistic fin effects around the tails of all 300 fish. This is where most of my sanity has gone, off down tiny, pointless, labour intensive and perversely enjoyable tangents like this. I am very much enjoying it, actually. Fingers has ignored his instructions to join the paper fish sweatshop, because he still has some shred of free will and a steely resolve to get past level 4 of Tiny Wings. I have failed to interest either of them in Frau Antje's amazing amazing bird webcams so the three of us are talking about April Fools jokes. We have previously viewed both the spaghetti harvest, and the flying penguins, and are wondering how to catch their father out.

E: Hmmm. How about we tell him we've spotted a tortoise in, say, the school yard? And that it has a red III on the shell (NDLR: the CFO's tortoises are numbered for easy recognition)?

L: He won't believe that. The tortoises are inside.

E: Ok. Well. How about we tell him we've spotted a tortoise and we think it's Julius? He always suspected he wasn't actually dead and the vet just kept him.

F (looking up from Tiny Wings): Why?

E: Um. Well, the vet seemed to like Julius. And we never saw his body. So we wondered if he had perhaps kept him.

F (sagely): I didn't THINK you could die from a une maladie du zizi.

E: Wellll. I think you probably can, darling. But Julius just got an infection.

F: Why?

E: Uh, I don't know. Because of having an operation? There is a risk of infection. Not that you normally get an infection when you have an operation, not when you're a human. But maybe when you're a tortoise it's more risky? (Bad science, right here, right now, in my kitchen).

L: How can you cut into a tortoise? It has a shell.

E: They just .. well. They cut off the bit that was sticking out.

L: The tail?

F: No, the zizi.

E (shuddering): Yes. The zizi. It did sort of look like a tail though.

F: How did he pee when they cut it off?

E: I really have no idea. Maybe tortoises don't pee with their zizis.

F: Maybe the vet DID keep him!

E: I doubt it. He seemed a very nice man, I'm sure he wouldn't fake a tortoise's death. So. How about I say that Papa has to come into school because the two of you have tried to set fire to the canteen?

F (suddenly animated): We could tell him I drew on the wall again! And Lashes helped!

E: Erm, let's not, shall we. It was bad enough the first time.

So right now, we're stuck. Lashes is desperate for some good April Fools tricks and all he has is 300 paper fish (Fingers doesn't care. He mainly wants some tricks to get to Level 5 of Tiny Wings, but I'm not encouraging him). I am trying to come up with something a bit more entertaining. My friend Violet and her sisters always pull the most elaborate, wonderfully executed ones on their father. I can only remember one which involved a faked letter from Bill Oddie (who he hates with the heat of a thousand suns) coming to film some rare wildlife in their back garden. What were your best ones? Remember any? Any thoughts gratefully received.


Ellie said...

This is not really workable, but the only April Fool's joke I ever enjoyed (probably because it was not played on me) is when the seniors at my high school replaced all of the Humanities Dept. office furniture with toilets and urinals. I have no idea where they found so many, but it was a treat for my 15 year old self to go to a writing critique with my teacher while he gamely sat on a toilet behind his desk.

mountainear said...

Do you remember The Guardian inventing the island of San Serif?

Hmm. Thought not. Those that like typographic jokes rolled in the aisles.

soleils said...

My sister once took a few pots of yogurt from the fridge, carefully peeled off the tops, emptied the pots out, filled them with sand, carefully stuck the tops back on each pot and placed them back in the fridge. It really worked (for her, the rest of us got really pissed off, but that is the whole point). Could work on the CFO if he likes yogurt.

Same sister (she is now a psychologist) faked a letter from my brother's school to my parents, with headed paper and everything, which announced that the poor boy had been expelled for stabbing a classmate with a compass. Again, it totally worked. My mum nearly had a heart attack and my brother nearly lost his sanity.

wv: apnobs (app knobs?)

Amelia said...

Every year, as children, we used to play the same joke on our dad. This involved replacing the grated parmesan (yes that horrible shaker stuff that smelt of puke) with ground almonds. Why this was so hilarious I don't remember, but it was. Also probably the most middle class (for the 90's) April fools ever.

My sister tell me that her friend (then a trainee nurse) used to be tempted by the anonymous ' I have an STD maybe you (my former sexual partner) should get yourself tested' cards. This is both amusing and not.

Having studied French (both the language and the people) from afar (badly) for many years this fish thing remains only one among their many charming (perplexing) cultural traits. But i also get why, in a 'pin the tail'/ stick somthing rude on their back way, this would be so appealing to small boys.

Amelia said...

p.s. My brother has for years filled any juice carton he finishes with water and returned them to the fridge. Never fails to surprise.

Mara Gaulzetti said...

Cling film over the loo was always a favourite...disgusting, but hilarious.

ali_jane said...

I'm now realising we should have waited to decorate my colleagues desk as a fish tank. (We did it last month for his birthday / when he was on holiday.) However, if making fins on 300 paper fish look realistic holds you up, I don't think you could take the terror of plastic wrap crumpling up on itself as you try and hang it from the ceiling to look like glass. (The streamers, dollar store plastic fish, and plants would be fine.)

