So, you think that’s funny, do you?

A look back at April Fools’ jokes – good, bad and beyond.

Illustration by Kate Feiffer

We’re certainly not above trying to pull off the odd April Fools joke around here. Last year, we reported on the invasion of the disco crabs — southern crustaceans that blew up to our shores in the aftermath of super-storm Sandy.

Before that, we were the first to break the news that the Monster Shark Tournament was going to be replaced by a Monster Scup Tournament. Who knew that these pint-sized predators were actually scaring off the monster sharks?

We were also the first to bring you the news of the groundbreaking archeological discovery in Tisbury: a longboat traceable back to the Vikings. The tip-off was the Viking helmet on the bow bearing the inscription, “Olaf DeBettencourt.”

Several years ago, we reported that the Steamship Authority would henceforth be measuring dogs stem to stern before fitting them on the ferries.

Charlie Nadler wrote a piece a few years ago explaining how the piping plover conservation efforts had been so successful that Chappy was now overrun with plovers and their digging was causing major beach erosion problems. The Audubon Society reportedly had, at least, one person call them saying they heard the plovers in Edgartown were out of control and overrunning the place. That part is true. And then there was the recipe for piping plover that we ran – and wish we hadn’t. What were we thinking!?

But enough about us. We reached out and wanted to know if any other Islanders had any memorable April Fools pranks they’d like to share. We’ve included a bunch of them below. Asking Vineyarders about April Fools jokes seemed to unleash in them reports of pranks and gags, in general, they had committed or fallen for, all year round. So in the spirit of April Fools’ Day, we’re sharing some of those with you as well.

The magic daffodils

By John Alley

Years ago, Joe Howes lived in the house in front of the West Tisbury lIbrary. Back then there-there were three huge elm trees out front and every year for April Fools Joe would plant a dozen plastic daffodils around each tree. The next day he’d be at Alleys saying, “Well, it looks like spring’s coming early this year!” and he’d carry on about his daffodils to anyone within earshot. When Joe passed away a while back, he donated his house, and it became the Howes House senior center. I was caretaking the house and one day I was in the basement, and I found a brown paper bag with all of Joe’s plastic daffodils. So from that point on I would go out at night on March 31 and plant Joe’s daffodils. People could never figure out where they were coming from, and I didn’t tell them. And I did it every year for a good 10 or 12 years.

Like father like son, only better

By Alex Palmer

My wife and I have a son who was born in 1970. One of his first and best decisions was to take after his mother. He has her looks and her disposition. He also has her low-key but adroit sense of humor. As for his father’s penchant for over-the-top slapstick gags, our son — at age 4 — observed at a family holiday gathering that “If dad wasn’t quite so funny, he’d be funny enough,” thereby capturing, in a nutshell, a sentiment held by many at the table.

And so it was that on April Fool’s Day of his ninth year, our son got up early and snuck down to the kitchen, where he taped the sink spray hose down and aimed it in a certain direction.

My wife, first into the kitchen, turned on the water and drenched herself … five minutes later, I did the same thing. Meanwhile, our son sat, deadpan, eating cereal and glancing at a sports page.

It’s the quiet ones you have to look out for.

The old disappearing c-note trick

By Valerie Becker

Long ago in my youth, I would join my friends at an outdoor cafe and “troll for suckers.”

We’d attach a $100 bill to a monofilament line, cast it onto the sidewalk and yank it in when “the April Fool mark” attempted to pick it up. It was so much fun, and to this day it continues; I just wish I could join them.

No one appreciates a clean joke

By Tom Dobbins

As I recall, someone at the club, many years ago, coated all the bars of soap in the men’s showers with nail polish, so they obviously wouldn’t lather. Nobody noticed.

The bathroom with a view


For a while, we had this running gag going. We would climb up on to people’s roofs, and we’d bolt down a toilet. We had a lot of time on our hands in those days.

April No Fooling

By Holly Nadler

All three Nadlers — Marty, Charlie, and I — call each other on the 1st and try to put one over. But they’re so tough and cynical and prepared for my calls on April 1 that when they pick up the phone to say “Hello,” they’re already sneering. So I decided to call it quits. Maybe.

