April Fools

…and so begins the onslaught of April Fools’ Day pranks and jokes, most of which won’t be funny, amusing, or even jokes. And the pranks, well, ugh. Good pranks are so uncommon. Back in the day when I was an Assistant Scoutmaster I happened upon a group of Scouts planning midnight raids on other campsites at summer camp. The ideas they had! Tripwires, dumping the other Troop’s 55 gallon water drum (for fire suppression) over, burying fireworks in their fire pit. Terrible.

It’s a real challenge to come up with a funny but harmless prank. I was lucky that as a Scout my Troop had a good prank culture, especially when we were camping, and the pranks were mostly safe and clever. I say “mostly” only because there always was a little R&D. Twist tie tent zippers together. Palms full of shaving cream and tickling their nose. Hands in warm water. Run underwear up another camp’s flag pole (not even theirs, we’d just use some of our own, or better yet someone’s sister’s). Switch their salt and pepper shakers, or rig them so they look normal but distribute the wrong thing. The summer camp’s canvas wall tents had their own, long list of opportunities. They had no floor so we could carefully take someone’s tent down around them, roll it up, and leave it next to them. Once, we borrowed the infinitely patient camp burro, figured out that he was six inches shorter than the tents, and then figured out how to coax him in. Opening your tent flap after Canoeing merit badge and finding Mojo standing there… wow.

The three tenets of good pranks: safe, harmless, and funny for all.

That, and not messing with the Scoutmasters. No no no.