Friday, April 14, 2017

Fools on the Hill

T S Elliot claimed April to be the cruelest month, but, according to a quote attributed (as many, often erroneously, are) to Twain, "The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year". Of course the two are not mutually exclusive; some April Fools' pranks have been cruel, but the best are just funny, or preferably, plain wacky.

Definitely in the wacky camp was the April 7, 1977 edition of the Ridgerunner, which devoted several pages to April foolishness. Either that, or 1977 saw some very strange happenings.

The lead story about Rupert Murdoch buying control of the Ridgerunner, was, given the rate at which Rupert was buying up media outlets back then, improbable rather than impossible. But after that, things just got weird.
The Murdoch story mentioned a big hairy bat, and this theme is taken further in, "Short People Face Perils" which describes how big hairy bats (which are "very big indeed") do not like being hunted or stalked (Who does?), and can seize anything under five feet seven inches in height, and weighing less than 130 pounds.
A particularly zany story on pages 3 and 4 has a definite Pythonesque quality about it, as the sad fate of Dr. Ernest Leigh Schlitzuntpretzel (Great name!) is revealed.
The image of the poor doctor being trapped alive in the molecular structure of a wall, and a "In Memorium" plaque extolling him to "hang on in there", are goofy, but the part about the Feds only paying half the grant, because Schlitzuntpretzel only got halfway through the wall, seems especially brilliant. And we'll leave it to better minds than ours to calculate when the good doctor will finally emerge from the wall.
We'd like to go on and report of other Aprils when craziness and/or artificial stimulants, got to the writers of the student newspaper, but unfortunately (although some might say fortunately), it does not seem to have happened, and 1977 was a one-off. Or April Fools stories were written, and we just missed them amongst the nuttiness of normal life.
And talking of nuttiness.....
A story from the Blue Banner of April 25, 1985, told how hacky sack was invading campus. For the most part, this seems a genuine, albeit slight odd, report, but the comment about someone starting to play hacky sack at a Grateful Dead concert, does make us wonder.

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