The best mailed prank ever played on me was in August rather than April. My father sent me a postcard from Italy with an oddly disjointed message. Individual words made sense, but sentences trailed off while new subjects leapt forth with no introduction. Granted, my mother usually wrote the family letters, but I always assumed that Dad knew how.
A month later the answer arrived: three more postcards from Italy. Dad had laid them out in an overlapping line on his hotel desk, writing one long message across all four. The Italian postal service upped the joke factor by delivering that single card weeks before the rest.
As for the best prank ever—Britain’s Guardian newspaper created one of the world’s most elaborate, and longest running, April Fool’s jokes in 1977 when they published a seven-page supplement about a fictional island named San Serriffe. Years before choosing fonts for desktop publishing, most people didn’t recognize the term “san-serif,” missing a vital clue about why one of the islands looked suspiciously like an apostrophe.
In the decades since its creation, San Serriffe has inspired fans to invent a virtual infrastructure for the mythical nation, and the island’s president (for life) now writes an annual letter to the Guardian on April Fool’s Day. Read a 2012 Guardian article about the newspaper’s most successful prank. And check out my dad’s best joke below: