Foolish Pranks to Try at the Office

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Happy April Fool’s Day, friends. I’m off to Japan today to visit my folks, and thus hereby declare a two-week hiatus for WORK IN PROGRESS. (I know, I know…a real blogger wouldn’t take a vacation…a real blogger would send thoughts and observations and snapshots from her trip. Here, I’ll sum it up for you real quick. Day 1: 24-hour airplane ride with two-year-old. Days 2 to 5: Jet lag. Days 2 to 14: clean windows, weatherproof deck, wash dishes, roast 11 lb. smuggled ham, take mother to doctor, wash dishes, physically assault 400-year-old father for telling same retarded jokes. Day 15: 24-hour airplane ride with two-year-old.)

I’m going with my sister, Emy, a mother of four and pediatric oncology nurse who is also the prime minister of pranks. Here’s one she pulled during my brother George’s wedding.

Dad was driving some wedding guests back to their hotel when suddenly he was surrounded by cops. Japanese police don’t carry guns, so about a dozen of them swarmed the car, holding out their night sticks and screaming at Dad to get out. They pointed at the trunk of the car, from which protruded a human leg.

You know those fake legs you can buy at gag shops? Emy had smuggled one in her suitcase and affixed it to the car trunk. As Dad made his way through the city, the local police had received a surge of phone calls from other drivers swearing they’d seen a man driving by with a dead guy in the back of his car.

My colleague Lev writes in a recent book review that, as children, he and his siblings all read a book about “art, mathematics, music, philosophy, symbolic logic, computers, genetics, paradoxes, palindromes and Zen koans.” He called it their “nerd bible.” My family didn’t read much, but if we did, it’d be more of an idiot bible.

Anyway, sometimes I find myself wishing I worked with more people who live by the idiot bible, people who pull pranks on the first day of April just because we have nothing better to do. Here’s a list from the funny folks at, who polled their members to find the silliest stunts pulled at the office on April Fool’s Day:

1. Sent a letter signed by the president of the company that informed employees they would have to take potty breaks in alphabetical order.

2. Decreased the size of boss’s lab coat. Joke continued after April 1 with boss perplexed by his coats getting tighter each week while he was dieting so diligently.

3. Made for a very foggy day with dry ice in the urinal.

4. Changed all of boss’s reading glasses to clear glass.

5. Sent a note to co-worker’s pager that said to contact “George.” The number was to the White House.

6. Employee went to the restroom and when he came out, he ran into a wall of tape draped across the doorway, courtesy of his team.

7. Put “random burping” program on boss’s computer that would loudly burp every few seconds. It went on for days.

8. Brought in jelly doughnuts filled with ketchup.

9. Had someone with a “questionable” profession call the office and ask for directions.

10. CEO placed a very large and official-looking “For Sale” sign in front of the building.