Mar 29, 2023

Getting the Jump on Pranksgiving: April Fools’ Day

Two quick ideas to get “prevenge”

By Ed Goldman

With April 1st looming this Saturday, I’m moved to declare I’ve never liked “pranksters” nor ever been one. 

I think it’s hard enough for most of us to navigate daily life without having some guy—pranksters are almost always guys, have you noticed that?—pretend to have heard my child was arrested that morning for arson. Or that a restaurant in which I dined the previous night closed suddenly this morning because the entire staff tested positive for Bubonic Plague.

Edgy Cartoon

Pranks for the memory

Then, just as I feel my blood pressure rising to federal deficit levels, the prankster laughs and says, “Kidding!”

I know I’m supposed to roar with laughter but at that moment I’d prefer to break the prankster’s mirthful nose—or, at the very least, to tear his ACL. But that would be counterproductive. It would only make him seem trendy.

Since there are laws prohibiting our responding to gags with violence or anything the penal code classifies as weaponry, we should be a bit heartened that somewhere along the line, the decision was made to consign pranksters to one day a year: April Fools’ Day. It’s a tradition thought to date back to the late 1500s, when this is the sort of thing that passed for wit:

PUNCH: This liniment makes mine skin smart. 

JUDY: Then why not rub it on thine head?

To celebrate this year’s 24 hours of foolishness, let’s prank a prankster. The key is to do so a few days before the actual event, of course, since the practiced prankster will be highly suspicious if you try to prank him on the actual Pranksgiving. Call it “prevenge.”  Here are two suggested activities:

1. CALL A PRANKSTER AND TELL HIM YOU’RE WITH THE IRS. You almost needn’t say anything after that—he’ll already have started to develop a nerve rash—but if you’d like to up the anxiety ante, say you have “some very troubling news” for him: “We have examined your tax returns for the past 15 years and find you’re in criminal noncompliance with—“ Then make a scratchy sound by rubbing your phone with a Brillo pad and hang up. On April 1, you can call and let him know it was all a joke (“Kidding!”)—provided they put through calls to him at the local insane asylum.

Tips: (a) Disguise your voice; if you’re incapable of doing so, have another friend who hates pranksters make the call for you; (b) Be sure to block your phone number. This is relatively easy to do. Or so I’m told. I haven’t the slightest idea of how to do it; (c) If you can’t find a Brillo pad to simulate static on the line, aluminum foil will also work. But whatever you do, don’t use the sound of a barking dog or hungrily meowing kitten to achieve the interruptive effect. Everyone knows that pets aren’t permitted at the IRS; (d) Why don’t you have a damn Brillo pad? Your pots and pans must be a disgrace.

2. RENT A FREDDY KRUEGER COSTUME AND RING THE PRANKSTER’S DOORBELL WHEN YOU KNOW HE’S AT WORK BUT HAS A VIDEO MONITOR. Hold up a sign composed of words clipped from magazines (in differing fonts, sizes and colors need I add?) saying, “Sorry I missed you. Will be back tonight or tomorrow night, depending. Have a nice day!”

Tips: (a) Rent the costume online from a store in Guam and have it shipped in plain brown wrapping to your next-door neighbor’s home, but make sure your name is the one on the label. If things go haywire, this won’t really get you off the hook—but if your neighbor has irritated you by parking his lavender Winnebago in front of your home for several weeks, this will at least cause him (and it’s always a him) some consternation; (b) If your neighbor actually brings over the package and seems curious, just tell him you bulk-ordered some Brillo pads.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, Inc.

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


This is Women’s History month, or “Her-Story” month and we continue to celebrate some of the strong women making a difference in the financial services world.

On a national level, women have been making great strides to assume leadership positions central to influencing change and innovation in the way we bank.

This week we recognize Representative Young Kim of California’s 40th District, US House of Representatives.

The photo is of Representative Young Kim and me at her Congressional Office in Washington D.C., where I visited her last month representing California bankers.

Young Kim and Virginia Varela

Congresswoman Young Kim has an impressive bio.  Here are the basics: 

“Congresswoman Young Kim is proud to represent California’s 40th District, which includes parts of Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“An immigrant, small-business owner, community leader, mother and grandmother, Young is proud to be one of the first Korean-American women ever to serve in Congress and help all Americans have the chance to achieve their dream just as she did.

“As an immigrant in the United States, Young has dedicated her life to giving back to her community. 

“She started her public service as Director of Community Relations and Asian Affairs for former Congressman Ed Royce, where she was a key liaison to the district and advisor on issues pertaining to the Asian-American community and foreign policy.

“Prior to serving in Congress, Young was the first ever Korean American Republican woman to serve in the California State Assembly. As an Assemblywoman, Young fought to grow jobs, support small businesses, ensure public safety, promote educational opportunities, support veterans and protect victims of domestic violence.

“Young is a small-business owner, a longtime community leader and has been actively involved in numerous organizations throughout the 40th District and in Orange County. 

“She and her husband Charles are the proud parents of four grown children – Christine, Kelly, Alvin and Hannah.”

I think it’s safe to say that the kids are just as proud of their parents. 

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