Haw, Haw! (Brian Katcher)


This April 1st, my wife foolishly forgot her phone in our car. Knowing that she wouldn't be able to respond to anything I posted on Facebook, I applauded her decision to teach summer school (her district does not offer summer school), even though it meant that she would miss out on the family vacation this year. She still has people asking about what she's going to teach this June.

Still, that wasn't one of my best ones. As a teacher, I'm surrounded by impressionable people who will believe anything you tell them. And I'm talking about other teachers.

One year I sent out an email saying that all copying in the district would now be done at an offsite location. Teachers would be required to get approval for all copies a week in advance to ensure that they arrived in a timely manner. The funny thing was, when people asked the principal about this, he assumed it must be true since I said so. It was like that episode of MASH, where Hawkeye and Charles start a rumor that Marilyn Monroe would be visiting the 4077th, and then realize to their horror, that everyone, including generals and other top brass, has taken them at their word.

Another year I emailed a new teacher and told her that I'd accidentally seen a memo from the superintendent, saying she was in trouble for abuse of the internet and to expect to be called onto the carpet that day. I included a link which I said contained information on how to minimize the damage (it just led to a website that said APRIL FOOLS!). Unfortunately, she was so freaked out that she never clicked the link. I felt like quite the heel.

My best prank, however, happened when I was forced to take a video inventory of everything in my building for insurance purposes (because that principal hated me). When teachers expressed concerns that much of the equipment in their rooms was their personal property, I assured them that their stuff would not be inventoried. On April 1, I sent an email stating that I had been mistaken, and that anything on the film would be considered district property. Anything they did not wish to have inventoried (including furniture) needed to be moved out of their classroom by the end of the day. 

I can now say that someone has threatened to tar and feather me. How many can make that claim?

I'm going to have a new book out next summer. No fooling.


  1. Nice ones I used to do one every year when I wrote a weekly library column for the local newspaper. My best was about smuggling a rattlesnake egg back from California and hatching it. I invited people to come see the baby rattler (a baby rattle in a cardboard box.) Two days later a game warden and a deputy sheriff arrived to confiscate the endangered snake. The guy in the corner reading to his two year old was laughing so hard, he almost dropped the kid. I'm sure both law enforcement guys didn't know whether to be mad or feel foolish, especially when I pointed out that I never said I had a snake.

  2. You remind me of the time my staff swiped the license plates off my car the day before it was due for annual inspection. This was in retaliation for a prank I'd played on them. They got me!


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