Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My April Fool

I actually love a day that gives everyone a chance to channel their inner frat boy. I mean, after the year (or eight) that we've had, isn't it nice to finally see the words "April Fools" appended to some of the roster of bad news?

Throughout the day, I've been sent or I've stumbled upon a number of amusing and sometimes elaborately concocted spoofs. From the c/net announcement of a Mark Zuckerberg appearance on Saturday Night Live, to Google's rather overly elaborate Mars collaboration with Virgin, Virgle, they've been an entertaining break from work.

But then, early this afternoon, an I got an April Fools email that changed everything. It was my Rosebud. What I'm about to tell you is a true story. And to answer the question that will no doubt be ringing in your head at the end of it, no, I'm not actually as dumb as I look. Let's just call it sweetly naive. In today's edition of my MUG newsletter, there was a link to a BBC hoax perpetrated in the late '50s. One look at the title, "Swiss Spaghetti Harvest", and I knew immediately, this was going clear up a lifetimes worth of self-doubt and humiliation.

You see, when I was a little girl, my mother, most likely believing she was instilling in me an early love of technology, used to plop me in front of the TV to keep me out of her hair. Being a bit of a bookworm and a geek, I loved documentaries, especially if they had British narrators with posh accents and sonorous voices. One day, I saw a documentary that fascinated me. I was young (probably somewhere between 7 and 10) and had no reason to believe it wasn't a real documentary. What did I know about spoofs? It was about the Swiss spaghetti harvest. The narrator (British, of course) described how the farmers would pluck the current crop from bushes and lay them in the sun to dry. And there they were, in authoritative black and white, lovely farm maids plucking strands of limp spaghetti from tall leafy bushes. I couldn't wait to share this exciting knowledge with my family and my friends at school. Indeed. Whatever you imagine the reaction to that news might have been, triple it.

Despite the resulting emotional trauma from the humiliation and the years of self-doubt that followed (But I really saw it! It was on TV!!), I grew up to be an only moderately neurotic, and mostly functional adult, with the understanding that if you speak with authority, radiate conviction, and present compelling evidence, you too can grow spaghetti on trees.


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