David Moseley

The Ultimate April Fool

2014-04-01 11:00

A good April Fool’s Day joke is hard to find. Newspapers and media outlets do their best to inject some fun into the day, but the headlines and stories are so outlandish that only a complete nincompoop would take the bait (though it appears the Red and Gold Springbok jersey from Absa this morning had a few punters frothing at the mouth).

To make a complete fool of someone you need timing, cunning, willing cohorts in your devious scheme and a slightly confused mark who thinks he’s being set-up but is so determined to believe in the ruse that common sense goes out the window. All these elements came together on April 1, 14 short years ago.  

I was in my first year at university and had fallen for an “older” girl, a second year student from a few of my courses and who shared my dining hall. Typically, she was aloof and fleeting in her interactions with me, making her all the more irresistible.

One night, we ended up in a mutual friend’s room, along with six or so other friends, discussing our upcoming exams. Briefly, we shared eye contact. It lasted all of three seconds, but at last we’d connected. It was March 31.

The next morning a neatly folded note was lying on my residence bedroom floor, slid under the door during the night (her residence was a mere 100m away). “Dave. M” it read in pristine handwriting.

Noting the date I was immediately sceptical. I’m no fool, you see. But the alternative, that this really was a note from my one true crush, was too enticing to ignore.

The letters were so gracefully crafted, the wording so shy and ambiguous, the different pen colours used so feminine, that the note could only have been the work of a bashful girl too ashamed to admit her love for a younger man.

I raced to find Ben, the oldest student in the res, a fourth-year in his 20s who was wise and worldly. He was already doing his honours and was a trusty confidant to all younger students in the residence.

“Absolutely, Dave,” he confirmed. “This is absolutely Lara’s handwriting. I did a course with her last year and would recognise it anywhere. She always used the different colours too.”

My heart skipped. Surely Ben, dependable Ben, would never be so cruel. Could it be true, I thought. I read the note again, alive with possibility.

The blue ink read, “David. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to talk to you tonight. I came to your room, but your light was off.”

Curses. Why had I left so early? Why had I left my light off?

The note went on, this time in green. “Enjoyed seeing you in Andrew’s room tonight, by the way your coffee was ‘pretty good’.”

Pretty good. She had the coffee, and she knew I made it. This is it. She’s noticed me.

Back to blue, “Well, I’m bored as you can see (note: different colour pens!)”

Green, “See you sometime this weekend. Gotta go (HMS test!)”
“Lara XoX” (pink).

My god, it was happening. It was on. Emboldened by Ben’s assurances and the convincing nods from one of Lara’s closest friends, I burst into the dining hall waving the note at my good friends Kevin and Nick. “Guys, guys, you won’t believe this. Check at this note. I told you. I told you she liked me.”

“Dave,” they said, “It’s April 1st. Are you sure it’s not a joke?” No way, okes. Check at the writing, the colours, and Ben said it was her handwriting. “Well if Ben said…”

I ran from the hall and out onto campus, skipping and grinning like a maniac all the way to the journalism department, where I knew I would find my love struck letter writer.

Meanwhile in the dining hall Kevin and Nick (as I would later discover) turned to Ben and said, “Someone better stop him, he’s going to make an absolute fool out of himself. We’ve gone too far.”

Spotting Lara across the road, I positioned myself to dive into her arms only for Nick to suddenly appear and explain the situation. “All Kevin’s idea,” he said sombrely.

Crestfallen and walking home I came across Kevin, “It was Nick and Ben. Can’t believe they’d do that to…”

It was, and remains, the ultimate practical joke. I still have the note and the story makes me laugh to this day. Well played, chaps. Well played.



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