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Worst April Fools Day pranks

Ah! Here we are again! Another April Fools Day, the day set aside for centuries for fun-loving pranks and jolly hoaxes. However, not all April Fools Day jokes go as planned. In fact, some of them have gone memorably and terribly wrong. For instance, according to the National Museum of Hoaxes -which I promise you does exist- it was April Fool’s Day 2001 in Columbus, Ohio when the manager of a clothing store got a call from an employee telling him four armed men were robbing the store. As expected, he called the police who dispatched four cruisers to the store only to discover the call was an April Fools Day hoax. Guess who wasn’t laughing? Everyone that’s who! I guess it’s possible the employee who made the prank call shared a good laugh with everyone down at the unemployment office because, yes, he got fired. Something else that turns out not to be funny are fake disaster warnings. Radio announcers at Oregon based KSJJ Radio found that out on April 1st 1999, when they told listeners the Ochoco Dam had burst, threatening downstream areas with massive flooding. What made the warning believable is that thousands of homes in that same area had been damaged when the Ochoco Creek flooded. So, terrified homeowners fled the area only to hear a bit later that the radio announcement was a joke. Not hard to imagine the homeowners were not amused. Finally, it is a rare gift that allows a person to see the humor in the grimmest situations. One such person is Abbas Khalaf  Kunfuth, Iraq’s former ambassador to Russia. On April 1st 2003, U. S. troops were storming across Iraq and that country’s government was just days away from complete collapse. At a Moscow press conference Ambassador Kunfuth was expected to announce Iraq was surrendering. Instead, he read aloud from what he described as a news release from Reuters News Agency. He told stunned reporters the United States had accidentally fired a nuclear missile at British forces, killing an unknown number. Then the ambassador grinned and shouted “April Fool’s” Poorly timed as it was, at least one member of Saddam Hussein’s government- not really known for their sense-of-humor- went out on a lighthearted note. Remember, any prank that will inevitably lead to legal action, hospitalization, law enforcement involvement or universal hatred on Facebook- probably is not a good idea. Have a happy April Fools Day, but celebrate responsibly.       

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