Here was a recent exchange between me and Marty on the phone:

Me: I’ve decided to give up our April Fool’s tradition because I can never succeed in putting one over on you.

Marty: I think that’s a wise choice.

Me: So if I happen to phone on April first, you’ll know that everything I say is true.

Marty: Okay.

Me: Do you believe me?

Marty: Of course not.

Ahh, the seventies

By Anonymous

I seem to remember one April Fool’s day … I think it was April Fools’ …  that someone … maybe it was me … put Saran Wrap over the toilet at the Black Dog …  I think it was the Black Dog.

The Barkin’ Box

By Spike Currier

When I was in high school, my best friend had a particularly ill-tempered Welsh Corgi named Eddie. Eddie was sweet as a puppy, but as he got older, he became increasingly pestilent.

One day in study hall, as I sat in the library flipping through an MV Times and rubbing a scratch on my hand from when Eddie had nipped me the day before, I had an idea. While there wasn’t much I could do about Eddie’s attitude, I knew the next best thing.

I turned to the Bargain Box in the paper, found the phone number and called in to place an ad: “Free Corgi to a good home. Responds to Eddie.” At the end, I included my friend’s phone number. Maybe he’ll just snap and give him away, I thought. Then I waited.

Nearly two weeks passed before I heard anything, then one day on the way home from school, my friend threw his phone into the cup holder of his car in frustration, grumbling unintelligibly. I asked him what the matter was.

He explained that he’d been getting voicemails every day, mostly from older folks, asking when they could come pick up his dog. He said it was confusing and annoying, but mostly sad; many of them went on about how they used to have Corgis and how lonely they have been since they passed.

I started to feel a little bad. But not that bad. This had worked out perfectly.

“You should just give him to the next caller, you know, be done with it,” I suggested. At this point, my poker face fell apart.

The Corgi was out of the bag, but the calls continued. The bargain box ad cycle lasted two weeks.

Planning a hatch

By Elliott Tholen

It was back one year when the caterpillars were really bad, and there were moths everywhere. Andrew Valenti and I were in study hall at the High School, when we had the big idea. We went out into the courtyard with a ton of dixie cups and collected about a million caterpillars and then hid them all over the school. By the end of the day, they all began to hatch, and there were moths everywhere. People were freaking out… all the teachers kept saying – how’d they get in, how’d they get in?

Bucket on!!!

By John Anderson

David Schwab, Jimmy LeRoux, Bret Benway and I were on a charter fishing boat in Bermuda. It was Schwab’s turn in the fighting chair and as he sat there waiting for a hit he nodded off to sleep. Bret quietly reeled in David’s line, took off the tackle and replaced it with a 5-gallon bucket, then let the line back out. We woke up David and yelled, “Fish on!” Because the boat was slowly going forward, it felt and looked just like he’d hooked a monster. As it got closer, Bret would stand in front of David so he couldn’t see the bucket. He fought that bucket for a good half an hour, maybe more. He was exhausted.


By Celeste Glavin

The details are a little blurry; it was quite a while ago. However, I believe it all started when my car was moved from the front parking lot at the high school to the back lot.

I didn’t really notice it until after school. I didn’t know who did it but it was mysterious, and it cracked me up.  Once I found out who it was (I believe his giggles gave it away) it started this game of back-and-forth. Driving along, if we saw his car parked at, let’s say Island Entertainment, we’d pull over and quickly move it to another lot. We’d also leave a cryptic note or some sort of clue. I remember coming out of Cronig’s to find my car across the street at Shirley’s. One of my mix CDs had been replaced with one of his. It used to break me up. I suppose we could have just taken the keys out of the ignition to avoid it from happening, but where’s the fun in that?

Books for dogs

By Geoff Currier

Our old dog Scully was a big black lab, and he used to hang out at our next-door neighbor’s house, the Mone’s, and play with their dog Chile. One day Gayle Mone was having a book club at her house; they were discussing John Adams and David McCullough was there as a guest. Knowing that Scully was bound to head up there, we put a big note around his neck that said, “Dear Mr. McCullough, do you ever write books about dogs?” And then we dropped him off in front of their house figuring he’d walk up for his evening visit. Of course, that was the one day he decided just to come back home. And we never did learn if Mr. McCullough ever wrote books about dogs.