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The Column

My Hair is the Color of Tomato Soup
4/4/04

At first I wasn't sure which is more important – that it was April Fool's Day this week, or that today is 04/04/04. But I realized April Fool's Day is more important because it is way more fun to be horribly mean to someone and get away with it than it is to type a cool date.

I have always loved pranks. Not hurtful pranks - the kind of pranks where the prankee says, "you know what? That was good." April Fool's Day is my Christmas. Since I'm Jewish, the actual Christmas is just my day after December 24th. So it's nice I have something else to celebrate.

I didn't get a chance to prank anyone this April Fool's Day because I was stuck in the Cleveland airport for most of it. ("Your plane is broken and you're delayed many hours! April Fools! Except the part about the plane being broken and the delay! That's really happening!")

Instead, I will recount the best pranks I've ever pulled off, April Fools or otherwise. I'm going to be telling these to my grandkids eventually, I may as well tell you now.

While my friends were busy unscrewing the tops of salt shakers and saran wrapping the toilet bowl, a seven-year-old Steve went for more personal gags. My sister Sharon was obsessed with a ballet tape she had. I took it, dubbed it, and used my Star Studio to karaoke my voice over the original.

There was a hot summer night that we only had one working air conditioner, so three of us huddled in Sharon's room. I shared the floor with my other sister, who somehow took up most of it, repeatedly kicking me in her sleep. She woke up that morning and got dressed in my empty room while I finally slept. Of course, she left her dirty clothes strewn all over the floor and knocked over a pile of newly sorted baseball cards. Awakening to this with only two hours of solid sleep, I calmly collected her garments and left a trail of them towards the front door of our house, which I had to open in order to hang her bra from a tree in our front lawn.

Then came summer camp. I already wrote about the time I dressed a mannequin like me and threw it off a roof. That same summer, we took every tray table from the dining hall and packed our director's office so tight he couldn't get in the door. And after a girl a year older told my friend that she didn't want to hang out with him because he was such a kid, we convinced her that he was older than all of us, but suffered from a rare form of dwarfism that made him look younger and came with a learning disability so that he'd be back a few years in school. Mean? Yes. An appropriate punishment? Of course.

The two funniest parts of that story are the name of the disease and who the friend is. We called it Polyponesia – if you used to watch "Just the Ten of Us" you might get that reference, because that's the name of the fake disease that Doozler had. And the friend was comedian Josh Jacobs, who I'm now on tour with. That summer in 1995 is how we met – I guess it's no surprise that we both now make fun of people for a living.

College was the pinnacle of my pranking, especially after I wrote an anonymous e-mail program (see extra credit, comp sci). I forged one from my dean to a friend the day grades came in that said "You fail. That's right, fail faily faily fail fail." I posted a girl on Hot or Not and emailed her sorority about it - from her own email address. And when one friend sent a disgustingly tasteless note to the published email of Daniel Pearl's kidnappers, I used the program to send a reply.

But my all-time favorite will always be the Thirsty Prank. A week before April Fool's, a few friends and I printed up 300 pictures of one of our fraternity brothers with random words on the bottom of them. They read, "Thirsty?", "Gondola?", and "Cleveland?" Then we plastered campus every day that week, concentrating especially on areas we knew he'd be. You've never seen someone freak out until they find 300 posters of themselves that they never hung.

Being stuck in the Cleveland airport this Thursday wasn't as bad you'd think because every time I hear the word Cleveland I remember that prank. Especially if it happens to be Christmas in April.

Now excuse me while I go set all the clocks in my mom's apartment to 4:04.

Archives
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*Putting the "Fan" in "Fanatic"
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*Jewzapalooza
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*To My Future Children
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*DotCom Dating Dish
*Paging Paige Page
*Watch While You Eat
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*Come Home, Rachel I. K'Benjamin
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*Subway Going Under
*Driving Forces
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*The Mirth of America
*Also Known As
*Smooth Criminal
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*Thinking Man: Can't We All
*You Might Be a Redneck
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*100,000 Friends
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*I Love You Guys
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*Birth of a Hate Mail Archive
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*Breaking the Chain Mail
*Happy Valmochrismaweenygiving
*Mr. Clean's Illegitimate Brother
*The Quest For 10,000 Friends
*Forgetting Paris
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