Margaret said...

soleils: WOW.

Saran wrap on the toilet seat is classic. Does anyone know what short-sheeting is? Also classic, simple, awesome.

1. Put fitted sheet on bed.

2. Put flat sheet on as usual, but pull it all the way up to the top of the mattress so it's under the pillows.

3. Fold up bottom end of sheet until it's at the place where the top of the flat sheet normally is. (Extra points for starting with sheet upside down and reversed so that any "fancy" edge is in the correct position.)

4. Wait for tired victim to go to bed.

5. It's been a long week and I've had quite a bit of wine and not so much food, so this may need some re-explaining.

6. Oh, wait--YouTube! These girls are very thorough:

Kath said...

There are two boys on the UK Disneyland advert who, from blog pics, look (to me) kinda like Fingers and Lashes. I have been meaning to comment this for a while, but have always forgotten!

April fools, my best was on my year 10 media teacher. I say my best, it was Jayens idea executed by the entire class, when Ms G left, everyone grabbed their chairs, put them on the other side of the table, grabbed hers and put it on the other side of her desk, so she faced the board and we faced out of the window, and sat there quietly, "working" until she came back in. It was hysterical.

For my parents, we had to involve my gran. Running around her street, a "trip", my sister and a bag of frozen peas... The best fake sprained ankle ever. My gran was angered at the pea wastage, but Mum thought it was hilarious!

Nicky said...

At school, putting official-looking notices on all the classroom doors directing pupils to other classrooms on a random basis - including sending multiple classes to one location. Doesn't sound much but it caused absolute chaos, lasted an hour by the time things were returned to normal, and all the pupils loved us. The teachers, not so much ...

Laura and Ben said...

This morning, I managed to convince a colleague that they had opened a KFC in Brussels, just round the corner from his house. He nearly ran out of the office to check it out. Now I just feel a bit mean (and sad at the lack of actual KFC).

Anonymous said...

My favourite Swedish fake news item was when they said it would be obligatory to also buy flour if you bought large quantities of yeast and suger, to prove that it was for baking bread and not making moonshine. It was so close to the usual kind of social-democratic, patronising rule that lots of people actually believed it. And it said something of the society I grew up in.


Sewmouse said...

Most amusing one I ever participated with was putting an "Out of Order, Please use Ladies Room" sign on the Mens in our office of anal-retentive stuffed-shirt pompous management types.

Oh how we laughed.

Alison Cross said...

I looked out of the bathroom window this morning and said 'Oh my GOD - you'll never believe what has landed in the garden. It's bloody HUGE!'

wee boy shuffles to window with jammies at ankles to see what I'm looking at.

Moral: Never try your prank when someone is peeing.

Ali x

Pat (in Belgium) said...

I eagerly await an explanation for why it is April Fish in France (never could figure out that one!).

Best prank was pulled on me, a few years after we moved to Belgium. A close friend called to congratulate me on my husband's promotion and our impending move to Washington, D.C. which, of course, I had heard NOTHING about since he rarely remembered -- or conveniently forgot -- to tell me things like this. I unleashed such a stream of invective (about his origins and various body parts) that it actually scared my friend -- who cut me off with a shaky "April Fool's". If I'd had the presence of mind I would have trumped her with, "Nooo, April Fool's on YOU!" But I had really believed it and gone into panic/ rage mode.
She has never again pranked me like that and we remain very, very close.

Anonymous said...

Go here:

But you'll have to go today, I don't think this will be around tommorrow, sadly...

Anonymous said...

This morning we improvised an April's fool on my Father's nurse calling out to her that he had already had his insulin injected when she arrived. His helper is training to be a nurse, and we thought it would be good practice for him...

The beautiful thing was, though, she believed us. She immediately said that she knew I could do it. Turned out to be a doubly tale of trust, leaving me with a soft heart (and heaps of guilt)

I had the most precious gift yesterday: A small jar of four copepods. They have been rescued from a laboratory, intended for a life as test copepods! Apparently copepods are to be the next great export goods after wind mills in this country (Yes, there has always been something rotten in Dk, oh do we know:-) - and no, I read that yesterday) When fully grown they will still be ten times smaller than the world's smallest owl...

Louise xx

Anonymous said...

Look here for the most elaborately wonderful practical joke that our famous film director, Peter Jackson played on the whole of New Zealand!

I too was sucked into the story, but was amazed by the skills & dedication shown to make it happen!
Heather (NZ)

Xtreme English said...

splendid fish!! especially the tails. you are an extraordinary mother!!

Laurel said...

I haven't got any good April Fool's stories, I guess we are too humorless, but I loved the ones in your comments.

Mostly I just wanted to gently suggest that maybe the tortoise didn't die from an infection, but out of shame and wounded dignity. I mean... they cut off his zizi??!!

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