As many of you know, April Fool’s Day also coincides with my birthday. I’m sure many of you who weren’t previously “in the know” are now smacking your heads and thinking “that explains so much.”
That’s right, every time Mr. T utters “I pity the fool” he’s talking about me.
The life of a fool is relatively simple. People don’t expect much out of us, so we traipse through this world unawares of the dangers that await us at every turn: a.k.a. life.
Generally I avoid overt April Fool’s pranks since everyone expects them from me. It’s a lot funnier to have people wait in suspense for a punchline that never comes than to cave into expectations and actually do something stupid that people can say “I expected that from you” for.Â Some of my best pranks come in the “off season,” well away from my accepted day of glory.
In fact, the last really good April Fool’s prank I pulled was way back when I was a kid and taped down the sprayer handle on the kitchen sink; soaking my mother when she came in to wash something off.
That is, until this year.
The most important thing to remember when pulling off an epic prank is that everyone expects it on April first. The key is to lay down the groundwork several days, if not a week, in advance. On top of that, an epic prank is subtle in its nature rather than right up in your face. If executed correctly, the epic prank could stay in place for weeks or even months before discovered.
The poster to the right is my prank of the decade. (click to see a bigger version).
Around my office we have a fair number of multi-function printing devices. They print, they scan, they even copy and collate all of your documents in a zippy-quick fashion. They are part of everyone’s mundanity yet just a little mysterious. That is what makes them ripe for the pranking.
I’d like to say that my prank was an original idea, but I stole the basis of it from a picture I saw on the internets of a similar sign put on an HP printer/copier. It’s always good to give credit where credit is due.
The pieces I needed to put my prank into action were simply a copy of photoshop, a list of model numbers for the MFP’s we use around here, a SHARP logo and a small illustration of the said device. The rest is creative genius.
The important thing to remember is that most people in an office are conditioned to respond to “official” looking documents. By putting a notice at the top of the poster demanding that the poster get posted and putting something mystical like a QRcode, a document number and, most importantly, a revision date on it, I effectively made this poster a missive from the copier gods. By using clever shapes and multiple colors, I lure the observer into thinking that important people took hours and hours to make sure this document was as clear and concise as possible so the observer would understand the cryptic instructions as easily as possible.
All that’s left to do is print up a couple of these and post them near the devices.
I typically get into work at least 30 minutes before most everyone, so wandering around to the various printer/copy stations with a pile of papers and a roll of tape was a breeze. Quite actually, having these signs show up when you aren’t around actually lends to the official-ness of it.
The ultimate kicker is that I actually signed this “document” in two places. See if you can find them.
This one is for Markoff Chaney.